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* Day 1, Missoula - Lolo Hot Springs (8/1/00)
Map: Day 1
Day 1
Day: 62.4 km | Trip: 62 km

Finally, the first day of my bicycling trip arrived. Last night I packed the bicycling bags (panniers) which obviously took much longer than expected. All my stuff: clothes, books, maps and so on, was still in the bag I came with on the plane and I spent hours until I got everything packed into the panniers. I'm still wondering that it all fit. I finally got to bed after midnight. When I woke up at 6 AM today I was still feeling dead. After a big breakfast I got on the road at 9 AM. By that time it was already getting hot. With all this luggage my bicycle does not seem very stable. I'm worried that something might break. I have most of the weight on the front wheel. Time will tell if this works out.

Even though the road went continuously uphill the ride was not that bad. I averaged at least 16 km/h. At the end I ran out of water and my butt started hurting, so that I needed a stop every 5 km. I reached Lolo Hot Springs already at 2 PM. It was very hot. Because of my lack of water I felt more exhausted then I normally would after 62 km . So I decided not to push forward till Powell, another 21 miles, and stayed as planned in Lolo Hot Springs. When the camp guard told me that there is heavy smoke from a forest fire ahead I felt that I made the right decision.

On the way to Lolo hot Springs I checked out a campground by the Unites States Forest Service (USFS). I was surprised that they are not manned, i.e. no little store to buy things, no shower, maybe water. I will have to worry about this tomorrow as that would be my only option if I don't want to go 87 miles to Lowell in one stretch. Most of it would be downhill but...

At the campground I met John and Madeleine from Holland and a girl from Delaware, Fiddling. They are all doing the Trans America bike trip from Virginia to Florence, OR and have been on the road for about 3 months. The Dutch met Fiddling a few weeks ago and they have been traveling together on and off since then. All three are very nice people. Fiddling hiked the whole Appalachian Trail a few years ago. John and Madeline are real bike enthusiasts and have done many long trips before e.g. via Hungary, Switzerland, Austria and France to Spain and returned via England. I learned about all this while sitting in the Lochsa Creek with them to cool down.

Today I will sleep early. It is 9:30 PM, the sun is down and I have barely enough light to read. As it will get scorching hot tomorrow I must get up very early again at 6 AM.

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