A humid morning broke over our quiet camp, and I debated my options. With only had around 100 miles to ride to Kalispell, I had reserved a hotel room for “one last hurrah” before the real start of the CDT. I still had to flip on the two knobby tires I’d carried from Colorado for the start of the ride. Its a well known fact that flipping tires in an air-conditioned hotel room floor beats doing it on a picnic table while swatting mosquitos.
Heading north on 83 is a straight shot north through the Flathead National forest. Dense forest line both sides of the road, offering only brief glimpses of scenic beauty around it. Occasionally the view would present itself through a meadow or some cleared cattle land.
Since I had all day to go 100 miles, I chose to explore some national forest roads to kill some time.
We stopped mid-morning in a clearing to enjoy a brief continental breakfast. No more gas station burritos for me; I kept it classy with an apple and a clif bar. Lola got a few treats and a nice sunny nap.
As we got closer to Kalispell, the forest receded into farmlands, which gave us nice (albeit distant) views of the mountain ranges. Peter Egan once wrote that “Montana is the land of mountains which are forever fifty miles away”. I think there is some truth in that.
By 2:00pm, we rolled down the main drag in Kalispell, looking for the Best Value Inn. When we finally found it, I asked for an early check-in. The clerk at the front-desk was steadfast. “You can check in at 3:00pm. No earlier”.
Instead of sitting outside of the hotel like vagrants, we decided to sit around the public park like vagrants. I laid down and took a nap, while Lola kept a close eye on anyone that got too close to the Ural.
When 3:00pm finally rolled around my wristwatch, we loaded back up to the hotel and checked in. I spent the night watching truly terrible movies on the television and stuffing delivery pizza in my mouth. I changed the two tires on a tarp laid out on the floor, and went to bed early.
Days mileage: 122 miles
Total mileage: 1084 miles