DAY 50 JULY 16 90.1 MILES
Life is too short not to go big!
After an ample amount of apprehension over today's 90 mile ride, it unfolded to be relatively easy. Temperatures were cooler this morning so the jacket stayed on for the first 12 miles. The wind was virtually nonexistent for at least the first 3 hours which permitted sufficient time for breakfast, 25 miles of cycling and our first rest stop. For the remainder of the day, although the breeze originated from the west, it was so light that it provided very little resistance to our progress. We hardly could believe it!
Early in today's ride, we found a small shortcut which saved us 3 miles. Although not huge, 90 miles sounded much better to us than 93. On the downside, however, there was heavy road construction on the last 3 miles into Havre. While a beautiful new section of road will eventually be in place, it currently is gravel, soft dirt and mud. We were aware of this construction and wondered how we would find a way through it. A rider with another group placed her bike in a pickup truck but we would not resort to that measure.
When we approached, vehicular traffic was directed over the roughest, gravelly part of the road. However, I chose to ride on the new, smoother lanes nearly ready for paving until someone chased me off of them. We were able to cover 2 1/2 miles on that side before someone did. At that point, we joined the other traffic for only the last half mile which was a breeze.
The town of Havre has an interesting history. Back in the bootleg days, many businesses went underground. By that, I mean that they actually built restaurants, saloons, brothels and the like below the street level to avoid the authorities. In later years, when a fire leveled the town, businesses simply moved back below the surface while the town was rebuilt. Today, guided tours are the only business down there.
A friend from my Pensacola flight school class was visiting his daughter in this area and it was a highlight of my day to meet up with him for ice cream in one of the towns we passed through. Later, he picked me up and treated me to dinner in Havre. It always is quite special to see a friendly face so far from home.
After today's ride, we now are 3/4ths of the distance to Seattle. I celebrated the achievement with a large bowl of spaghetti to help me on tomorrow's ride. We will save any further festivity for the ride's completion. But now we have only 1/4th of the way to go!
Tip: The key to successfully negotiating an unexpected patch of sand or gravel is to stay relaxed and allow the bike the freedom to drift through it.