SEA TO SHINING SEA: Over Lolo Pass and into Missoula

Here are Trevor and Sam - the Brits - trying their first root beer floats. BY DENNIS FORNEY
June 10, 2013

DAY 27 - Root beer floating our way across America.  And I thought I was confused by the time zones. When we crossed Lolo Pass this morning and pulled into the restaurant at Lolo Springs, people attending the three-day pirate-themed rock festival across the street drifted into the dining room for breakfast.  At the end of a short conversation with one young lady, she said: "Well, you have a nice evening."

"But it's morning," I said.

"Well, I guess that gives you an idea of where my head is."

More than 40 bands were playing nonstop, night and day.

We logged 58 miles today bringing our grand total - woohoo! - to 1,021.

Rolling into Missoula, we celebrated with a root beer float.  The man's food truck advertised root beer floats, Lemondairy and huckleberry sundaes.  We ordered two floats.  While we were standing there, two other bicycle touring guys pulled up to chat. British.  Father and son.  Trevor and Sam.  They had never had root beer floats.  Never heard of them.  They gave them a try.

This guy's root beer floats were simple and good.  He filled a milk shake size paper cup three quarters of the way with soft ice cream and handed you a cold can of Barg's root beer.  You poured your own.

Awesome.  It took Trevor a while to warm to this American phenomenon, particularly the root beer.

First comment:  "It tastes a bit like mouth wash.

Second comment: "I guess it's an acquired taste."

But he finished his and they were good and then we headed into town to check out Adventure Cycling Headquarters.

I tried the Lemondairy too.  Kind of like lemonade with soft ice cream and lemon slushy mixed in.

"That's my own invention," he told me.  "Went through 600 gallons of ice cream mix at last year's Montana State Fair selling those."

I might try a whole one on the way out of town on Tuesday.  Monday is a work day, so after four days of camping we're in the Bel Air Motel in downtown Missoula. $58. We split last night's site with Bret.  $4 each.  Highway robbery.

I spoke this morning with a motorcycle rider at Lolo Pass.  He was wearing a leather American Combat Veterans Vest.  I thanked him for his service to the country. Air Force, Retired.

"I'm a newspaper guy and value the First Amendment - freedom of the press and speech and religion and assembly.  The fact that people like you put your lives on the line to protect those freedoms humbles me."
"I just wish the Second Amendment had come first," he said.  "If we didn't have the second amendment we wouldn't have any way to protect the first."

I told him I didn't think it mattered which one came first.  "They're both equally important."

"Too many people think it's the guns," he said.  "It's the whackos."

Extremists, I thought.  They are the problem.  He was a nice guy.

Good night all.

PS - Someone tell Jess at Crossfit that Becky and I made it into Montana - her home state - today.  I listened to the Allman Brothers trucking instrumental Jessica in her honor. Jess helped me with my knee.  It's doing fine. And I'm keeping to Dr. John's advice of keeping the pedaling between 60 and 80 rpms.

Rock on!

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