Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day Fourteen: Hot Springs, MT

A quick post (done in the morning before leaving!), so I can try to catch up with these blogs.

Today's ride was 47 miles, but it contained another steep climb -- about 1100 feet over 5 miles -- but it certainly seemed tamer in comparison to yesterday's two passes. All just setting us up, I guess, for Glacier's "Going to the Sun" road, an immense (but gorgeous) climb that we should be tackling on Monday.

We left Thompson Falls -- which is centered around a very scenic dam, reservoir and river (some pix attached) -- and headed out on Montana's Highway 200 for Hot Springs, MT. Hot Springs is known for, well, its hot springs, but I also know it from all the Stephen Hunter books featuring the laconic, sharp shooting Bob Swagger and his father Earl. Great adventures/thrillers if you've never tried them.

The ride was very scenic, as we mostly stayed along side the river (the Thompson River in Thompson, not sure if its named changed as we went through other towns, like Plains). Already we're getting a sense of the vastness of this State. Long desolate stretches, huge ranches and fields and, of course, Big Sky.

The only catch was the roads. We basically rode two today. The aforementioned Highway 200 and then County Route 28. Both were generally shoulderless or, when they did provide shoulders, they were either (a) narrow or (b) marred by rumble strips in their middle. Plus the roads' speed limits varied from a low of 55 to a high of 70. I'm willing to say that Montana drivers are generally good drivers, but there were enough exceptions (tourists in RVs heading to Glacier?) that the riding was not as relaxing as we've become accustomed to.

But all was made well by arriving at the Alameda Hot Springs, a "resort" out of a time warp, with old fashioned "soaking" tubs in the rooms, and hot water spigots dispensing water with that sulphuric smell associated with real springs. Odd to shower in, but lovely to soak in.

I also was helped (I hope) by a care package that arrived from Laura (thank you!) containing a different saddle, an additional long sleeve warm shirt, and more inner tubes and suntan lotion. The saddle is my effort to address some, ahem, soreness, that seems to creep into my riding every day after 30 or 40 miles. This new one has more padding, so my fingers are crossed that it does the trick, although there may simply be no escaping the consequences of so much riding on a narrow saddle (unless I switch to one of those Coeur d'Alene recumbents). The long sleeve shirt was necessitated by our day of riding in the cold rain -- I clearly did not have enough clothing to accomplish the trifecta of (a) riding comfortably warm, (b) having something warm and dry to change into at the end of the day and (c) having something warm and dry to start off with the next day..So much for shedding that 2 lbs of luggage weight a week ago. But hopefully my legs are that much stronger!

Here are today's map and metrics:


  1. Nancy Goldfarb6:40 PM

    You're a great rider and writer! Your blog is very cool, and your journey is amazing to read about, with pictures as a bonus. I'm impressed by your drive, and can only imagine how gratifying this ambitious adventure must be for you. I'll keep reading, while you keep riding. Here's hoping the new saddle does the trick.

  2. Rog, when I now look at the overall route (i.e., the entire US of A), you've made real progress deep into the heartland. What an amazing odyssey.