6/23/2021 – Clark Fork, ID to Libby, MT

64.80 Miles / 553.98 Total Miles

2169 Ft. of Elevation Gain / 29,886 Total Ft. Elevation Gain

We didn’t even get out of Lazy Acres, this morning, before Ed had another animal snacking malfunction. This time, he left his handlebar bag open with a large freshly filled baggie of trail mix sitting on top of his stuff. He was completely oblivious–sitting by the dining tent on a comfie chair, talking to his wife on the phone, while the critters were scheming to get that trail mix. I’m not sure which one of those little guys did it, but they got the trail mix down on the ground, and the party was on, until, of course, I busted them. Come on, Ed. Do I have to be your barnyard hall monitor?

When we got on the road, yesterday, we were in our last 4 miles of Idaho and our first few miles of Montana (Yes! We’re in Montana, now!), and I’m telling you, it was the most beautiful place I have ever been. Just unbelievably beautiful. Breathtakingly beautiful. I was thinking that I need to build a family compound and get Camille and Brandon to move up here with the grandkids. They would love this place. Their animals would love this place.

Once we were moving, our route continued down US Bike Route 10, following various bodies of water: First the Clark Fork River, then the Cabinet Gorge Reservoir, then Bull River, then various creeks, till we reached and followed the Kootenai River to our destination in Libby.

These are the Sawtooth Mountains…..

And these are the Cabinet Mountains.

Somewhere, in there, we ended up on a 9 mile stretch of road that a highway crew was chip sealing. We had to follow a pilot vehicle in a stream of cars, but they were driving faster than we were riding, so we had pilot vehicles and streams of cars passing us in both directions, which makes for all kinds of dust and had me wondering why they even needed a pilot vehicle. But at some point, there was the spot on the road where the crews were laying down the chip seal, and the pilot vehicles knew when they needed to stop and when they could pass. Part way into this dusty mess, we ran into a young gal named Zeph, who was on a solo tour from Chicago to Anacortes, WA. We stopped to talk, and she told us of a bar and grill up ahead that was open. That was great news to us. Per our maps, we expected to see no services of any kind on today’s route, so obviously, we stopped to eat, and we were not disappointed. The place was really nice and their food was delicious. Thanks for hooking up up, Zeph!

WARNING: Here comes a story. When we went to leave the grill, a regular at the restaurant stood and talked to me, while I put my devices on my bike, donned my helmet, put my wallet away, turned my lights on, etc. We peddled to the end of the chip sealing, and Ed rode ahead, while I pealed asphalt and rocks off my tires. And it is then I noticed that my cell phone was not on its mount. I had last used it in the grill, so it must have fallen off my bike on that road with the construction, pilot vehicles, streams of cars, etc. I panicked. I looked in my handlebar bag, because sometimes I put it on top of the things in the bag when I am about to use it to take a photo, but it wasn’t there.

I rely on that phone for A LOT! A REALLY REALLY LOT! In a split second, I dropped my bike in a ditch on the side of the road and flagged down a car in one of those pilot vehicle streams to take me back to the grill. No sign of my phone as we drove in that direction. At the grill, I checked with the staff to see if anyone had found a phone in the restaurant or parking lot. Nope. So now I flagged down another vehicle going back in the direction of my bike. We caught up to the construction crew, and I thought that maybe they could have seen my phone and picked it up, instead of chip sealing over it. Nope, but they had found a bike, which they had moved. What?

One of the supervisors offered to give me a ride to my bike in his truck. I was in tears, now. My phone was lost and I didn’t even have the name of the place where we were staying tonight with me, and I had no way to get a hold of Ed or anyone else. And no way to take photos. And what about all the photos that were on the phone that hadn’t been backed up? The guy felt sorry for me and suggested I used the Find My Phone ap to find my phone, which would have actually worked, if there was some wifi service anywhere, because I had my laptop in one of my panniers. So he offered to drive me up the road to a location that had some service, where I could tether my laptop to his phone and use Find My Phone on my laptop. It was a great plan. I was thankful to have encountered such a kind person.

When I went to grab my laptop from my pannier, I decided to also get my wallet out of.my handlebar bag. And when I reached for my wallet, my phone was tucked behind it. The guy talking to me while I readied my bike to leave the grill had distracted me from my normal routine, and I had never put my phone on its mount. And I am telling this story just so you know the mental capacity of the person writing this blog. This was by far my worst senior moment ever in my career as a retiree. I felt like a complete idiot, but I sure was thankful to have my phone!

Lisa Camara had told us that Kootenai Falls was a must see stop on our ride, today. She thought it was as good as Niagara Falls. (Spoiler: It isn’t.) It was getting late, but I wanted to see it, so I stopped. And while I changed into my walking shoes and locked up my bike, a beautiful young lady named Ashley approached me to see what I’m up to, and we started talking. She was from the Seattle area and on a bit of a journey to clear her head and think about some big changes she was considering making in her personal life. As some of you may know, I have made my share of big changes, and there have been some lessons learned. We walked together and as we did, we cut to the the quick on the small talk and had a deep discussion on the impacts of what she was considering. Ashley, I wish you the best with your decision and hope you have the courage to follow through and do what you decide on. I believe we were put together at Kootenai Falls for a reason.

Seeing the falls took even longer than I thought it would, because Ashley and I decided to also walk down to the swinging bridge. On our way, we ran into an Amish family who had just moved to Idaho from Ohio (via train) to promote a multi level marketing nutrition company in a Montana Amish community near here. They had hired a driver to take them on a sight seeing trip, because the only things they drive are horses and buggies. Mom and Dad were dynamos and they had a lovely family. It was refreshing to see such goodness.

All in all, the falls were a fascinating side trip, but now it was time to hightail it to the campground in Libby, set up camp, get some dinner, attempt to blog, get my gear ready for tomorrow, etc. It was our second night in a campground with no shower or electricity, but there was a nice Safeway grocery store just a couple of hundred feet away that more than made up for the inconvenience. I bought myself a package of baby wipes and took a baby wipe bath. I felt sticky all night, but hopefully I was clean.

We stayed in this campground. Sorry, but I forgot to take a photo of our tents.

8 thoughts on “6/23/2021 – Clark Fork, ID to Libby, MT

  1. So glad to hear that you found your phone! Soon you will have a day to rest and refresh your mental tiredness. Hang in there and stay safe!

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  2. Darn, you mean you’re not bringing back a yeti or a Sasquatch?

    Also really glad you found your phone! The blog must go on! And of course all the info, details, contacts and photos would add another layer of complexity to this already monumental trip!

    Keep the faith. Keep moving forward. Stay safe and stay in touch. You guys are so awesome!!

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    1. I would have died if I had really lost my phone!

      You can’t make this stuff up. Something unexpected around every corner. It looks like the blog will be an every 2-3 day thing. Just very little wifi up here. And we may rethink the entire route and get rid of as many of the long days as we can. We’re coming into some heat, and we don’t want to take chances with long days. Anyhow…..Thanks for following along.

      So how’s it going with selling the place up north!

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      1. We had a ton of interest on cabin and accepted an offer in the first week over our asking price. Closing in mid August.

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