We had an easy day riding today, only 42 miles, and fairly flat. It was also another beautiful ride as we followed along the Kootenie River. We usually try to be on the road by 6:00 am every morning to beat the heat and if there is going to be a wind problem it is usually in the afternoon when it gets strong. So we are usually in camp by 2:00 or 3:00 pm, but because it was going to be a short day we slept in until 6:00 am and Tom fixed bacon and eggs for breakfast instead of our usual oatmeal, it was nice. Tonight we are at Jim and Beth McCain’s house in Moyie Springs, Idaho near Bonner’s Ferry. Jim and Beth live in Salem most of the time, attend JBC and are good friends, but recently bought this place in Idaho that they rent out to vacationers most of the year and come and stay periodically. so it worked out beautifully for us to be here with them instead of a campground. We will also be here all day tomorrow for our Sunday rest day, and go to church with them. My wife, Patty took some sockeye salmon to their house before they left to come up here, and they brought it with them, and we are going to eat it tonight😀😀. Last night, just for fun, I searched on the internet for people on bicycle trips that were Blogging about it, and found several. It was fun reading about their travels. Their blogs were much shorter than most of mine.
I had my first flat tire in almost 10,000 miles of bicycle trips today. It didn’t take to long to fix. I carry spare tubes in the bag on my bike along with all the tools that I need. Instead of a pump I use a little Co2 canister about the size of my thumb and an attachment that I screw on the canister that fits the valve stem on my mike. I push the button on the tool and the contents of the little canister fill my bicycle tube up to about 80 lbs, and off down the rode I go. The back tire on my bike is about worn out but I only have a few more days to go so I am reluctant to put the new one on yet, but I I am pretty sure the flat was caused by a little sharp rock that penetrated my tire. It won’t take long, I probably should to be safe.
I saw a big black bear dead along side of the road today, probably hit by a car. He hadn’t swollen up or started to smell yet so it probably last night some time when he was hit. I thought if I had a sharp knife on me, I would have skinned him out. That would have been a load to carry on my bike.
We rode from McGregor Lake to Libby, Montana today, 60 miles. It was a gorgeous trip in regards to scenery, Montana is a beautiful State. Most of the miles were flat and downhill with just a dozen or so miles that were uphill so it was a an easy day, I don’t think I ever broke a sweat in the 60 miles. The sun was out with no rain, no mosquitos, dogs, and just a few miles of rumble strips.
I have one more thing to add to my “Hate List”, those things that I really don’t like much on a bicycle trip. Rain, bugs of any kind but especially mosquitos, bees, and yellow jackets, dogs, rumble strips, chip seal with big gravel, a head wind, rude and grumpy campground hosts, and drivers who think people on bicycles are a menace to society so they get their jollies by seeing how close they can drive to you. Today I would like to add a ninth thing that I hate to the list, that is zippers on tents and sleeping bags. They don’t always hang up while unzipping, but when you are in a hurry to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night they always hang up. And then you are locked in your sleeping bag or tent or both forever or until Jesus comes. What usually happens is that it takes me forever to finally get out of my sleeping bag and then the tent zipper snags up and I am on the same trail with it. The words that I mutter in the middle of the night as I try to get free of my prison is, “you would think that if we can put a man on the moon and invent computers and stuff like that, you would think that someone could invent a zipper for tents and for sleeping bags that actually works.” By the time I am free of my zipper prison I usually have muttered that 3 or 4 times.
Today is Friday, June 21st and we are sitting around camp drinking coffee, eating mixed nuts, gluten free crackers with peanut butter, and canned sardines. Tom bought some nice steaks and is going to barbecue them for dinner tonight, along with some corn on the cob that Kathy bought at a road side stand. We took today off as an unscheduled rest day because the previous 3 days were long with lots of climbing and we were done in, also because we rode in the RV yesterday 40 miles to get to an alternate camping spot so we gained some miles, and also because the weather has been so cold, windy and rainy and we are hoping to wait it out. We are leaving in the morning at 6:00 am for Lincoln, Montana regardless of the weather. It will be a 90 mile day and it is all uphill though fairly gradual, we will gain about 2,000 feet in net elevation in the 90 mile day as we follow the Blackfoot River upstream. I expect it to be another beautiful trip as we ride along this wild river.
Yesterday at the end of the ride I was physically very, very tired, out of gas, weary, exhausted. But another kind of tiredness is mental fatigue. I get physically tired almost every day, it is part of being 70 years old, and I cope with it, but I very rarely get mentally tired because I work so hard on positive, healthy, and Biblical self-talk. But yesterday I was mentally tired as well. For me, a clear indicator of mental weariness is I want to quit, so yesterday I spent most of my riding time trying to figure out how to do that, that is ride in the RV for the rest of the trip with dignity. One of my personal rules is to never quit or make major decisions while mentally fatigued, because they are almost always a choice that I later regret. Today, everything is super, and I am ready for a great ride tomorrow. In thinking about my mental state yesterday, I came to the conclusion that the all day long pain was what drained me mentally. My feet hurt from the cold, my shoulders and neck hurt as the constant vibration from the road went up the front tire, through the forks, the handle bar and then into my arms and upper body, my butt was on fire from sitting on that little, bitty seat for hours and hours, and numerous stops to apply “Butt Butter” didn’t help a bit, and my legs and knees were killing me. I have had a relatively pain free life physically, and I haven’t learned very well how to manage it mentally so this is a very good time for me to develop some new character, and thinking skills. I think the difference between this trip and the previous ones is my age, my body just isn’t as tough as it used to be. So, a new life purpose statement I have written for myself is, ” As my physical body gets older and weaker, my mind, soul, and spirit will get stronger”.
2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.