Day 1, Eureka MT to Seeley Lake MT
Today starts the first full day of riding the Great Divide. While loading the bikes up in the morning, my Dad noticed one of two bolts holding a heat shield on my exhaust was missing so we tracked down a hardware store ASAP. We found one that opened at 8am and we rolled up right as they were opening. I bought the bolt, but then realized that the boss welded to the pipe had stripped out threads. Hmm, this means the bolt could have been missing for a long time. Simple fix though, I just put a hose clamp around it.
Here is the quick fix...it works great and I'm planning on leaving it like this as the permanent fix.
We continued on and quickly jumped onto a goaty paved road. Still no dirt yet, but we knew it was coming! We had heard from some hikers the day before that part of the road was supposedly closed off while they resurfaced it. They were right, as we came across this:
There was a Park Ranger type person there checking up on the construction contractor and while very nice and polite, he was adamant on not allowing us to try squeeze by on the narrow "shoulder". We were getting kind of bummed out because the only other way around would be to jump back on US-93 south and miss the whole first section of dirt. The ranger left and we decided to walk up to the construction workers and ask them if we could sneak by. They said "sure thing!" and we immediately jumped back on the bikes and squeezed around the paver and roller. Score! Nothing like riding on virgin blacktop!
Shortly after that, we hit the first official section of dirt!
Cruising down the dirt, everything felt more alive all of a sudden...
Came across some damaged forest...not sure if this is due to pine beetle infestation, but it wasn't pretty.
Thump thump thump......Dad is getting back into the dirt groove.
We then came across this preserved cabin but I forget what it was called.
Working our way up to Red Meadow Lake.
Boom, Red Meadow Lake...
This mountain top lake is incredibly beautiful and serene. It was extremely green all around and the air was crisp.
We talked with 2 locals who were up there fishing, and got them to take our photo for us.
We continued down the road and came across one of the listed camp sites for the Great Divide mountain bikers. I took a side excursion and rode down one of the paths to the lake, next to one of the camp sites. Absolutely perfect!
But since it was not even lunch time we had to keep on rolling if we wanted to make progress. We rolled into Whitefish MT looking for lunch and I immediately pulled over at Piggyback BBQ.
The food was pretty good here and it was a nice spot to relax for bit. Here's my Dad enjoying his sandwich.
Here's the pulled pork sandwich I had, which was quite tasty.
Next up was a section of small side paved roads. These yellow flowers grabbed my attention in one of the many grassy fields.
For a while we trailed two Harley's, one of which was this sidecar. It was very interesting following them and watching a motorcycle lean the wrong way in every turn, but the way her hair was flowing in the wind looked very relaxing as we all carved around the meadows and woods.
Just as we were missing dirt again we jumped back onto the forest roads. Here are a few of the Great Divide cyclists we saw along the way.
I should add that in June they had the Tour Divide, an unsupported cycling race from north to south that is 2745 miles long. Every rider is responsible for carrying all their own camping gear, food, water, etc. They must also plan on how and when they will go off course to restock on supplies. These guys are truly nuts, especially considering the fact that the first place guy completed the Great Divide trail in 17 days on a mountain bike.
Here's a little surprise we had to squeeze around.
Afternoon snack by the river.
We decided it would be best to run down to Seeley Lake and hotel it for another night. The rainy weather was still clearing up and it was still dipping into the 30's at night so we opted for some more comfort. While riding south on MT-83 we saw some more storms brewing off to the side...
Unloading at the hotel.
Dad got attacked by a bear...
The lady at the motel recommended Lindey's Prime Steak House for dinner, which was actually pretty good. One dinner feeds two...they bring out a huge chunk of meat and cut it at the table for you after cooking it.
Overall a great first day on the dirt. Most of the dirt was double track forest service roads, winding up and down the mountains.