Week 1: August 23rd – 29th
Missoula, Montana to Cut Bank, Montana
Total Miles: 261
And We’re Off!
Departure day arrived and along with it the coldest, wettest, most dreary weather we had seen since we arrived in Missoula in July. But we couldn’t delay another day to begin our world record attempt for the longest electric bicycle ride! Because as some of you may know… winter is coming! And we have a lot of ground to cover in the northern tier of the US.
As any great family adventure should, we started our electric bicycle tour surrounded by family and friends. The takeoff point was the Clark Fork Market, a summers-only farmer’s market held every Saturday morning in Missoula. Though cold and rain would be sure to close down a farmer’s market in any other part of the world, our trusty Missoula community didn’t bat an eye as they donned their rain gear and smiles. We were surprised and delighted to find that Ten Skip Stone was playing and a lively group of our family, friends and their kids were dancing and jumping in puddles, waiting to see us off. As we waved goodbye our hearts were so full knowing we would have such a solid, supportive community to come back to.
Needless to say, day one was the toughest. Tomas was pedaling his e-bike in the rain and we had no routine or organization yet to our travels – i.e., I was a piss-poor support driver. We were planning on cheating and stopping at a motel just outside of downtown Missoula and say to heck with riding in the cold rain. But through poor planning and confusion we ended up not finding any lodging on the way had to pedal 55 miles to Seeley Lake – which was originally our plan, but every cold wet mile was tackled with great effort. Note: try not to ride on rainy days!
Pedaling Through Nature’s Beauty…
The days that followed were some of our most idyllic yet since we started. We spent a quiet night among the pines on the shores of Holland Lake, then pedaled the electric bicycle through some of the most gorgeous forest and mountain landscapes we’ve seen in all of our overland ramblings. In Glacier National Park we took a day off so we could hike and explore with the kids in the rugged, breathtaking beauty along the Going-to-the-Sun Highway. The park was especially beautiful as an unseasonably wet summer meant that the mountains were still covered with green and wildflowers. Our little ones earned their Junior Ranger badges at the St. Mary’s visitor center on the way out of the park, and then we said goodbye to the forests and mountains and entered the high plains east of the Continental Divide. But it was a slow and scenic goodbye, as highway 89 offered amazing views of the peaks and valleys of Glacier.
Highway 2 – or “The High Line” would be our route for the next week or so as we rolled along through farms and reservations under the big Montana sky. With luck, the weather would hold – but we were still far from pedaling the electric bicycle the 100 miles a day as we had originally planned – at this rate it’s going to take us longer than we thought to get to Florida and break the world record! And Tomas’s legs are feeling the burn…
Detail Summary of Week 1:
Total Miles: 55
Start: Caras Park, Missoula, MT
End: Seeley Lake, MT
Lodging: Seeley Lake Motor Lodge
Total Miles: 25
Start: Seeley Lake, MT
End: Holland Lake, MT
Lodging: Holland Lake Campground
Total Miles: 57
Start: Holland Lake, MT
End: Big Fork, MT
Lodging: Timbers Motel
Total Miles: 49
Start: Big Fork, MT
End: Glacier National Park
Lodging: Sprague Creek Campground
Total Miles: 0
Lodging: Sprague Creek Campground
Total Miles: 41
Start: Glacier National Park
End: St. Mary’s, MT
Lodging: St. Mary’s Glacier Park KOA
Total Miles: 67
Start: St. Mary’s, MT
End: Cut Bank, MT
Lodging: Glacier Gateway Inn & Plaza