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Leading up to Logan's Pass and "The Road to the Sun Highway"

posted Aug 26, 2010, 8:24 PM by Matthew Gorzlancyk

August 1

 Paul and I got on the road nice and early. The plan was to reach Chester, MT, and we did just that. Along the way we ran into a 3-person crew: Kristi, Lily, and Toak. Lily was riding from New York City, Kristi from eastern New York, and Toak from Minnesota back to his hometown in Canada. The girls were both planning on completing cross-country tours, and Paul had ridden with Lily for a little while in Minnesota, so we decided to cruise together for a while.

 We ended up camping at a pretty cool city park in Chester, MT, did some shopping and cooking, then went to bed.

***If you view my photos you will see a bunch of anti-methamphetamine signs for much of Montana. Apparently meth has been, and continues to be, a big problem in Montana. This was quite apparent when heading through many of the towns. You would see a bunch of zombie-like people in quite a few of the towns. Unfortunately, Montana is not the only state affected by meth use amongst their population. It seems that since I left Minnesota, there have been meth-watch areas all over the place.

 August 2

 When we all (by ‘all’ I mean Paul, Lily, Kristi, and I. Toak had headed off the day we met him.) awoke we made some coffee, had some breakfast, and discussed where we were going to camp for the night ahead of us. We all were hoping to find another free camping spot, when Paul decided he would pipe in and inform us that if they tried charging us at the next spot he would, “Rip off their heads and s#*t down their throats.” I died laughing. Paul turned out to have tons of very interesting things to say along the way. This was maybe the most extreme, but he definitely had some good ones up his sleeve.

 We ended up having to pay for a site in Cut Bank that night. Fortunately Paul did not follow through with his threat… We made it to the site just in time to avoid a very big storm that came through. The ten bucks it cost each of us turned out to be worthwhile due to the much needed shower facilities, the nice little indoor hang-out area, and the super-sweet sculpture they had on the site. I am pretty sure it was an African-indigenous version of Jesus.

 August 3

 This was the first day of big climbing on the trip. We woke up planning on making it to St. Mary, Montana within Glacier National Park. It was supposed to be a nice light ride so we would be ready to hit “The Road to the Sun Highway” with fresh legs. Little did we know that we would be climbing over 3,000 feet over the course of the day. We may have only biked a little over 40 miles but it was definitely well earned. This ride, as an introduction to what Glacier NP had to offer, set my heart ablaze. Reaching this park, and being able to experience such beauty, made the trip through North Dakota and eastern Montana completely worthwhile. The climb and descent into St. Mary were absolutely amazing. Peaks, lakes, and a descent that lasted miles and allowed for speeds of over 40 miles per hour!!! This was the fastest I had ever been on a touring bicycle, and was the most amazing physical high I had experienced on the trip.

 It was a fantastic day. We camped in Glacier NP and decided on a day off, for we were to be climbing Logan’s Pass on “The Road to the Sun Highway” on our next big day…

 August 4 DAY OFF

 We made our way to a hiker/biker campsite called ‘Rising Sun’ first thing in the morning. It was only about a 5-mile ride, but the views were absolutely breathtaking. Watching the sun glimpse over the peaks while riding in the cool morning air was just what I needed to start the day off right.

 We ended up meeting some really solid people at the site. There were a couple of dudes named Christian and Caleb who were doing a short bicycle tour, a bad-ass German man named Reinhard, and a few other cyclists who took off following our arrival to the site. We basically spent the day hanging out, sharing stories, catching up on laundry, and resting for the next day. I took a nice little hike down by the lake, did a little reading, and snapped a few photos as well.

 That evening I enjoyed some nice conversation with Reinhard about his many adventures. It is really amazing what one can do in their life if they are willing to get uncomfortable. This 51 year-old man had bicycle toured the Arctic Circle, the United States, ran 100k’s, various marathons, and was an orthopedic surgeon to top it off. He told me that whenever he found that he needed to get away from life/work, he just did it. He was not going to wait until it was too late. He told me that when you have time, the ability, and the funds, you must do the things you have set out for yourself. If you do not take advantage of the opportunities you are given, you may never get another chance. **I would have to agree with this man’s advice. You never know when your card is going to come up. Balance is very important in one’s life, but you cannot continue to put off any dreams of travel you may have, for you may not always be capable of attaining or enjoying them.

 It was a solid evening. After the various discussions and dinner we all crashed and readied ourselves for a day to remember, Logan’s Pass.