I woke up nice and early around 6:20, shortly after Mark since we wanted to beat the breakfast rush at the restaurant right near the campsite. We also wanted an early start so that we could make it over Logan pass early enough that we could make it into Kalispell at a decent hour that evening to welcome Mark to his first couchsurfing/warmshowers experience. Fun.
I woke Paul pretending that it was 9:30. He knew we wanted to get an early start, and I didn't tell him I was joking until he was fully awake and out of bed. Good tactic.
In the restaurant our server was a pretty awkward guy. He kept second guessing everything, and always seemed uneasy. It was actually pretty entertaining, and I think I laughed out loud when I heard him explaining to another table that he was a school teacher. Good times. The food was really expensive, but we had to get something. It did have a nice window with a picturesque view.
After our meal, we finished packing everything up and headed out towards the pass. We all had our jackets on to start as we were at elevation and nearly in Canada at the time. A few miles into the ride, it had warmed enough, and the jackets were off. From there until the top we stopped roughly once a mile to pull out for some nice pictures of the gorgeous park. At one point, I saw another lovely looking stream that I felt compelled to dip my head under to cool off. Refreshing! p.s. chicks dig the ‘stache.
After about an hour and a half, we made it through a tunnel and were right near the top. We stopped one last time to take some more photos before the pass. Mark jumped out on a snowy area and we snapped one for his homies at home. Right then, we saw Evan, one of the bikers we camped next to the night before, rolling by us. We congratulated one another at the top.
We were very surprised, and disappointed to see no food at the vistor's center on top. We had some of what we packed, and a bit more pride as we had conquered another pass (our highest remaining), and Mark's first. Hooray.
We enjoyed our time on top of the mountain, remembering that growth and happiness occurred while climbing it, and headed down the west side. The view was breathtaking over the pass as you could see the road snaking its way around the interior of the mountains. We were loving reaping the rewards of a long climb, however the road was pretty mangled as construction was going on all over the park. We had to be very careful, and we definitely ran into some rough sections.
I stopped at a spot called the weeping wall, were snow melt showers run along the face of the mountain right near the road. One section is pretty much a frigid waterfall that I again felt necessary to get under. This wasn't as good of an idea as I had though as it turned out since we would be cruising 30mph+ down the other side. It made for a exhilarating, shivering descent.
We actually had to stop at a traffic light due to the construction, that was a blessing for me at the time since it gave me a chance to warm up. After we made it through, we continued an amazing descent among crystal clear creeks. One looked so nice, Paul decided it would be a good idea to jump into it. The water was cold and the current was stronger than he expected and it ended up washing him down a little farther than he intended. It was pretty funny. At this point, Mark must have been second guessing the buffoons he was traveling with, but he would never say it if we asked.
After we leveled off for a bit, we cruised into a service area called Lake McDonald. We got some ice cream there before we left the park. We had read in the paper, and I had received an email from Chris Tolli warning about biking certain sections of the park at certain hours. It just so happened that as we were leaving ready to head out of West Glacier we had come across one of the sections in one of the time slots that would qualify for a "violation". We figured it wasn't a big deal and kept trucking through. It couldn't have been more than 100 feet before we were pulled over by a park ranger.
We weren't going to play dumb, and when the ranger had asked for all of our licenses we gladly obliged. He stated that he was going to give us all citations as he took them away. Damn, no warning? What he should have warned us about was the number next to the dollar sign on the citation. We had racked nearly $400 in fines between the three of us when all was said and done! Yikes. We had two options: pay or appear in court. I can't speak for everyone else, but I am planning on with option 3… don't get pulled over in Montana. Yeah, that works.
The ranger had a second guy come along who would put us in cargo and lug us to the west side of the restricted area. After the anger subsided from the amount of the fine, we had a chuckle in the bed as in reality he was giving us a free ride. Thanks.
I made final contact with Ted, our host for the evening in West Glacier, and we headed towards Kalispell. After a bit over halfway, we stopped at an A + W for some food. To my surprise, Mark out ordered me for the first time. He was finally part of the binge eating family. Tear. After filling up there, we made our final stretch of the day to Ted's house. We took a long, empty road that Ted suggested which helped us avoid a lot of traffic, and was s till a pretty direct route to his house.
Shortly after we got into the town of Kalispell, we had our first run in of discourteous drivers to bikers. A group of teenagers drove by and splashed Paul in the face with some water. "Oh Fiddlesticks" (or something along those lines) Paul yelled out as we turned around and discovered what had happened. I must say, it was pretty mean, but as it was only water there was a slight mischievous little boy part of me that thought it was at least a little funny. He survived.
Shortly after that we were close to Ted's house, and he actually met us out on his bike. Turns out Ted does triathlons and has completed an iron man as well. What a match for Mark Anthony (his actual middle name). Ted fed us some recovery drinks, which were pretty good and we changed up and prepared a load of laundry. We were ready for that after 3 sweaty days and two camping nights.
I took the rare initiative of first shower, so that I could head out with Ted to grab some food for the occasion. We went out and grabbed some pizzas, beer, fruit, and milk… the beer essentials.
We returned with the bevy of goodies and we had a feast. A late comer to the soirÃ©e, Jamie, Ted's friend came over. She had already eaten, and like Ted was a teacher in Kalispell. Also like Ted, she loved exercise, so much that she had gotten a 3:11 in a marathon. Jamie had just recently won one that was held the previous weekend in Kalispell. Wow.
We had a great time shooting the poop around the table, and Jamie in particular thought it was really amusing, in fact hilarious how ill prepared Paul and I were on this whole thing. She found the "wing it" mentality more comical than inspiring, as she laughed at (but yes I know was impressed) at what we had achieved and how we had done it.
After getting to talking about it a lot, Ted had convinced us to change our path to Spokane, since he had biked the area and really recommended we stay off a certain road I had planned on taking us over. The new path would also finish off going into Spokane on a paved bike path. Nice. Conveniently enough, Jamie's parents lived right along the new path we had laid out, roughly a long day's length away from where we sat in Kalispell. She had offered their house as a place to sleep for the following night provided someone would actually be there. Hmmm, it seemed like it would work really well. We would have to get a hold of her the following day, but hopefully it would work out.
It was starting to get late so Jamie headed home. I farted around on the computer researching our path a bit and blogging as well. Soon enough it became difficult to keep my eyes open, so I called it a night.
Spirits were high as we had potentially found another great place to stay for the following night which would also make for a good ride into Spokane at the end of Mark's week. We had conquered a pass along the most beautiful road in the states, and slept easily with full bellies in a comfortable home. Sound familiar?
Life was good.