Northern Tier Cross-country Cycling Tour, NT Section 2

June 9 to June 19, Sandpoint ID to Cut Bank MT

NT Section 2 map

6/09/05 Thursdaynear Heron MT
6/10/05 FridayLibby MT
6/11/05 SaturdayEureka MT
6/12/05 SundayWhitefish MT
6/13/05 MondayWhitefish MT
6/14/05 TuesdayLake McDonald MT
6/15/05 WednesdaySt. Mary MT
6/16/05 ThursdayWaterton Village ALB
6/17/05 FridayCardston MT
6/18/05 SaturdayCut Bank MT
6/19/05 SundayCut Bank MT

6/09/05 Thursday, near Heron MT 48 miles

Dave and Maddy at scenic turnoff overlooking lake Today was another beautiful, easy ride. Here are Dave and Maddy admiring the view.

Me and Maddy in front of Welcome to Montana sign We crossed into Montana a few miles before camp today. We're now on Mountain time. That's me and Maddy in the photo.

Geoff and Dave stirring the cookpot The campground is out in the middle of nowhere, at the intersection of highway 200 and 56. Geoff and Dave have cooking duties tonight.

Brendan and Wes bought cookies for everybody for desert.

6/10/05 Friday, Libby MT 54 miles

Don and Maddy riding with mountain in background Another nice day of riding. It's been sunny most mornings and cloudy/cool/cold in the afternoons. Today it did get sunny again before we hit camp.

Don on cable bridge over Kootenai Falls We stopped at Kootenai Falls, checked out the cable bridge, and took a few photos. That's Don in front.

Me standing in front of the rapids I need to get an occasional shot of me in here.

We are camping in the backyard of Jan and Keith in Libby, MT. Keith is a friend of Bill's from an ACA leadership training course. They cooked us a dinner of hamburgers, salad, potato salad, sodas, homemade wine and ice cream with choice of 3 toppings.

6/11/05 Saturday, Eureka MT 66 miles

Jan and Keith made us breakfast this morning. Egg and sausage casserole, fruit salad, homemade biscuits, etc!

I was kind of hammering today because I wanted to get to camp in Rexford in time to ride the 8 miles to the bike shop in Eureka to buy a new set of pedals. (My old ones had a broken ball in the outside right bearing.) When I called the store from camp, the owner offered to drop off the pedals on his way home. It turns out he's a bicycle commuter. He brought two sets of pedals for me to choose from in his pannier.

Eric walking with sunset in the background There are no stores nearby so we ate at a nearby bar in Rexford. There were only three items on the menu but it was good and fairly cheap.

6/12/05 Sunday, Whitefish MT 68 miles

Breakfast was a little strange this morning because there was not much at the store. Atkins diet cereal (yuck!), Little Debbie cookies and canned fruit.

I was riding slowly all day trying to save my sore knee. It rained most of the day. Got into camp after 5:00. Others were late too so dinner, nommally at 6:00, was nearly 7:00.

RonE, Geoff, and Carol with lake in background

Brendan took the above photo somewhere around now. That's RonE with the English couple, Geoff and Carol. Geoff is an amateur racer. He and Carol have toured all over the world. Note their "Airnimal" folding bicycles with suspension.

The Great Divide tour is to start soon and Brian Martinson and the other tour leader are here in camp with John from New Zealand and maybe another participant or two.

They brought some ACA items people had ordered. Don bought a pair of size L rain boots and sold me his XL for $5 off ($25).

6/13/05 Monday, Whitefish MT 11 miles

Logan Pass is still closed so we are laying over in Whitefish. The group decided to eat out tonight and there is free breakfast at the KOA so Don and I have an easy cook day.

We rode the 5 miles into town to do some personal shopping and buy lunch for the group tomorrow. I bought a new shower cap for my Brooks leather saddle and a patch kit. The lady in the Chamber of Commerce said the pass is open!

6/14/05 Tuesday, Lake McDonald MT 39 miles

The weather was sunny and pleasant in the morning but got cold in the afternoon.

Confluence of two rivers The water in the north fork of the Flathead River is much clearer than the water in the middle fork.

Don and Bill with snow-capped mountains in background We can see Glacier National Park long before we get to it. That's Don and Bill.

Me, next to West Glacier sign

Don at Lake McDonald Don at Lake McDonald.

Campers roasting marshmallows over a fire Tonight we're at Sprague Creek campground on the shores of Lake McDonald, 22 miles from Logan Pass on Going-to-the-Sun highway. After dinner folks roasted marshmallows...

Maddy eating a s'more ... And made s'mores.

There are no showers or hot water in this NPS campground, so I took a cold sponge bath in the men's room. Thundershowers arrived as dinner was being prepared.

The latest word is the pass is open.

6/15/05 Wednesday, St. Mary MT 42 miles

McDonald Creek I got a late start because of a flat. I left camp at 6:50 but still reached Logan Pass at 10:15, well ahead of the 11:00 cutoff for bicycles.

Mountains with different lighting The scenery lived up to expectations. I took lots of photos. The weather was beautiful. We lucked out as the pass was snowed in two days ago.

Two views of Bird Woman Falls

Weeping wall - water coming out rock wall The Weeping Wall.

Vista down a valley with mountains in background

Me standing next to Logan Pass sign Looking back down the hill from the summit I decided I have definitely earned the upcoming downhill.

Sign, '6% grade next 12 miles'

Saint Mary Lake Saint Mary Lake.

We're staying at Johnson's campground in St. Mary tonight. Tomorrow we go into Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada.

6/16/05 Thursday, Waterton Village, Alberta 49 miles

Lower Saint Mary Lake It rained overnight but we had excellent weather most of the ride. Again I took lots of photos.

This is Lower Saint Mary Lake.

Eagle landing in nest on top of telephone pole An eagle nesting on the top of a telephone pole.

Horses in field with mountains in background These horses were just below the eagle.

Chief Mountain Chief Mountain.

Canadian customs with bicycles Some riders had problems at customs with bear pepper spray and some didn't. (You can see the back of Jeanne's trailer in this photo.)

Looking across the valley at Waterton Lakes NP This is overlooking the valley as we descended to our camp site at Waterton Village.

6/17/05 Friday, Cardston MT 35 miles

It started raining during the night and continued raining steadily until late afternoon. Don and I stopped in Mountain View for chicken and fries. I was warm enough when riding but after the stop it took a while to warm up again.

Camping in the 'pavillion' at Cardston We had reservations tonight at Lee Creek campground. We opted to spend the C$150 for the "pavillion" a large garage-like building with kitchen, bathrooms, and showers. Most people set up their tents inside to dry them out.

About supper time the sun came out.

6/18/05 Saturday, Cut Bank MT 74 miles

Pond with reflections of mountains and clouds We had fine weather and strong tailwinds most of the day.

Small store with cyclists in front The only services were one small store out in the middle of nowhere. We're in the plains now, but at the top of each rise the Rockies are still visible.

Campground in Cut Bank The Riverview RV Park is on the industrial end of Cut Bank MT. Thanks Brendan for the photo. Note the Tennessee flag at the top of the hill.

In camp is another Northern Tier tourist, Dave, going east to west. He is a bricklayer from Orange County CA who has toured in Alaska and all over the US.

I walked ovsr to the Albertson's and bought some AAA batteries and 3 Power Bars to replace the ones that got left behind in the bear box at Sprague Creek camp in Glacier Nat. Park.

Dinner was at Pizza Hut. Bill showed up to distribute food money and then disappeared for his day off. I sat with Geoff, Carol, and Dave, the E-W tourist.

6/19/05 Sunday, Cut Bank MT

Layover day in Cut Bank. Maddy made us a nice breakfast of French toast and fruit in the little gazebo in front of the camp office. Dave, The E-W tourist from last night, had left at daybreak to try to beat the headwinds.

Horses atop a ridge with the 'cut bank' below The "cut bank" in Cut Bank is readily visible.

Several of us went to see "Batman, the Beginning" at a local theater. Shirley and Noah, a mother and son team we had seen before, caught up with us again. The owners of the campground are both retired and married just three months. She made us a batch of chocolate chip cookies and took a group photo.

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