I knew that it was going to be a good day when I found the heads up penny. The copper coin sat in the parking lot, glinting in the late morning sun, an omen of good luck. I picked it up, and Chris and I climbed into the blue pickup truck that we had driven there. As we pulled onto the road, I pried open the cardboard box in my hands, revealing two dry meals and a Salsa Anything Bag. I had left my fanny pack with my parents, and this third Anything Bag that we had shipped to Helena would serve as a replacement, providing space for overflow food. The dried meals were a bonus, added to our order so that we could get free shipping from REI.
After purchasing a new seat from Great Divide Cyclery (I’ve had a few more saddle sores than on our cross country trip), we headed back to my younger brother, Sam’s, house. The truck we drove is his. He and his fiance, Kelsey, were out of town, but they let us crash at their house.
We lingered there until 4:00PM, reading our maps, tweaking our bikes, and eating leftover Chinese food and ice cream cake from my birthday meal the previous night. Finally, we climbed back onto our bicycles.
The third week of our journey down the GDMBR was book-ended by rest days. One end was our day off in Eureka before Rachel’s parents came to join us for 6 days on the trail, and on the other end we were extracted from the trail for 2 days off in Lakeside, MT at Sydney and Jack’s beautiful home on Flathead Lake. We pedaled from Eureka to Holland Lake in Condon, MT before being whisked away in Jim’s truck. Between Whitefish and Big Fork, the route was mostly pavement and flat, but the rest was forestry roads with daily climbs.
As we roll down the bumpy trail, a jingle emanates from Chris. In addition to bear spray, he had the wise idea to purchase a Timber mountain bike bell. Mounted to his handlebars, it has two settings; you can lock it so that it won’t ring, or unlock it so that the vibrations of the bike make it ring.
I’m not sure why, but my long hair has bothered me much more this trip than it did for our cross country trip. After mixing with sweat, bug spray, sunscreen, and dirt, it is nearly impossible to get a brush through it. After only a day or two of riding, it quickly begins to resemble a giant dreadlock.
Accordingly, I have been dreaming about chopping it off. Usually when I get a haircut, which is only once or twice a year, my conversation with Chris beforehand goes something like this: