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GDMBR Chapter 15

Polson, MT, to Whitefish, MT

Units of measure

In the beginning, I measured this trip in miles and vertical gain.

Blog posts were titled and organized by those numbers—numbers that didn't really mean anything to anyone.

What was seventy miles and 7,000 feet of climbing if you weren't there to live it? Even if you were, they seemed but vanity metrics with no real lasting legacy.

The true unit of measurement, it turned out, would be the people I meet and the experiences we share together.

Happy 4th of July

After dropping the kayak back off at Sue and Greg's, Suz made a huckleberry pie and taught me how to make pie crust from scratch. Sitting across from her at the kitchen counter, I watched as she carefully added ice water by the tablespoon until the dough transitioned into something between crumbly and tacky.

As the pie bubbled in the oven there was a knock on the door... it was Jens! It turns out he was still south of Polson and took a detour to join for the über American holiday.

That evening, Suz and Dave invited Greg, Sue, Ginny and Mark over for pie. It was such a lovely evening with incredibly interesting and thoughtful conversation! Also, Dave makes strong gin and tonics... 😀

The next morning after a delicious breakfast, Suz and I headed downtown to meet up and walk with the Polson Democrats in the town's July 4th parade!

We handed out flags, decorated an old military truck and followed the parade route. The warm sunny day had everyone in a great mood; the air was festive as hundreds of people gathered to watch the creatively designed parade floats and celebrate together... despite it being a particularly divisive and challenging week for America and American politics.

That evening we all shared another delicious meal, watched as colorful firework displays exploded all around Flathead Lake and prepared to get back on the trail the next morning.

Another goodbye

After breakfast, we packed up our bikes and headed north to skirt Flathead Lake along the east side.

It was more like a goodbye, for now.

I'm already looking forward to seeing them again. They got me hooked on Wordle and just today sent a picture of Caddis' new summer haircut; she's such a sweet pup!!!

Resupply #3

At the north end of the lake, I diverted off route to Kalispell, MT, where I had mailed several resupply items to my friend Terry, while Jens continued on the official route.

Because my ETA kept shifting with all of the changes, Terry and I were only able to catch up for a brief while, but it was good to see him again and he was gracious in opening his home to me.

In my boxes were some new bike parts that I had forwarded on from Steamboat Springs, CO.

The next morning I dropped my bike off at Wheatons Bike Shop in downtown Kalispell. Before leaving, I asked if they were hungry, to which five guys replied in unison, "Yes!"

So I asked where the best bakery was and then brought back a box of goodies.

By 3:00p my bike was ready and I was back en route to Whitefish Lake State Park, where I was to camp for the night.

Spidey Sense

Whitefish Lake State Park was... well, not my favorite place. It was right on the lake (cool), but also right on a busy rail line (not cool).

It had a hiker biker site (cool), but it was oddly crowded (not cool).

There were a few couples there who were biking SoBo on the Great Divide, but also a few transient people camped there more because they had to; not because they wanted to.

Let's just say I went to bed early and slept with one eye open praying my bike was still there in the morning.

I much prefer remote camping.

Radical generosity

It rained all night and into the late morning. While waiting out a particularly thunder-y part of the storm under a picnic awning I met James, who was riding SoBo.

He started from his home in Fernie, BC which is virtually on the route. After realizing I was headed north, he said, "My place is unlocked; here's my address. Make yourself at home!"

I said thank you, connected on Whatsapp and decided to continue riding toward Red Meadows Pass, despite the continued steady rain.

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