Day 66: Missoula, MT to Lochsa Lodge, ID (58 miles)
I slept until 9 after the marathon driving experience I had the night before. Lila, who slept like a babe in the backseat the night before, was up much before me and raring to go.
By the time I woke up she had gone to the coffee place down the road and gotten Summer and me breakfast. I was barely functional.
I kind of wanted to take it easy that day, maybe only go up to Lolo pass and sleep at the visitor center. Apart from my sleepiness it was extremely hot and the wildfire on top of the pass was filling Missoula with smoke.
Nevertheless we ended up leaving in the heat of the day around 1 pm. Though extremely hazy, it was a mild ride to Lolo until we turned down the road toward the pass. Having heard the same MIA album 200,000 times, it had lost its ability to motivate me. Arcade Fire had a new album so I put that on.
When we got near the pass we actually saw the fire and a helicopter dump water on it.
It was so hot and the air quality was so poor that getting up the pass proved troublesome. It didn’t help that the new Arcade Fire album that I replaced MIA with is pure garbage. The song Peter Pan is what would happen if you (someone who doesnt know how to make reggae) tried to teach an emotionless, deaf robot how to make a dub record and then listened to the product through a broken radio with lots of interference. There’s also the unforgivably goofy ode to infidelity Chemistry. Then there’s the song Infinite Content 1 and 2 which starts off as a joyless punk song and then morphs into a vile lounge jazz atrocity (think Richard Cheese).
Despite Will Butler’s musical failings, we made it up the pass. This pass is where Lewis and Clark first arrived in what would become Idaho. We also had our final time change here.
We decided to have dinner at the pass. Macaroni and cheese. As soon as we started cooking we were completely surrounded by very brave Columbian ground squirrels after our food.
I chased them off many times and they kept coming back so I had to get smart. I figured out that if I placed the portable speaker Lila’s mom gave us I could probably scare them away with sound. Death Grips did the trick. (Video link).
At the top of the pass we met a man named Lee who had biked up the pass many times and was familiar with the area. He told us about all the hot springs around and good places to stay the night including the Lochsa lodge (free for cyclists).
We thanked him, finished our dinner, and began our descent.
The road down the pass was winding and curvy because it was ran right next to the river.
The forest surrounding the pass was beautiful. Huge cedars and clear rivers, it was what I expected the northwest to be.
12 miles after the pass, we arrived at the Lochsa Lodge. We were told to camp behind the general store where we would share some space with some bikers from California. I bought a beer for Lila and a lemon San Pellegrino and cheetos for myself from the general store.
We set up our tents and passed out.