Missoula MT to Sula MT-80 miles. By Karl Murphy
"Montana Kills Stuff!"
Cougars, Elk, Trout and Schwalbe Tires - the crew took 5 tire casualties today.
We had THREE flats before 9 am to include one at the front door of the hotel (you will have to ask the scouts how they can accomplish that) and two along Hwy 12 - due to road trash from Missoula to Lola.
The most impressive flat tire was Max Morgan's triple nail full tire, chipped rim puncture. There was a belt of construction nail gun nails laid across the road like a string of land mines...the fact we only lost one is a miracle...8 of 9 successfully navigated the nail gun gauntlet.
We followed the morning maintenance clinic with breakfast at McDonalds where David M. found and returned a lost iphone.
As we waited for the owner's girlfriend to pick up the phone, a brief discussion speculated about how the recipient could be a long tern relationship for David...perhaps a good Jewish girl from Missoula...upon arrival of the courier...all hopes vanished.
More mountain girl than David prefers... Everyone, which is rare, concurred with David's assessment.
I share these wacky little vignettes because our day is filled with them... A local indian offering a random and thoughtful blessing on a street corner, European tourists spontaneously donating to the cause, locals asking all sorts of details and walking away silently confused by our mission.
The ride from Lola to Hamilton had a beautiful blacktop, truck-wide bike path that allowed a fast, safe and incredibly pleasant riding for maybe a 25 miles.
The lack of cars allowed us to enjoy and connect with Montana in a way a car would not. We experienced the cool spray of field irrigation in our face, passing bee hives With honey bees bouncing off our helmets and a plague of crickets flying across our path....
We ate at Subway in Hamilton and headed to our dinner stop outside Sula following the East Branch of the Bitterroot river for most of our afternoon. Along the way, as was the theme, we lost two more tires to pinches and screws....just 200 yards apart.
Dinner was at the Rocky Knob where the boys feasted on spaghetti and steaks. The Rocky Knob was a FORMER bordello...which made for some interesting dinner humor...
We pryed ourselves away from the air conditioning around 8 pm and pedaled a short 5 to the Sula camp site for showers and bed before 10.