The Steel Steeds

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Montana Days 46-49

Sunday, August 15 we left Helena, MT under blue skies. Our destination was Drummond via Route 12 which took us over MacDonald Pass (6320 feet). We had traveled 2,319 miles uphill to get to this point. What point might that be? Considering the last three days of wind and rain, the pass was a piece of cake. From our hotel to the base was 12ish miles. The climb was 6.5 miles on a road that curved along the side of the mountains giving those that dared a spectacular view. Yes, Rosie hugged the other side telling me she'll look at the pictures. Down the other side we passed through Elliston, Avon and Garrison before arriving at Drummond., following the Black Foot River. It was 50ish miles downhill.  Cool haystacks along the way. See the pics. Drummond, as described by the owner of the bar I visited to get on the Inet, is a piss stop. Let's just say you could hit a golf ball the length of the town against the wind from the men's tee. Even my sister could do it.

We again experienced tire problems. Rosie's rear tire was delaminating. Had three ugly bumps that deflated after we got into our room and turned on the AC.

Monday, August 16 I discovered Rosie's rear tire was flat. A quick fix before we headed for Missoula on I-90.  Another 50ish miles downhill. All sun and no wind. Now here is a oxymoron, sometimes life is good when you're going downhill. We arrived at the Thunderbird Motel and decided we needed a day off.

Tuesday, August 17 we spent the day seeing the sites in Missoula. Visited Adventure Cycling, had three helpings of their complimentary ice cream and obtained useful information used to decide what route we would take the next 12 days. While cruising the streets Rosie spied an antique shop, better identified as a junk shop. Good thing there were no good junks. I found a bike shop that had a Brooks saddle wrench. Gave it to me for half price. An important tool to help regulate the tension on the leather. Soon after that I found a great sports bar. Rosie agreed it was better than the junk shop.

Wednesday, August 18 we left our digs in Missoula with the intent to ride 58 miles to Superior, MT.  Lubed and spruced up the steeds before we departed.  All looked copacetic.  We had to ride through town to the west side, about five miles.  While Rosie was off-loading excessive fluid, I checked our rubber and found a blossoming bubble on my front tire.  Same problem we've been having. We found the Trek dealer and he replaced the tire, pinching my tube in the process.  So I got a new tire and tube. We could not replace Rosie's. They only had one tire that was the correct size. This was the first Trek dealer to admit knowing about the delamination problem. The other shops denied such and didn't honor the warranty. I've written a letter to the manufacturer.

We finally got out of Dodge about 11:45 AM with an additional 10 miles added to our day. We had good road, however at 48 miles out we rode into a storm, including marble size hail.  Rosie voiced her displeasure yelling ouch and than some.  I grinned as the hail splattered into pieces as if it was hitting armor plated steel, although as we were fast approaching an overpass I halted so Rosie could obtain needed relief.  We waited about 15 minutes and the storm seemed to be hung up on the mountain. I pointed to a patch of blue just west of us. I told Rosie we could sit here for hours or head for the blue. She begrudgingly followed. About 1.5 miles later we found dry road. Our clothes dried quickly. We were six miles from Superior and looked forward to relaxing when my rear tire flatten.  I grinned once again and made repairs. We were back on the road in ten minutes and arrived at our motel much sooner than later. Thank God Rosie bought meds before leaving Missoula. My armor plated steel needed repair.


  1. You guys are amazing. Awesome pictures. I have been out west (driving) once in 1978. I forgot how beautiful it is. Thanks for sharing. Stay safe and dry, if that is possible.
    On a somber note, remember Charlie Brauer? He was at the reunion looking pretty happy and healthy. He passed away a few days ago. RIP, Charlie.

  2. Bill, I think the only armor plating might be your head.....and that was covered by your helmet.