Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hamilton, MT

On the Road Again!

Day 33: Thursday, June 20, 2013
Missoula to Hamilton: 52 miles

Yep, I'm back on the road, and boy, does it feel good!

You know those horror movies, where the house is just sucking the people in, and they're too stupid to realize it? It was kinda that way in Missoula: a very open warmshowers house, with fascinating people, and no assignment other than to get well. Complacency sets in, and bang! before you know it, five years have gone by.

But I escaped! Well, I took time to do laundry first, so the house grabbed me for the morning. But the clock struck thirteen - er, one - and I was out the door.

The Bitterroot Valley is beautiful, and it was even more so today. The entire distance to Hamilton, I was dodging cloudbursts that could be seen from miles away. Or rather, they were dodging me. My timing just happened to be such that I was hit by only a few sprinkles. I didn't mind that a bit. The wind came from all directions, depending on how close those cloudbursts were, but that didn't matter much, because the way was flat and the path was smooth.

hay ski
Hay! Ski Montana!

storm over Victor
Storm clouds over Victor

There's a bicycle path beside Highway 93 all the way from Lolo to a little south of Hamilton. It is absolutely fantastic to ride without having to worry about how close the cars are and whether some errant (or mischievious) driver will stray onto the shoulder. And much quieter, as well. It's surprising how much noise attenuation even a 25-foot separation provides. And for much of the distance, it was more like 50-100 feet.

Thistles beside the bikepath

barn and storm
Stormy weather

I could get addicted to this warmshowers stuff. I'm in another warmshowers house tonight, with the most friendly Siamese cat I have ever seen. She's just a huge affection sponge. Whereas the Missoula warmshowers house seemed to have a revolving door for cyclists, Tim and Cassie take in maybe 15 in a season. I'm lucky to be one of them. Cassie was just returning from a bike ride as I finished my supper (leftover Quiznos sub from noon - hard life), and I'll meet Tim in the morning, when he returns from his graveyard shift as an ER nurse.

Siamese cat
The friendliest Siamese cat I ever saw
(and lookit those beautiful blue eyes!)

But no more warm showers for a while. Tomorrow, if things go according to plan, I start climbing passes and sleeping in the wilderness.


  1. Glad to "see" you back on the road and feeling better too! Gorgeous pictures, cute cat, glad you didn't get stormed on.

  2. That is a singluslarly beautiful cat portrait, Bret! Also, the thistle photo is perfect! I recall the Bitterrroot Valley being some of the prettiest scenery we saw on the entire ride.

    See Bret's entire ride at

  3. Hey Bret,

    I finally caught up with you! What a great adventure. Your route is bringing back great bike racing and rock-n-roll memories for me. One of my favorite all time stage races is in Baker City. And I played several gigs at Jay's Upstairs in Missoula - is it still there? I'm sure you hung out for some live music while you were resting. :-)


    1. Sorry, Marty, Jay's Upstairs disappeared ten years ago. See's_Upstairs for a little more info.

      The warmshowers house I stayed in is a jazz house. Bruce, the owner, as well as several other residents, plays jazz piano. He used to host regular monthly shindigs at his house, but now most of his free time is spent with his nine-year-old son, who is a bicycle racer (see Missoula #6) and has ADHD. Bruce used to be married to Eden Atwood, who has some little renown in and beyond the Missoula area as a jazz singer. My only musical adventure in Missoula was confined to hearing Bruce and other house members do some riffs on the keyboard.


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