I woke up, tried Erik and Ryan again with no luck and came to the conclusion that they had to be in Murray, and I just missed them. So after some quick laundry at Bryan and Kevin’s and huckleberry sour dough waffles, they put my stuff back in their truck and we headed back to Thompson Falls. No Erik and Ryan, so they graciously agreed to keep driving back up the 20 miles to the top of the pass. No Erik and Ryan, no Erik and Ryan and then, 200 yards or so from the top, there they were, just having started their decent. We stopped the truck, I got out, and we started our journey to Ravalli for the day, which would put us 35 miles north of Missoula, the home of Adventure Cycling.
I was most certainly exhausted this day, the 128 miles the day before and not getting much sleep, wondering about where those two were and how it really was my fault I was in the position I was, I wasn’t sure how another big day would go. But the first 20 miles were essentially all downhill and while the next 72.5 had some small climbs in them, we made good time. It also helps that the ride followed the Clark Fork River, which joins with the Columbia River. The Valley offers beautiful views, with the road taking you through reservation before hitting Ravalli.
We got in just as the sun had set and set up camp in the dark behind Bison Inn Café. The owner is a warm showers host, but was out of town for a powwow. He said to make ourselves at home behind the café though and we could use the spigot in the back for water. We made pork chops and veggies before calling it a night.
My attitude these last two days has been rough. This trip has been instrumental in my day to day mentality, my ability to miss Kelly but without breaking down or feeling completely hindered and sad about it. But these last two days have been significantly tougher than any of the others of our trip. I am as physically healthy as I have been all trip, but I guess it still comes in waves. I did my best to not take it out on Ryan and Erik and they did a great job of not over reacting to my shortness on things I normally wouldn’t be and my desire to be alone, but it’s not a fun place to be and it’s not a fair place to be. It was good to be back together and camp with them for the night. To get back to a routine I very much enjoy. Erik and Ryan have been close friends, best friends, for a long time and have been such great friends to me and have been the reason I can go on this adventure, a trip of a lifetime many would say. It’s tough when I think about what it would have been to have my best friend on this ride, but I know she is with me in spirit and I hope she is enjoying the ride.
Miss you Muppet