I’ve been stressing this decision a lot over the last state or so. We really don’t have much time left to bike before I’m due back in Ohio for my friend’s wedding and we still have a whole lot of hilly miles to go. On top of that, we are still in Shelby, MT with 40mph winds. Marissa and I are both feeling a bit down and at least I am starting to feel like the trip is losing it’s appeal. Maybe it’s the deadline that’s looming over us or maybe it’s the frigid and windy weather. I feel like going east to west might not have been the best move after all. It’s hard to say and I guess there’s no point in second guessing ourselves because we are here now and it’s time to move again.
With that in mind, I’ve decided that we would be better off booking a train from Shelby, MT to Spokane, WA and fast forwarding the trip by a bit. From Spokane, we can bike north again and meet up with the rest of the Adventure Cycling North Tier route right before it hits the Cascades. This will leave us all of the major climbs west of Glacier and hopefully still plenty of time to do them. Depending on when we get out, we’ll then have to decide whether or not we go to Seattle or Vancouver from there. Our end point on the Northern Tier is Anacortes, WA which is about halfway between the two. Maybe we’ll have to look at which flights are cheaper.
Needless to say, I’m really bummed that we have to do this. I so wanted to bike the entire country from coast to coast, especially the western side which I’m least familiar with. I guess we just didn’t bike fast enough or long enough each day. I’m not sure what the solution is to that for next time. Earlier starts and lighter bikes is probably the first start. We’ve gone through all of our bags and tried to cut them down to the bare essentials for this last leg now. We managed to cut out at least 5 pounds each with Marissa cutting much more than I was able to. I’ve got the computer and digital gear that weighs so much plus the cookware. She was carrying a lot of the personal items like suntan lotion, bug spray and a lot more clothes that are definitely not needed in the mountains. Hopefully this leaves the last 400 miles a bit more managable.
On the upside, at least this will leave me with a good reason to get back out here sooner than later. Plus, now I know that I can book an Amtrak train that could take me all the way from New York to Glacier and bike this last bit whenever I wish, haha. We would have had to skip Going-to-the-Sun road in Glacier anyway so I suppose skipping it all together is not that much more of a sacrifice. Most of the terrain after Glacier was heading downhill too so maybe that was the easy part too. I am worried because I think a lot of the intermediary hills we are skipping would have been a good warm up for these big climbs ahead. This might be New York State all over again.