Day 7: Condon – Big Fork

Today was a very easy day. I was feeling good, too, possibly due to the fantastic breakfast at the B&B.

I headed north up the highway to cold creek rd so that I wouldn’t have to backtrack 7 miles down the highway. I crossed the Swan river.
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I then noticed that my inReach was complaining about low battery. Poop, I had just passed a grocery store about a mile back up the highway. I but the bullet and went back. Unfortunately they did not have lithium batteries so I had to buy regular alkaline. The lithium lasted for 5 days ; the alkaline didn’t even last 1!

Today’s ride was on easy dirt road on the west side of the Swan river. There were lots of trees on either side of the road so no views. It got rather monotonous.

BTW, when there’s a sign that says road closed ahead you’d better believe it! Apparently they decided to put in a new bridge over this creek.
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To get an idea of how high that bank is, notice the man standing on the other side! I decided to bushwhack upstream a few yards to where the bank was more manageable.
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Lots of nice creeks to get water from again today.
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In the only real climb of the day, Crane Mountain, I unexpectedly caught up with John. He started that morning at Peck Lake, where he had wild camped the night before. That was a few miles further up the route than where I got on. We were both impressed that I had caught him – after all, he’s got 20 years on me and he’s much stronger. Must have been my fantastic breakfast.

We were both going to Bigfork, which is slightly off the route, for different reasons. I wanted to see if I could contact some folks I know who live there and John needed to visit the bike shop. A couple of days ago, John was extolling the virtues of rim brakes for touring in that they don’t overheat like discs can. Of course, he admitted, they do wear down your rims eventually. Sure enough, within 24 hours of making that comment, his rear brake started making a thumping noise and it turned out that his rim was splitting! The guys in the shop couldn’t help him because they don’t stock rim brake compatible rims. Everybody uses disc brakes nowadays.

The ride into Bigfork is on a bike path along the Swan river. That’s one big river!
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We had dinner at Grille 459 and I had their eponymously-named 459 burger. This was a cardiac bomb consisting of a bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg and a slice of ham on top! It was absurd ; even for a hungry biker it was almost too much.

After dinner I went in search of a hotel but it was Saturday night in Bigfork and everything for under $200 was sold out. So I ended up camping at Wayfarer State Park which was quite nice actually. The campground was full but they have one site saved for cyclists to share. John refused to stay there on principle because they charge per person for the shared site and it would have cost more for the two of us (15@) than a single regular site would have cost. I thought he was nuts.

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