July 28, 2001 - Mike and Marilyn's 2001 TranAmerican Bike Tour

Mike and Marilyn's
2001 TransAm Bike Trip
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July 28, 2001

TRANSAM 2001 > Montana

Missoula to Lolo Hot Springs, Montana. (41 mi.) Mile 3449

To Lolo Hot Springs

In leaving Missoula we backtracked 12 miles along busy U.S. 93 to Lolo, then turned west to cross Lolo Pass, an ancient Indian trail across the mountains, the route used by Lewis and Clark in 1805, and Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce in 1877. A stormy low pressure system blowing in from the west met us head on as soon as we turned in that direction. The gusting headwind was strong enough to bend the trees and raise concern that I might be blown over again with my panniers and top-heavy handlebar bag arrangement acting as a sail. At times I got off my bike and walked when the wind was the strongest until I could rearrange the baggage with Mike's help. We had gone overboard buying groceries in Missoula and were carrying a lot of extra weight.

Missoula's Saturday Market was just starting when we rode out of town. A good selection of fresh vegetables was a rare commodity along parts of our route, especially in the small town groceries in the east, so we stocked up.

Colorful bee hives on Lolo Pass. The sign says "Bee Crossing".

Heading up Lolo Pass, eastbound Eric Thomann has toured all over the world on his 35-year-old 3 speed bicycle.

The tacky Lewis and Clark Bumper Boats at historic Lolo Hot Springs

Lolo Pass is scenic but winding and narrow without significant shoulder, though significantly improved from two centuries ago, when it was described as one of the most challenging passageways over the Rockies and one of Lewis and Clark's most formidable barriers. Needless to say, we also made slow progress against the wind to Lolo Hot Springs resort and campground, where we pitched our tent. These hot springs had been used for many years by the Indians before Lewis and Clark made note of them in their journal. Over the years the hot springs have seen many owners, visitors, and various exploitive developments. Today there is a restaurant, lodge, swimming pool, and campground at the site. Our closest encounter with the hot springs was noting that the water from the springs is used to flush the toilets in the lodge. We ate our dinner of the groceries we had packed and went to bed early.

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