Mountains, Ranch Parties, and Ammonia the Biker Chick

Sorry for the shorter update in Great Falls everyone. The library ladies had the stop watch on us and we didn't want to get whacked by rulers. I know we went a long time without writing anything, so hopefully this will make up for it!

After updating last we went to the local bike shop "Knicker Biker" to chat with the owner and stock up on Mountain Raspberry Clif Blocks - Yum! (but really just to use their bathroom ; )). We love the name! - and it was a pretty cool shop too. Then we headed to the grocery store to stock up on p.b., bread, and we decided to make pasta and baked beans for dinner. The K.O.A. was the only campground listed but we had already made it to the other side of town. Eventually, after asking around, we ended up at Dick's RV Park. Biggest RV park EVER... Seriously, are there really that many retired people? We rode by row after row of RV's to get to their tiny little tenting space. Everyone had their spots decorated with lights and patriotic wear. We even saw a fountain! Thats livin. Maybe we'll have to start decorating our tent at night! Any ideas?

Again, we tried to get an early start. We even woke up at sunrise. After breakfast we ended up installing new chains on the bikes, since we have about 2000 miles on them. I also spent some time installing new cleats since half of the screws were missing and one of the base plates was cracked. We were planning on putting in an epic day, going over the pass and staying in Lincoln. That was a bit over ambitious though, especially when we were hit with the mother of all head winds. Someone told us that day was a record high too. So hot that a guy in a truck pulled over and handed us two cold beers from his cooler! We couldn't refuse this good samaritans act of kindness (only drank a little though, don't worry Mom). 35 miles into the ride and we called it quits in Simms. I know, pretty pathetic...but after this town there was nothing for about 70 miles, plus the first pass that we'd go over. We decided it was better to start fresh the next day and hope for a calmer day. Another free night in the town park, and we only got a few stares from people while we took sprinkler showers on the high school football field. Very refreshing if you haven't tried it!

We got our earliest start of the trip the next day, I think. 9:30 we were on the road, 35 miles from the big Rogers Pass. Another headwind this day, though not nearly as bad as the day before. The mountains seemed so close and it seemed like we were just about to get to them, but it was just up and down for 35 miles until we finally reached the climb up to the pass. I didn't think we'd be relieved to get to this point, but we were. It just kinda feels like you're making more progress when you're climbing that long. The climb was steep (lowest gearing for sure) and took us about an hour and a half to 2 hours to make it to the top. Eventually we made it to the top and stopped for p.b. and honey sandwiches on the Continental Divide! Our first real mountain! We cruised down a steep couple miles and then it flattened out back into the headwind...what a let down. The road from then on was really busy and the shoulder was basically non-existent. It was only 10 more miles to Lincoln though, and we made it without too many problems. First stop was the ranger station just before town. They had an 830 lb black bear on display that had been hit on the road we came in on. We were told the bear was almost blind and didn't realize he was crossing the road. Poor guy! As we rode into Lincoln we stopped at a fruit stand to eat some apples and as we were eating a truck pulled up behind us. An older fellow in a cowboy hat and full denim stepped out of the drivers seat and his friend got out of the passengers side and walked up to us. They introduced themselves as Jerry and Mike (Mike happened to be a cyclist from Indiana) and asked us about what we were up to. Jerry (the one in the cowboy hat) asked us if had a place to stay yet and I'm pretty sure before he could finish the invitation, Anona yells "YESSSSS!!!". He invited us to the party they were having at his ranch, with a bunch of friends and relatives, and to stay the night! - We've been getting really lucky lately

We rode the few miles to Jerry's place just in time for the party to start. This place was amazing! He had quite a bit of land, surrounded by mountains, with horses, ducks, chickens, dogs, and even doves (he lets them go at weddings and they fly back to his place!) Jerry and his girlfriend Jane completely made us feel like part of the family. He kept saying that we could stay as long as we wanted to. He told us to call our parents and tell them we have a new PO Box! We spent all night around the fire pit eating way too much (Anona ate a HOT DOG!) and having a great time! We even met a guy from New Jersey who came to Montana to track Eagles on the Continental Divide. By the end of the night we decided we'd have to spend at least one more day there. The next morning we woke up to huckleberry pancakes, hashbrowns, eggs, sausage, and the never ending pot of coffee. Mmmm!!! We spent all day lounging around and playing an intense game of Mexican dominos. It was definitely a rest day well spent! Thanks for finding us Jerry!

The next day we decided we'd better leave or we'd end up staying forever. I hope we'll be back sometime though! A front had just come in the night before and so there was yet again a major head wind. It was a beautiful day of riding though, and we got to Missoula around 6 tonight. The Eagle guy from Jersey that we met recommended a really good pizza place in town so we asked around and finally found it. They usually aren't open on Sundays, but we lucked out. Tonight they were having a fundraiser pizza buffet for a local school. All you can eat, reeeeally good pizza! We lucked out again tonight....as we sat down a guy asked us if we had a place to stay yet and then invited us to stay at his place! So now we're at Eric and his family's house, staying in the guest bedroom. What a weekend it's been! Tomorrow it's Lolo Pass and hopefully Lolo Hot Springs! Too much relaxing maybe?

Time to pass out now, will try to get new pictures up soon.