Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Friday, August 23, 2013

Missoula to Plains, Montana Aug 18

August 18, Sunday. 86.34 in 7:13----Sunday morning was cool but sunny, and it was a great time to ride through Missoula. There were many bikers out in town, getting in their early ride, and there were just as many vagrants stirring around the town. We noticed in our travels around Missoula that they have a unique population, not that they aren't normal, but..... The town seems a little rough around the edges. Not only with the plentiful downtrodden sitting on the streets and under overpasses, but the younger crowd doesn't look like their going to go to grad school someday, if you know what I mean. In all fairness, the University of Montana Grizzlies are not back in session yet, so maybe the leaders of tomorrow will show up soon, but they weren't here on Aug. 18. As I passed through town, there was a long stretch of road (Broadway), that was industrial in nature, with lots of trucking companies, and very few were working on Sunday morning, which was a good thing. If I had gone through there on a work day, I think it would have been more hazardous.
 After about ten miles going through that, I turned north on US 93/Montana 200. This was a busy four lane highway with nice shoulders, but traffic was busy with Rv's and trucks pulling trailers, probably coming home after a weekend in Glacier National Park, and some other destinations on US 93. As I left Missoula, there was a gradual 700 ft climb out of the valley, and through the Flathead Indian Reservation, which included three different tribes. That was the last climb of any significance of all for the entire trip. Once I got to the top of that ascent, I picked up some railroad tracks that I would follow all the way to Plains, on a gradual downhill trend. I followed US 93 for 27 miles, where all the traffic left me when I turned on to Montana 200. This is a great ride. The beauty of being constantly surrounded by sparsely forested mountains, without ever having to climb one of the was sweet. Besides the tracks, I also followed the path of the Blackfoot River, which we enjoyed in Missoula yesterday. It was just as beautiful, only growing in size. The amazing thing about this clear fast moving river, is that NO ONE was using it. I saw four small boats in 30 miles. The water is so clean, there has to be fish in it, but no fishermen. This river is one of the most beautiful I've seen, and there was just no access to it. I think the Indian Reservation bordered the far shore, which may have something to do with it. Anywhere else in the country, this river would be an attraction of unparalleled appeal, but in Montana, its just another river, I guess. Eventually, the Clark Fork River joined the Blackfoot, and the river became massive. As I came into a populated area( Paradise and Plains), there were some fishing access sights, and some swimmers, but this area is still one of the best kept secrets in the country.
     When I got to Plains, which is surrounded by mountains, by the way, I had a text from Pam saying that the only campground in town was out of business, and she somehow spoke to the right people, and we got to stay at the county fairgrounds. We were by ourselves on a beautiful grass lot, under huge shade trees, next to the 4-H barns. We spent the evening watching the moon come over the mountains before the sun went down, walked through the fairgrounds, down to the river, where we saw a fresh rattlesnake kill on the road. I wanted to cut off the rattle, but someone beat me to it. As the sun went down, we watched dozens of whitetail deer jump the farmers fences, into a clover field that was next to us. This is a real nice place.

All our lives we've been looking for this!!!

University of Montana, Grizzly Stadium

Never heard of the Flathead Indians!

All of the signs on the reservation were written in English and their native tongue - this was a bridge for the animals to get safely across the road.



These cows were really shaggy, like mountain goats!

Back in the land of irrigation!

For having such a large river, the land isn't really green

Clark Fork River

At last, we have discovered Paradise!

Two common sights out here, trains and hay bales!  Hey, the cattle have to eat in the winter!

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