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On Our Way to Swan Lake

Posted July 30, 2010 By Kathy

More Montana farmland.

Beautiful farmland with wheat and canola fields.


 
July 27, 2010

Good Morning Montana! What a night we experienced! It was a blustery, tent swaying night. I hoped for a calmer day. We left Columbia Falls on SR 206 and rode out into a crisp, breezy morning. The countryside was waking up to a new day as the sun peaked over a nearby ridge. A side wind pushed me off the shoulder of the road toward a wheat field.

Elaine and I turned onto SR 35 and cycled by farmland dotted with barns, horses, small ponds and homesteads. We passed by a brilliant yellow canola field which emitted a pungent mustard smell. A farmer repaired his barbed wire fence while his horse drank from a nearby pond. The wind had finally subsided and once again it was a joy to cycle.

When I entered Big Fork, a wide main street, several local businesses, a mini casino and numerous cherry stands greeted me. I was tempted to grab some cherries, but kept going until I rendezvoused with Rodge and Vanna Blue near our next turnoff. We had a short 42-mile day and I was determined to get into camp early.

After I left Big Fork, a woman who saw the Cycle for Dystonia sign on the van asked Rodge about the tour. He filled her in on the trip and gave her a brochure on dystonia. Little by little, one person at a time we are educating the public about dystonia.

The last ten miles of the day, I followed the Swan River. There was little traffic on the narrow road which passed through woods, and by houses and farms. Soon the river emptied into beautiful Swan Lake. That night we camped at Swan Lake Campground under pine and fir trees. We had a surprise dinner guest. A beautiful doe ate her greens while eyeing us from the outer edge of our camp.

God Bless,
Kathy

James 1:17

A Montana farm.

A Montana farm.

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A shredded wheat farm.

Shredded wheat growing in a field.

Trains and More Trains!

Posted July 30, 2010 By Kathy

Traveling through beautiful forests.

Traveling through beautiful forests.


 
July 26, 2010

We left the RV Park and headed on Highway 2 to the town of Essex, Montana for breakfast. We were pleasantly surprised to find a quaint town full of railroad memorabilia all centered around the charming Izaak Walton Inn. The inn was built in 1939 next to the railroad yard to house the Great Northern Railroad snow removal crews. Today it serves as a great escape for train buffs and nature enthusiasts.

Guests can stay at the inn, vacation in one of 4 refurbished cabooses, or get derailed to the Luxury Locomotive. Since we needed refueling, we opted for the Dining Car Restaurant, where I enjoyed a stack of huckleberry pancakes. After browsing in the gift shop, we departed for our 54-mile ride to Columbia Falls, Montana.

Highway 2 maneuvered us through green forests of pine and fir trees. The canopy above blocked the warm rays of the sun and made for a chilly morning. I pedaled faster to warm up. A river shadowing the road provided a great put-in point for an early riser and his bright yellow raft.

Trains hidden by dense foliage could only be heard chugging by. Occasionally I would catch a glimpse of a bright red or yellow car. As I cycled along, the song “People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield kept running through my one-track mind. 

“People get ready, there’s a train a comin’
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’
Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord.”

We finally left the forest behind us and entered a wider Highway 2. We cycled through the towns of Coram, Martin City and Hungry Horse before arriving at our destination. That night I heard a train or two go chugging by before dozing off. I was “all aboard” ‘cause I just thanked the Lord.

God Bless,

Kathy

Psalm 106:1

A shout out to my good friend John Sharpton:  I rode by a chainsaw carving business outside of Hungry Horse, Montana and thought of you. They had a  bear and an Indian displayed out front instead of a mermaid and a pirate. ARRR!

A Challenging Day

Posted July 29, 2010 By Kathy
Mountain views of east Glacier National Park.

Mountain views of the east side of Glacier National Park.

July 25, 2010  

When we left Glacier National Park, we never realized what a challenging day we had ahead. We left St. Mary at 8 a. m. and jumped on US 89. We were now riding through the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

After a mile of cycling, the climbing began. We climbed 1,500 feet in four miles. Most of the time was spent riding at 4 mph. When cycling slowly, it’s hard to keep ones balance and stay upright. To break up the monotony of the climb, I stopped often to take pictures. The views of the east side of Glacier National Park were magnificent.

As I got closer to the top, the trees started thinning out. I was reaching the tree line, where trees are unable to grow because of cold temperatures, lack of moisture or insufficient pressure. I was absorbed in the stark beauty of gnarled, bare trees against an azure blue sky. When I reached the top of the climb at 6,000 feet, the downhill was awesome. I had just enough time to recover before starting another challenging climb.

During the climb, I stopped and photographed beautiful wildflowers painted in white, pink, purple and yellow hues. It was nature’s beauty that sustained me along the way and took my mind off of the arduous climb. There was one more climb after that which took us to mile 20 and the small town of Kiowa.  

We finally left US 89 and turned onto US 49, where another major climb began. We were once again shadowing Glacier National Park, where the mountains, rivers, trees and vegetation were artistically arranged in a landscape portrait for all to enjoy.

In the late afternoon, we arrived at our destination, Glacier Meadow RV Park. It had been a long, exhausting 50-mile day. Sustained by God’s mountainous, wild flower portrait I had persevered.  

God Bless,

Kathy

James 1:3-4

Mountain views of Glacier national Park.

Mountain views of Glacier National Park.

Mountains sitting on a carpet of flowers.

Mountains resting on a carpet of flowers.

More mountain views.

Stark beauty near the treeline.

Stark beauty near the tree line.

Mountain top wildflowers.

Mountain top wildflowers.

Painted mountain beauties.

A painted portrait of mountain beauties.

Wildflowers in all their glory.

Wildflowers in all their glory.

Going-to-the-Sun Road!

Posted July 27, 2010 By Kathy

An alpine meadow at Logan's Pass.

Mountain tops greet us as the fog lifts on Going-to-the-Sun Road.


 
July 22-24, 2010  

Thursday, July 22nd we headed to Glacier National Park. It was a short 37-mile day to the west entrance, which gave us plenty of time to stake our claim in Avalanche Campground, filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. At 7 p.m., the skies rumbled as thunder rolled in. We had just enough time to secure our site and jump in our tents before the clouds started dumping buckets of rain on us. Well, it rained, rained and didn’t stop until the following morning.
 
July 23, 2010
Going-to-the-Sun Road, a National Historic Landmark, is 52 miles long from the West Glacier entrance to St. Mary, the east entrance of the park. The road completed in 1933 takes you through some of the most spectacular scenery in the park. The road hugs the mountainside as it transports you into craggy alpine country and then crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. Logan Pass is a wildflower wonderland with glaciers, waterfalls, mountain goats and breath taking vistas.

Elaine and I planned to ride Going-to-the-Sun Road. Because of the rainy morning, our 6:30 a.m. departure was scrapped. Cyclists are only allowed on the road to Logan’s Pass until 11 a.m. and then after 4 p.m. because of safety issues with construction and traffic. The climb from our campground is 16 miles and 3,400 feet to Logan’s Pass, 6,646 feet, (about 31/2 to 4 hours of climbing). Then it’s all downhill to St, Mary (18 miles).

By early afternoon, the skies had finally cleared. It was time to jump in Vanna Blue, and explore Going-to-the-Sun Road. When we started riding, the fog was just beginning to lift. Mountaintops greeted us adorned with patches of snow and trickling streams. Stately bouquets of Queen Anne’s Lace covered the roadside.

At The Loop, we saw deer grazing along the road. The mountains were now exhibiting their green hanging valleys for all to see. At the Weeping Wall, streams trickled down the side of the mountain and showered all who got too close. The sweet scent of pine was now noticeable and the air was starting to cool. Every minute the view changed as the fog danced around.

As we climbed higher and higher, we spotted Mama mountain goat and her kid walking along the side of the road. Soon we arrived at Logan Pass. What a marvelous sight. Mountains stretched to the deep blue sky. Patches of snow surrounded alpine meadows with bright yellow flowers. The air was crisp and fresh. I tried to photograph the beauty and splendor but it was almost impossible.

As we began our descent, we saw Jackson Glacier. St. Mary Lake came into view and dominated the landscape. As our ride came to a close at the east gate, I was humbled and in awe of the rugged beauty of Glacier National Park. Only God could have created such a masterpiece.

God Bless,
Kathy

 Isaiah 55: 8-9

A baby mountain goat greets us along the road.

A baby mountain goat greets us along the road.

A majestic mountain at glacier National Park.

A majestic mountain at Glacier National Park.

Mountains hovering over alpine meadows.

Alpine meadows at Logan Pass.

Alpine meadows at Logan Pass.

Jackson Glacier.

Jackson Glacier.

Elaine and Kathy at Logan Pass.

Elaine and Kathy at Logan Pass.

Bailey and Rodge immersed in yellow wildflowers.

Bailey and Rodge immersed in yellow wildflowers.


 
July 21, 2010

We left the RV Park and rode to a small casino in Eureka for breakfast. Montana is full of casinos. Along with small Native American casinos everywhere, there are mini casinos in most gas station convenience stores. Now, along with grabbing that gallon of milk, it’s convenient to place a bet. 

While downing my small stack of pancakes, we met Bob, from North Dakota. He was riding self-contained to Anacortes, Washington. He joined us for breakfast and later for a picture. At 9 a.m., we left Eureka and headed on 93 south. For a change, I had the sun peering over my left shoulder. Today our route would take us 50 miles to Whitefish, Montana.

I rode by Eureka’s taxidermy business. Taxidermists were in plentiful supply in Montana for all the hunters who want to mount their prize elk or bear. I cycled by what looked like a chicken patty along the side of the road. My hunch was confirmed when I found a Tyson chicken box further ahead.

The road was once again playing tricks with my mind. When I saw a minor climb ahead, it was a descent and when I saw a flat road or slight downhill, I ended up climbing. The beautiful farmland dotted with houses and barns took my mind off the fickle roads. Soon fields of magnificent, yellow wildflowers came into view along the roadside and led me to a gorgeous blue-green colored lake. I was in awe of the beauty of God’s creation.  

While riding through the Kootenai Forest, two log trucks passed me. I could smell the pine scent from the logs before the trucks rolled by. The rushing Stillwater River ushered in Stillwater State Forest and its pastoral meadows full of green and yellow grasses. There were no towns directly on the road. To get to them one had to turn off the main road and drive a bit.

I had the honor to meet another self-contained cyclist, named Steve Quam who has Parkinson’s disease. Steve is riding from Anacortes, Washington to his home in South Carolina to raise awareness and money for Parkinson’s. The funds raised will support the Davis Phinney Foundation. What an amazing guy. God Speed Steve!  http://www.sqpd.us

I had my first flat today. When I pulled in for a snack break at mile 40, Elaine discovered my “flat as a pancake” back tire. Oh well, that’s life on the road. We eventually made it to Whitefish, Montana. It was a colorful day on the road full of yellow flowers and blue-green lakes. An added bonus was meeting two new cyclists. Can life get any better?  

God Bless,

Kathy

Romans 8:28

Beautiful yellow wildflowers.

Beautiful yellow wildflowers.

A beautiful blue-green lake.

A beautiful blue-green lake.

Eureka!!

Posted July 24, 2010 By Kathy

Eureka, Montana

Eureka, Montana


 
July 20, 2010

It was a cool crisp morning when we left Libby, Montana. We rode along the Kootenai River for three miles to Montana 37. Along the way, we passed quaint cottages that overlooked the river’s waters. Once on Montana 37, I sailed along on my bike Destiny, and enjoyed a new sense of freedom. At mile 17, we arrived at Libby Dam.

The 422-foot tall dam holds back 90 miles of water in Lake Koocanusa. Forty-eight miles of the reservoir lie in U.S. borders, the other forty-two miles are in Canada. Libby Dam was completed in 1972 as a joint project between the United States and Canada in an effort to provide flood protection and to provide hydroelectric power. We stopped at the Visitor Center, where we were able to learn about the dam, and view the massive structure from an observation deck.

Over the next 37 miles, we cycled along the shores of Lake Koocanusa. There were no towns along the way, only a small marina that provided opportunities for camping and fishing. The sun ducked behind the clouds and provided us relief from its hot rays. As a result, the blue-green waters looked a cold blue-grey. The Cabinet Mountains encircled us and seemed to hover protectively over the lake.

At times our ride mimicked a dysfunctional roller coaster, with long steep climbs followed by wimpy down hills. At the top of the hill, I was way above the lake and could see for miles. I started to see tall, stately cedar trees with their red brown bark, and green foliage sprays with scale-like leaves. They were so tall that I had to lie on my back to photograph them. Several areas along the cliff side were littered with rock rubble. Signs warning of falling rocks were ever-present.  Soon a headwind kicked in and makes our ride even more of a challenge.

We were finally rewarded with a descent into a beautiful green valley with rolling brown hills and the Blue Mountains in the distance. We had arrived in Eureka, Montana. The quaint town situated on the Tobacco River was only seven miles from the Canadian border. We were happy to retire in the Blue Mountain RV Park that night. We had the whole place to ourselves and delighted in it. Eureka!

God Bless,

Kathy

2 Timothy 1:7

Waters of Lake Koocanusa.

Waters of Lake Koocanusa.

Stands of cedar trees along lake koocanusa.

Stands of cedar trees along Lake Koocanusa.

Cedar trees resting on top of massive cliffs along the lake.

Cedar trees resting on top of massive cliffs along the lake.

A Memorable “Slice of Life”

Posted July 22, 2010 By Kathy

The beautiful Cabinet Mountains.


 
July 19, 2010   

Today we head to Libby, Montana 55 miles away. We will be staying the night with Elaine’s relatives, Darwin and Gigi Scofield.

It was a pancake-free morning because we couldn’t find a café in the area. So, we grabbed coffee at a convenience store and made peanut butter sandwiches.

We jumped on Montana 56 and headed north into a brisk 50-degree morning. The next forty miles would wind us through forests, mountains and streams. The sun popped its head above the tree line and stretched its rays to welcome a new day. The sound of streams trickling down the mountainside and the ever-present scent of pine stimulated my senses. I cycled by the “Slice of Life” ranch. The name said it all.

As I pedaled along a winding road, I expected a downhill, but it turned into a gradual climb. At least the Bull River shadowing me was enjoying a downhill. The Cabinet Mountains that hovered over meadows dotted with houses and farms surrounded me. Pretty yellow wildflowers growing along the road decorated the, “Entering Kootenai River Country” sign.

I was thoroughly enjoying my ride. The gradual climbs, exhilarating downhill’s and stretches in the flats made for an enjoyable time. As I was ready to head downhill I met Leo and Steph from Montreal. They were traveling self-contained to the west coast.

Soon we left quiet Montana 56 and jumped onto busy US 2 East. We were now riding by the rushing Kootenai River on one side and towering mountains chiseled by explosives on the other. Along the road, I cycled by five white crosses. Montana marks every road fatality with a white cross. It was quite a sobering moment. I prayed for the victims and their loved ones.

We arrived in Libby Montana and rode to the Scofield homestead. We were greeted by two beautiful horses, Tracker their dog, Darwin and Gigi and two decadent huckleberry cordials on our bedroom pillows. We had a wonderful visit with a delicious home cooked meal, a laundry opportunity and plenty of restful down time. Thanks Darwin and Gigi for your wonderful Montana hospitality.  

God Bless,

Kathy

Psalm 33:20

Howdy Montana!

Posted July 22, 2010 By Kathy

Kathy at the "Welcome to Montana" sign.

Kathy at the "Welcome to Montana" sign.


 
July 18, 2010

After a short stack of pancakes at the Long Bridge Grill, we left Sandpoint, Idaho and hopped onto Idaho 200. The pancakes were so big I couldn’t finish mine, so I had a pancake to go. It was a cool, brisk morning as we cycled along beautiful Pend Oreille Lake.

The small town of Kootenei greeted us with its farms and horse filled pastures. I stopped to converse with a filly and then took her picture. We had our first flat of the trip. Elaine’s back tire was punctured by a tiny piece of metal. Rodge came to the rescue and helped her replace the tube.

As we climbed up onto a bluff overlooking Lake Pend Oreille, the view was magnificent. Pine trees lining the road framed the lake for several of my photos. I entered tranquil East Hope, Idaho and was greeted by a friendly flock of quacking ducks. Ellisport Bay showcased its marina filled with boats of every color, size and make. The lake was slowly coming alive with anglers getting ready to cast a line.

When we arrived in Clark Fork, Idaho, we left Lake Pend Orielle. The Cabinet Mountains were now noticeable in the distance and birch trees were becoming more popular along the side of the road.  We once again had a water view when we began to shadow the beautiful Clark Fork River.

Rodge had a chance to cycle in the afternoon and was waiting for me at the “Welcome to Montana” sign. We went through our picture taking ritual. However, before we could even embrace our third state, we crossed over into Mountain Standard Time. Now it was time to spring our watches one hour ahead.

That night while resting in my tent at Cabinet RV Park in Noxon, Montana, I was thankful for the amazing day. I was thankful for the opportunity to cycle for dystonia awareness. Every brochure I hand out is making a difference. The sign on the van is making a difference. The blog is making a difference. To all of you with dystonia, one day at a time, one mile at a time people are learning about dystonia. Yes, there is hope!

God Bless,

Kathy

Isaiah 40:31

Pend Orielle lake

Pend Orielle Lake nesting area.

Pend Orielle Lake

Pend Orielle Lake nesting area.

A pretty little filly.

A pretty little filly.

The Clark Fork River.

The Clark Fork River.

Farewell Washington…Hello Idaho !

Posted July 20, 2010 By Kathy

Kathy and Elaine cycling with sculptured runners.

Kathy and Elaine cycling with sculptured runners.


 
July 17, 2010

Today we have been on the road one week. We have cycled 296 miles and are ready to bid a fond farewell to the state of Washington. Washington has been a pleasure to cycle through. The people have been friendly, the roads good, the state parks beautiful and very accommodating and the scenery magnificent.

We left the city of Spokane from Riverfront Park. Before we began, we posed with life-size runners sculptured in steel. The art called the ”Joy of Running” was superb but something was missing….a couple of cyclists.  

Elaine and I rode along the Riverfront Park bike path, which shadowed the Spokane River. We passed cyclists, runners, babies in strollers, dogs on leashes, and even a man in a Hoveround, an electric wheelchair that can cart one down the Grand Canyon or up Pike’s Peak.

Once off the bike path we rode along farmland and railroad tracks. I finally experienced my first train sighting. It would be the first of many with loud horn blasts and racing boxcars stenciled with the initials BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe). At mile 22, we entered our second state, Idaho. We both went through the ritual of having our picture taken by the sign. When we entered the town of Rathdrum, Idaho we found Rodge and Bailey immersed in “Rathdrum Days”. The festivities included a parade, craft shows and enough goodies to put one in a food coma.

Soon our route dumped us off on a back road lined with fir and pine trees. The tranquil road was lined with vibrant purple wildflowers and sounds of birds chirping. A fresh pine scent filled the air and lifted my spirits. We had the whole road to ourselves and delighted in wandering from the shoulder.

When we turned onto busy Old 95, we saw a weathered wooden roller coaster sitting out in a field.  It looked lonely and probably longed for the days when screaming thrill seekers filled the cars that twisted and turned along its tracks. Twelve miles south of Sandpoint Idaho, we rode by a beautiful Lake Cocolala. The lake lined with cottages and filled with boats looked inviting.

That night in Sandpoint, Idaho, we ate dinner at Panhandler Pies and then retired to our tents under fragrant pine trees in the Springy Point Recreation Area. I was sleeping like a baby, when all at once I was jolted out of my sleeping bag by the blast of a train horn. What a perfect ending to a train-filled day.

God Bless,

Kathy

Galatians 6:9

Kathy at the "Welcome to Idaho" sign.

Kathy at the "Welcome to Idaho" sign.

Spokane…Here we Come!

Posted July 19, 2010 By Kathy

Canola fields on the way to Spokane, Washington

Canola fields on the way to Spokane, Washington


 
Friday,  July 15, 2010

Today we have a short 36 mile day to Spokane, Washington. Friday is our first layover day, which means we get to sleep in, do laundry, sight see, visit a bike shop and catch up on our correspondence. We spend layover days in a hotel, so we can rejuvenate ourselves emotionally and physically.

We started our day with breakfast at the Morgan Street B&B in Davenport, Washington.  I deviated from the norm and had a big bowl of oatmeal full of raisins and topped with brown sugar. I later found out it didn’t give me the same zip as my stack of pancakes.

I had my first bull sighting today. The big guy was hanging out with Mama and three calves. When I approached to take a picture he gave me the evil eye, snorted and turned around and ran. Unfortunately Mama and the kids ran too.

We spent several miles cycling by wheat and rapeseed. Rapeseed or canola, is a flowering member of the mustard family and is a brilliant yellow color. It is a mustard crop grown primarily for its seed which yields about forty percent oil and a high-protein animal feed. Canola oil is also used in many food products because of its healthy qualities.

When we arrived in Spokane it was too early to check in to the Holiday Inn, so we headed to a Laundromat. The rest of the layover was pretty laid back. We ended up at a bike shop to get a new floor pump and a few other items. The highlight of our layover was going to a pot-luck dinner hosted by the Dystonia Support Group of Spokane. Thank you Bill and Denise Gibson for your wonderful hospitality. Denise you are truly my inspiration.

God Bless,

Kath

Isaiah 40:31

Canola fields in all their colorful splendor.

Canola fields in all their colorful splendor.

A packed Vanna Blue.

A packed Vanna Blue.