West Glacier to Dickey Lake
6 hours, 59 minutes
Average speed 16.9 km/h
Max speed 49.7 km/h
The day started cool but it was sunny and calm. I used the Adventure Cycling Association’s map. It’s worth buying. They have detours to take you off the main highway at several high traffic areas.
Leaving the park in the morning, I was a little depressed about it. It is so beautiful that I expected everything else to be a let down. There was no need to worry. I spent most of the day riding in a river valley with mountains on both sides.
I stopped for a second breakfast in Columbia Falls, and had something called a Buck Shot or Body Shot. Two shots of espresso and the rest dark roast coffee, to wash down my five-dollar brownie. Mmmm.
By the time I finished my coffee it was getting warm and I could peel off the jacket and knee warmers. I rode to Whitefish to find Glacier Cyclery, a shop that many people who tour on this route recommend. I bought a SRAM chain, put it on, and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.
Leaving the shop they warned me about how terrible and dangerous the highway was for the next four miles. Phooey. These people have no idea. It was better than most any highway riding in Manitoba.
I took the Adventure Cycling detour on a back road through ranches. If I ever come into a big pile of money, I will buy a place right there. It was gorgeous. It was perfect riding conditions, warm, no wind, amazing scenery, pure bliss until I had a flat on the BOB. I patched the tube but that story would get much more complicated over the next day and a half.
The rest of day I rode north on Highway 93, and the shoulder was only about a foot wide, sometimes less. It was smoking hot and there was moderate traffic, but the drivers were very courteous. Maybe riding with a trailer buys you more space on the road? Only one yahoo in a truck all day, and that was in Whitefish. Amazing.
At an afternoon break in the tiny town of Olney, I bought a Coke and a chocolate milk at the local hardware store. While I sat drinking them in the little two foot strip of shade I could find, a pickup pulled up right in front of me. Two filthy guys jumped out and they left it running with the AC on. They looked like they had been wrestling in coal dust all day and I was glad I was doing my work on the bike.
One of them gave me a look of scorn, and I thought I was going to have some trouble with the locals. But they strode in and came out with a tall can of Bud Light each, got in the truck and drove off. Road rockets on a hot day. Now that's country living.
I camped in Dickey Lake, a little state park right beside the highway. There is a big lake and it is obviously a popular spot with the locals. Lots of boats pulling skiers, wake boarders and kids on tubes. Not the most peaceful spot when I arrived.
The old guy who runs the campground let me camp for free since I was traveling by bike. Very nice of him. He told me he spent his honeymoon in Winnipeg. That was three marriages ago, so maybe that wasn't the best start.
The cyclist's camping is in the day use picnic area right beside the lake. The campground was up the hill and way back from the shoreline. It was definitely the best spot in the place. I chatted with a local guy who had recently lost his job at the sawmill where he had worked all his life. They were paying for him to back to college. I hope things work out for him.
It was a beautiful spot. No showers though. Not ideal after a long hot day of riding.