We left Sandpoint with the goal of getting to Kalispell, MT in 3 days. This was a push. It was 190 miles to Kalispell, which meant our 40 mile days were over for the time being.
We crossed into Montana halfway through our ride and were greeted with scattered roadside stores selling baked goods and beautiful wildlife. We saw a great horned owl, a turkey vulture and some wild turkeys. The birder in me was psyched.
Our last 20 miles into Trout Creek, MT were our strongest of the day, maintaining 20 mph or so up and down small hills. This felt amazing. We hit our first patch of rain and appreciated the break from the hot sun. We asked a stranger with a house on the Clark Fork River if we could camp for the night and they graciously welcomed us in with ice cream bars. To our surprise Rich and Kim (possibly Patty) fixed us blueberry pancakes and eggs in the morning. We got a later start than we planned but it meant we got to hear about Rich and Kim's big family. We left with a blessing from them and Rich's number just in case.
The blanket of clouds that shielded us from the heat in the morning lead to wind and rain around mile 30. Being too cold to get soaked and ride the 20 miles to the next town, we thumbed a ride. A truck with a full cab and 3 tires in the pickup offered us a ride. We hopped in the truck bed with our bikes as if we driving in the back of a truck at 60 mph in the rain was an everyday thing for us. I crouched down by the tailgate trying to maintain confidence as the driver mentioned it doesn't always latch. It was a wet ride into town.
It seems people are more sympathetic when it is too hot than when it's raining. They know we're not in any danger, just sissies. We learned this especially at the foot of the hill leading to Hot Springs. We rode the last 20 miles into Hot Springs.
We camped in the nicest yard in town. Steve and Kim didn't hesitate to let us camp, and in the morning they invited us in for coffee cake and stories. Another late start, however, I'm learning this trip is a lot less about riding and a lot more about coffee cake.