The Great Divide Montana Ride started out on a sad note. Lorraine was to have gone on this trip along with Deb K. from New York. I flew out early in the day and Lorraine had booked a later flight. When I landed in Montana I received the news that Lorraine had been injured in a freak accident at a swim meet. She was sitting under a shade canopy when a gust of wind caused a tree to fall onto it. She was trapped under the tree and suffered a fractured vertebra in her neck. Fortunately there was no spinal cord injury and it looks like she will have a full recovery. Deb and I will greatly miss her on this ride.
I used a shuttle service to get from the airport in Kalispell to Whitefish. I dropped my luggage at the motel and had the driver take me on to the local bike shop downtown. I had shipped my bike there earlier and they were holding it for me. It made the trip just fine. I unpacked it, put the handlebars and front wheel on and rode back to the motel. Deb arrived very late and didn’t get in until about 1:30am.
We slept in a bit and then went to the bike shop to pick up Deb’s rental bike. We skipped breakfast and were ready for lunch after leaving the bike shop. The first place we tried had a 20 minute wait, so we decided to try a local brewery called The Great Northern Brewing Company. Their menu was very limited so we decided to just have some chips and dip and check a few beers off our “Montana Beer List”. When we do these bike rides we like to sample local beers and Montana has quite a long list. I had done some research prior to the trip and came up with 30 locally brewed Montana beers. We had thought we’d split the list up and each be responsible for a third of it, but with Lorraine out of commission, Deb and I had to take on her share of the burden. It didn’t help that Deb ordered a beer that wasn’t even on the list (not one that I found in my extensive research). So that upped the official number to 31. We headed out on our bikes, still in search of lunch. We stopped at a place called The Bulldog Saloon. We split a burger and checked a couple more beers off the list. This time I ordered one that wasn’t found during my research…..so our list continues to grow.
We did a bit of shopping and hit a local coffee shop before heading back to the motel. We didn’t make it very far when we decided to stop at the Whitefish Liquor Store and purchase some Montana Vodka. We needed something to mix with our recovery sports drink when we finish biking each day. We made it back to the motel and after shopping at the Army Navy Store next door (Deb needed another article of clothing to stuff in her bag) we went to the rider’s meeting. There were a few other people that had to drop out at the last minute, so I think our group numbers 45 people. After the meeting the caterer served dinner. He said he planned on cooking nearly everything in dutch ovens on this trip.
After dinner we rode our bikes to a grocery store a short distance away and Deb proceeded to buy more stuff to put in her already overstuffed bag. Of course since I have a trunk bag on my bike I had to carry most of it back to the motel. On the upside, we did purchase another one of the beers on the list. Deb bought more stuff than would fit in my bike bag so she ended up having to hang a grocery sack on her handlebar. Apparently it unbalanced her because she had difficulty taking off at a traffic light and nearly dumped her bike in the middle of the intersection. I just laughed and kept riding. The real reason we went to the grocery store was for Deb to purchase the 2nd book in the 50 Shades of Grey series. She read the first one during her long travel day. The store catered to families and did not carry such pornographic literature. When we got back to the motel and started organizing our stuff, she found that she had the book in her luggage! Perhaps the beer list affected her short term memory.
Tomorrow our ride starts. It will be our easiest day with 44 fairly flat (by Montana standards) miles. We will ride from Whitefish south to Bigfork. The tour director said it’s a really nice, scenic route.
Today’s beer: Golden Grizzly Ale, Moose Drool Brown Ale, Two Rivers Pale Ale, Highlander, Wild Huckleberry Wheat Lager, Big Fog and Black Star Golden Lager.