Cross Country Recumbent

Saturda July 26, 2003. Missoula MT to Philipsburg MT


Start time
8:22 am
End time
3:00 pm
Time pedaling
Average speed
Odometer 988

Yesterday in Missoula was nice.  I got my errands done, saw a movie, and generally tried to relax.  The odometer reading has jumped a bit because I road 25 miles or so tooling around Missoula.

Today I followed the alternate route.  It turns out that 93 is now open, but you need an escort car to get through.  I don't think they would've been happy to see a bike!  Plus the smoke would make riding hard.  Interstate 90 is just like you'd imagine it, except much louder.  You don't realize how your car shelters you from the noise.  The shoulder was good basically the whole way, but it takes a lot of concentration because you have to constantly avoid debris (glass, spare bits of truck tire, etc).  It was a gradual climb and a bit of a headwind, so progress was slow.  However, it wasn't as slow as this guy's progress:

He's on a recumbent tadpole trike, pulling a massive trailer.  At the time this picture was taken he was making approximiately 1.5 miles per hour.  It is hard to tell in the picture, but he's actually reading something while riding.  The guy seemed totally content to go his own speed, and he obviously has everything he needs to live tucked in that trailer.  I wonder: is this the nomad, or someone who was inspired by him?  I didn't get a chance to talk to him because we were separated by I-90.

Eventually I reached Drummond and turned South on 1.  1 is perfectly flat, but not level; it climbs the whole way up to Philipsburg.  There is supposed to be a campground at Georgetown lake further up the road, but I was too pooped to keep going, so I decided to see what was in Philipsburg.  Sometimes I get down about being on the road solo, but days like this are sure fun.  It turns out that Philipsburg is an old mining town which now trades mostly on charm.  It has a very pretty downtown, that was peopled with all kind of folks who had turned out for the "Flint creek  Valley days", an annual event.

After perusing downtown, I worked my way to the city park, scoping for camp sites.   I think strictly speaking I'm not supposed to ber here, but camping options are limited.  They do have a public shower down the road, so I got to get clean.  At the park I met up with Thad and Su from Great Falls MT.  They are both musicians (cello and piano respectively) who love the outdoors and had been camping in the area.  They were making dinner in the park, and eventually offered me some.  Hot home-cooked food beats what I had, so I joined them and we had a good time.

They told me about a show they were going to see at the old Opera house here.  It sounded good so I went too.  The opera house was built in 1896. A relatively small troup put on an outstanding show consisting of a play (A Royale Deception); and a series of Vaudeville acts.   I got the impression that this is the one showing of the play, done for the Valley Days.  It was exceptionally fun.