We’re starting to gain altitude, moving toward the continental divide later in the week.
We’ll actually cross the divide tomorrow, then again going into West Yellowstone. The divide is not a straight line, nor is our route. We’ll be headed south most of this week.
Arriving in Boston is sort of the icing on the cake. If we just wanted to get to the Atlantic Ocean, there are shorter ways to do it. We will ride >4300 miles. (See below.)
If you want to get technical, there is more than one continental divide. Everything west of this one drains to the Pacific, east of here drains to the Gulf of Mexico, east of the next divide drains to the Atlantic – but then there’s the divide for the area that drains north to the Arctic.
We’re in Lincoln, MT, at about 4500 feet if my altimeter is to be believed. (I just checked, and we are at 4541 ft.) We didn’t so much climb today as gain altitude. By my seat of the pants calculations we were going up about 1% for much of the day – enough to make you feel weaker than you really are, if you don’t realize you are going up.
We started the day with a visit to Adventure Cycling.
They started as “Bikecentennial”, to encourage people to bike across the US in 1976. They have remained in Missoula but morphed into Adventure Cycling. They still promote self-contained transcontinental rides but have expanded from their one initial route to multiple routes and a couple of north-south rides.
You can buy paper (Tyvek) maps or online maps from them and choose your own adventure.
They also do advocacy work and work with international cycling groups. They sponsor some supported tours, but the focus is still on DIY.
They have historical bikes displayed (e.g. their cartographer’s first bike, the first bike to explore their transcontinental route, bikes built by a local frame builder which have made the trek).
They also have a “wall of fame” where they post the photos of transcontinental riders who stop in to visit on the way. I discovered you can’t escape folks from Wisconsin when I met these two:
We left Missoula in the cool of the morning. I kept arm warmers on until after 10. It was a leisurely start, as we were asked not to arrive in Lincoln before 2:30.
We rode upstream all day, following the Blackfoot River. We seem to do a lot of riding upstream.
We rode along the southern edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, part of the second largest contiguous wilderness area in the lower 48. Bob Marshall advocated for setting aside wilderness areas in the 1930’s. Here is the historical marker in his honor:
Marshall worked for the US Forest Service and was a co-founder of The Wilderness Society.
While we’re honoring people, I happened upon a church in Missoula. If you recall the book and movie “A River Runs Through it” (with Robert Redford), this was the church of the man who inspired the book.
The Tour Divide is a mountain bike race the length of the continental divide, and passes through Lincoln. From their live map, it appears that one rider is approaching town now. There are riders who have finished (at the US-Mexico border) and there are riders still in Canada.
“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and they will be the big things” – Kurt Vonnegut, as quoted on a sign in the high school gym here in Lincoln. A school gym that quotes Vonnegut can’t be all bad. And this is the “below” I wanted you to see. It is the little things that will make this journey, not the arrival at the east coast.
You should know, dear reader, that I passed up a beer in town with other riders in order to write this. Such is my dedication to this duty;)