6/24/2021 – Libby to Happy’s Inn, MT

40.49 Miles / 594.47 Total Miles

2176 Ft. of Elevation Gain / 32,062 Ft. Total Elevation Gain

After a restful night in Libby and breakfast from the grocery store next door, we hit the road bright and early, this morning. The light was a little better, now, so I could actually see the massive metal eagle sculpture at the entrance to our campground. Wow! As we rode through town, I notice eagles everywhere, and that’s when I noticed the City of Eagles banner below. We didn’t see any signs of live eagles, so maybe it’s just their mascot. Nice mascot, Libby!

As we peddled on through town, I noticed something else. There was competition to see who could come up with the coolest commercial sign. Send me a message and let me know which is your favourite. I’m interested.

This Yeti krept in to compete for best sign too.

Today’s route was pretty straight forward–just follow the road, and it would lead us to Eureka, where a motel, wifi and laundry facilities awaited us. Kookanoosa River, then Lake Kookanusa, were to be on our left all but the last 5 miles of the day. Unfortunately, from the very beginning, both of us were having problems with our Garmin navigation, and we were so busy jamming the buttons on our Garmins that we weren’t noticing that the river and lake weren’t on our left, until about 10 miles out of town, when the lightbulb went on in Ed’s brain. There was no water on our left. The problem was that last night’s campground was less than a block past a turn that would have put us on the road we were supposed start out on today, and our Garmins had been telling us to make a U-Turn the entire time, which is why we thought they weren’t working right, but really we should have been listening to them, because now we were well down the road to Kalispell, not Eureka. Huge Blunder. HUGE Blunder.

We stopped to regroup and figure out how to proceed, and fortunately, we had some cellular reception, so we could see our options. Option 1 was backtracking and starting again on the correct road, which would have made for an 90+ mile day, with over 4000 feet of climbing. Option 2 was continuing on the road we were on, which was busier and less scenic, but also shorter, finding a place to camp 40-60 miles out, then going through Kalispell on our way to Whitefish. Option 1 was out of the question. We had been looking forward to a motel in Eureka, but we were pretty worn out, and the mileage and climbing were going to be impossible. Just as we were about to start riding, a fella pulled up across the road and hollered over to see if we needed some help, and we did. We explained our situation, and he resolved all our concerns. The pavement up ahead was good. There were dozens of campgrounds up ahead, and Logan Campground, with showers, was just 35 miles up the road. There was also another stop 50 miles up the road with a lodge, camping, dining, wifi, showers, laundry–the whole shebang. We continued up the road, but the hills were tough and it was getting hot. And clouds were starting to roll in.

At the 30 mile point, we stopped to get some shade and grab a bite in the shade of the Fisher River Valley Fire Rescue building, and we didn’t want to get back on our bikes. I layed down on the pavement to cool off, and below was my view. BTW, the pavement was nice and cool and so comfortable that I actually dozed off for a few minutes, which takes us back to that capacity problem I was discussing a couple of days ago. We were ready to stick a fork in it and call it a day, but we needed to make it another 15 miles to Logan Campground, so we pushed on.

I often ask myself: “Am I lucky or am I blessed?,” and my answer is always, both, as was the case today. As we were peddling along, this huge American flag, with a little happy face underneath it, appeared up ahead, and we both knew something good was materialising. Happy’s Inn was a little restaurant, store, bar, casino, billiard room, and outdoor concert venue, with wifi, showers and laundry. The owner let us camp out back in the huge grass area where people gather for concerts, and in exchange for his goodness, we ate his food, bought his groceries, and paid to use his laundry and shower facilities. Once we were clean and the laundry was going, we plugged in our charging stations and laptops and set up blog central on one of the tables in the bar, and just a few minutes later, a torrential downpour hit. Glad we weren’t on our bikes, because it would not have been pretty. All afternoon and into the evening, all we had to do to hold on to our table was order food and drinks from the restaurant, bar or store. I think I gained 10 pounds from all the rootbeer, strawberry milk, ice cream bars, Hostess Ding Dongs, and whatever else caught my eye.

When we finally went to bed, the rain kicked in again. I was too tired to notice how long it lasted, but things were pretty wet the next morning.

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