SEA TO SHINING SEA: Rolling south toward Chief Joseph Pass

The Rocky Mountains stood to our south through most of today's ride. BY DENNIS FORNEY
June 12, 2013

DAY 29 - Bitterrooting our way across America.  We rolled our way down the Bitterroot Valley today after striking out from Missoula at about 6:30 a.m. We made 67 miles.  The last time we made this many we were in Oregon's Willamette Valley.  Similar circumstances.  Flat roads for the most part and a light tailwind. We averaged 10.6 mph and ascended 1,925 feet. Here at the Travelers Rest where we're camped tonight, the altitude is about 3,500 feet.

All day long the first peaks of the Rocky Mountains accompanied our ride. I said they looked jagged and stoney. They come by their name honestly.  Becky said they look cold.

Tomorrow we'll head for Chief Joseph Pass and the Continental Divide.  At 7,241 feet, the pass will be our highest altitude to date.

At Glenn's Café today, inspired by the Brits, we chomped our way through a big cinnamon bun while listening to a men's Bible discussion two tables away.  At the counter, three sisters and their mom passed one of the sister's 11-week baby back and forth while they looked at photographs, making choices from the photographer's proofs.

One of the men said he felt closest to God when he was up in the Bitterroot Mountains. Then there was talk about heaven's streets of gold, the pearly gates, and relatives who would be there to meet them when they arrived.

"All I can say is it must have been one big oyster that supplied the pearl for the pearly gates," said another of the men.

The baby started crying.

"I hope we don't have to listen to that all through breakfast," said Becky.

"Another of God's blessings," I said.  The baby stopped crying in the mother's swaying arms. Becky smiled.

Outside, an older gentleman asked us about our journey.  I was eyeing his western shirt.  Pearl snaps, diamond-pointed pockets.

I tried to get him to trade me for my lime green cycling shirt from Bike To Go in Rehoboth.  He wouldn't bite.  I'll have a western shirt before I get home.

Had blackberry limeade with my lunch.  Awesome.  I will perfect a lemonade recipe when I get home.  I'd forgotten how refreshing it is.  Strawberry lemonade is my favorite so far.  Richie used to make super fresh-squeezed lemonade at the Camel's Hump.  And that reminds me, we have a hummus sandwich on whole wheat to split for supper.

Birds just scored two runs to go ahead of the Angels.  Man in Missoula's Catalyst Café yesterday had an Orioles hat on backwards.

"Love the Orioles," he said when he caught sight of my birds hat. "They used to have a pitcher named Jeff Ballard.  He was from Montana.  And I love Cal Ripken."

And so it goes here in the Bitterroot Valley, just north of the Rockies. Don't you love the local news more than the national and international?

Thanks again for riding along.

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