Day 22 - Whitefish to Essex 95 km (1715) 755 alt. (15814)
The plan was to ride to West Glacier today and to ascend on the famous Road-to-the-sun-road in Glacier National Park. But, as you can see here:
the road is partially closed due to a huge fire which has made it to the "Missoulian" newspaper (missoulian.com). I'll take a southern detour on Hwy 2 ...
After a relatively easy and quiet ride from Whitefish to West Glacier I found confirmed what I had already heard: The fires in the mountains near St. Mary prevented me from doing that beautiful ride. On the other hand I talked with a man later who said that it was indeed a dangerous ride up ... ask 5 people, you get 6 different answers ....
The day's ride ended with a very pleasant surprise. I turned off the highway at Essex, MT, following a sign to a hotel and hoping that they would let me set up my tent somewhere ... There was this friendly-looking person on a bike who stopped and asked me how I was. "You wouldn't know a place where I could pitch my tent?" I asked. "Sure," he said without a moment's hesitation, "in my yard! And my name is Larry."
At the house he called through the door to his wife: "Hi Callie, there's a German cyclist camping in our yard, come say hello." "But don't let him stay in his tent. It might rain! Let's put him into the guest house!"
That's how I met two wonderful people. Larry and Callie have built a great house in the Montana mountains, Larry, a former county attorney and Callie, formerly a school teacher, are retired but still very active in the community and local politics. And are they active! Rafting, skiing, hiking, cycling ....
After a walking tour of the town with the large hotel and its train theme we had a delicious lunch. The two were preparing to leave the next day on a tour to Kansas for a historical convention.
Thanks, Larry, thanks Callie - all the best to you and you've got my card!