Make a plan, stick to the plan. Our plan is to wing it.
We left Seeley Lake after a rest day and started the 4th page of the mapset.
Our plan was to ride about 45 miles to Big Nelson Campground. There was a big climb that started right after that. We'd be fresh in the morning. Easy day.
Big Nelson CG was misnamed. About 5 campsites, all full. Lots of private land around it, so we rode on. Up the big climb. Not so easy day.
Near the top were a couple of spots that would have been okay if rain wasn't threatening. But it was, so up we go. Over the top and down halfway was Reservoir Lake with primitive camping. But when we got there, we could not find a clear space big enough for a tent.
At a loss, we opted to set up at a trailhead parking lot. None of the horse manure on the ground was fresh so that was okay. Mosquitos were pretty bad though. 61 miles with 4400 vertical feet gained. Not so easy day.
Tents up and I took a look at the map. The town of Lincoln was just 11 miles away and almost all downhill. 11 more miles or horse poop and mosquitos? It took us less than 50 minutes to get to town. GPS tells me I hit 40 mph on the way. On a 60 pound bike on a 1-lane gravel road. 72 miles total, not so easy day.
In Lincoln we got a mosquito-free hotel and headed across the street to a saloon where we stayed late making new friends and promising to return one day. Keep in touch Ducky!
From Lincoln we headed toward Helena, the state capital. Three big climbs, the first one included about a mile of pushing the bike up a steep hill. Mercifully, no snow.
But the calorie demand was high and by the top of the first climb we were low on food. Five miles off the trail was a store in a little town of Canyon Creek. Strong tailwind and mostly downhill, it was an easy ride.
Too bad the store was closed on Monday. By now we were even lower on food. Two more big climbs were out of the question so we took paved roads twenty miles into Helena.
Only two days since our last day off and we were both ready for another one. And you could do much worse than Helena. Feels like a small town. No city buses but there is a shuttle that'll take you to the top of the mountain bike trails just on the edge of town. This place might be in my top-five favorite cities.
Also, see where we are on the map