Day 62 Friday July 22, 2005, 64 miles (103 km) – Total so far: 3,662 miles (5,893 km)
4:18 pedal time and 63.7 miles
I was up at 8am. I went over to the gas station and got a cup of Joe. I quickly noticed the wind was blowing my direction. I inhaled that cup of Joe and packed up my gear like a mad man. I was on the bike by 8:30.
I rode like hell for the first 17 miles until I got to Jackson. It started to rain for a little while around mile 10, but I was comfortably riding around 20 mph and just didn’t care about rain. When I got to Hamilton my average speed was like 19mph. I went to some mom and pop place for breakfast.
I inhaled the breakfast, rushed the waitress and quickly paid my bill. I jumped back on the saddle and my bike was feeling sluggish, I yelled ‘LETS GO!’ and I looked down and I had a flat in my rear tire and a flat in the trailer. I looked at a flag and saw the wind changed direction and I now had a headwind.
I changed the rear tire first. I pulled out a wire from a truck tire. It was almost in the same location as the flat tire in pueblo. I put on a new tube and a patch on the inside of the tire. While pumping up the tire I think I broke my pump. I pulled off the trailer tire it had a small wire and a piece of glass in the same location. I just replaced the tube and patched the tire. I went across the street to some oil change place and filled it up with air and I think I broke my pressure gauge.
The bike shop was 2 blocks away. I used their floor pump to finish pumping my rear tire. I told the girl I was riding x-country and asked if I could get a tune up right now. She told me they could maybe get to my bike in 3 days. I laughed. I called the bike doctor in Missoula they had no interest in even looking at my bike. I called bicycle works and they said to stop in when I get into town, but they warned me they were busy.
When I left Hamilton it was 11:30 I was frustrated I spent so much time in that town. If I don’t get to the Adventure Cycling office in Missoula before 5 they will be closed until Monday. Visiting the Adventure Cycling office was something I was really looking forward to on this trip. Missoula is 13 miles out of the way from the route and a lot of Transam riders don’t even bother going out to Missoula.
Leaving Hamilton I rode like hell. I passed some east bounder, I was going to talk to him but he wasn’t interested so I just kept riding. I don’t care; I had no time for that east bounder conversation anyway.
While I was riding as fast as I could I kept my bike computer on the average speed and tried to stay above whatever the average was. If I stayed below that speed for too long would yell at myself to pick the pace.
From Florence to Lolo it was all off-road bike paths. I had horrible headwinds. I pushed through them the best I could at around 10mph. Lolo is where the Transam turns west and if you want to go to Missoula you just keep riding north.
When I got to lolo, I rode into some gas station and found an old man in a pickup truck and asked if he was going towards Missoula, he said ‘uh yeah’ and I said ‘can I get a ride?’ and he said ‘NO PROBLEM!’ I threw my bike in the back of the truck and we were off heading towards Missoula.
I told him about him about my trip and how I was anxious to get to the adventure cycling office. He told me how his wife once led a tour for adventure cycling a few years ago. It was a Montana Hot springs tour. They rode all over Montana and jumped into all the hot springs. Sounds like my kind of tour.
He dropped me off fairly close to where I needed to be and gave me directions to get to Adventure Cycling. I rode about 1 mile and I was there. On the way I passed the bike shop, bicycle works.
When I got to the Adventure cycling office the girl working at the front desk was really excited to see me and she asked me all about my trip. She showed me to the Cyclist Lounge. I attacked the refrigerator and drank the last Coke and slurped down several Ice Cream sandwiches. I hung out in the lounge for a while reading everything. I felt like I was at the cookie lady’s house. There was just too much good information and not enough time to read it all.
Beth gave me a tour of the office and it’s a pretty nice place. I asked the women in charge of the routes why there are only Bike Route 76 signs in Virginia. She said those signs were put up in 1979 and Virginia and Montana were the only 2 states that were interested in putting up signs.
I bought the Transamerica bicycle jersey, it was pretty expensive. But I feel like I deserve it, I’ll have it forever. They have a T-shirt with all the names of places that we have passed through on this trip I’m going to order it when I get home. I can’t wait to wear my Transam jersey for the next ride in NYC where everyone is wearing Lance’s Jersey and all the roadies are all giving me dirty looks because I have a track bike and riding just as fast as they are.
After my tour of the office Greg came over and gave me a picture release form. At the bottom of the form it asked for a summary or comments about my trip. I wrote an abridged version of the content of this journal in less than 300 words. Then I went outside and Greg took my picture for their archives.
After he took my picture I asked him about how they designed this route. He told me about his trip from Alaska to Argentina and after him and a group of people started planning the Bikecentennial. He told me about all the factors that helped create the route and how they drove all over the country creating the Transam. He said there was originally about 100 miles of unpaved roads on the Transam that was either removed or paved since ‘76. Greg asked me about the past couple days of riding and said he might have a present for me.
I locked my bike back up in front of the office. I chatted with some east bounders for a little while and then went inside. Greg brought me over to the light table and showed me a slide of a guy riding a bike with a trailer that looks like mine and he even kind of looked like me. He asked, ‘is that you?’ I said, ‘you know, it looks a lot like me, but it’s not’ Greg was taking pictures a few days ago during the Bike across Montana Ride. I heard Jim Hammond had his picture taken, but I couldn’t find Jims picture in the slides.
Greg shook my hand and wished me luck for the rest of my trip. I’m glad I got to meet him. He was just the guy I was looking forward to meeting at the Adventure Cycling office.
After the my visit I marched into the post office and sent home that 5 pounds worth of crap I no longer need. I asked for a distant relative who apparently works at the Missoula post office, but they had no idea what I was talking about. She must work at the other office in Missoula. I rode back to Bicycle works.
They told me they had no time for my tune up today or tomorrow but I can go try to sweet talk to mechanics. In a very soft and kind voice I told the mechanics my story. They said if I’m there at 10am sharp they will squeeze me into their difficult schedule for the day. I offered to change flat tires or help them in any way I could. I told them about how I rode into a parked car and they said my fork is pretty bent and they are going to think about how to find a new fork or fix it. Worst case I’ll ride to the Pacific Ocean with a bent fork.
The campsite in Missoula is out of town and they are going to charge me $22 to camp. I decided to just do the motel thing. I found a motel that had wireless internet. The lady working at the desk gave me my room for $40 but it smelled like smoke. I told her maybe it will inspire me to start smoking, But she didn’t think I was funny.
While I was checking into the motel I was telling some guy about my trip. He asked me if I was hungry and I said ‘I’m always hungry’ and he offered me half of a pizza. I took him up on his offer. While I was going to get my pizza a women stopped me. She rode the Bike Montana ride and was asking all about the Transam.
When I got my pizza the box said ‘Stage line Pizza’ I told the guy about the nice people I met yesterday who are opening the first Stage line pizza place in Sacramento, California.
When I finally got in my room I had a headache and was dehydrated. I talked to bonnie for a while she’s going out partying tonight in Brooklyn like it’s 1999. I grabbed a cup of Joe at the local café and started working on journal entries. I’m behind for a couple days and I hate hate hate it when that happens.
Not many pictures were taken today due to my rush of urgency to get to Missoula. Tomorrow I’m going to ride all over Missoula and take pictures before all those damn tourists come out.