Biking to Alaska

Day 16: Land O Lakes

Posted by Alan on July 5th, 2007

79.96 mi.

Today I traveled north along Montana Highway 83. This road has quite a few lakes along its length and so the scenery was quite nice for most of the day. Late in the morning I reached the small touristy town of Seeley Lake. While there I bought a few groceries and used the wi-fi in a coffee shop/antique store. I also called a bike shop back east to order another tire like the kind I have on my bike. My rear tire is showing a little wear and I don’t want to head up into the wilds of Canada without a spare. I’ll pick up that spare tire in St. Mary on the other side of Glacier National Park.

While in Seeley Lake, I ran into a group of six cyclists who were riding 1500 miles of the Great Divide trail. From what I understand, that is a mostly off-road trail which goes along the Continental Divide. You might think the cyclists riding this rigorous trail are young extreme kids, right? Nope. These folks were all retirees. It just goes to show that you don’t have to spend your retirement in an RV (despite the daily evidence I’m seeing to the contrary).

Later that day I also stopped to talk to another cyclist heading south. His name was Nikos (sp?) and he’s a teacher from Norway. He’s riding from Calgary to Moab in five weeks. He was carrying a large backpack across his rear panniers. I guess he was getting off the road for some backcountry hiking in addition to cycling.

IMG_0479One of the little pleasures of this trip has been the beautiful lunch spots I happen to stop at on some days. One nice one was on Togwotee Pass with Rick and Ursula. And lunch at Old Faithful was nice. Today I stopped at a place called Rainy Lake Campground. It’s a small little campground which was almost empty, but the lake next to it looked cool and inviting and was completely deserted. It was very tempting to simply set up camp and stay for the night, not to mention diving into the water right then to cool off! I resisted the urge, however, and continued north.

I finally made it to Swan Lake, MT (I think the town is famous for some ballet?) and sacked out at the forest service campground there. Tomorrow I’ll continue north, but will detour to Kalispell, MT to try and find some more new bike shorts. That new pair I bought in Helena were really comfortable and it occurs to me that I should pick up another new pair or two. I guess the shorts I had brought along from the beginning have just seen too many miles over the last couple years.