I had hard time leaving Missoula. First I really wanted to stay for another day and check out the town some more and secondly I had not yet finished my chores in town. I woke about eight and walked to the bike shop I had dropped my bike yesterday. Walked in the back door as the shop didn’t open till half past nine. One of the mechanics pulled apart and cleaned out my bottom bracket and gave the bike a look over to see if anything bad might be about to happen. He said my chain was starting to stretch out and in about five hundred miles or so I might want to replace it. I also purchased some more patches for all those flats I’ve been having. My man at the shop hooked me up with a tool for adjusting my brakes that kinda need to have on hand. After I settled the score I rode to a bakery and got a coffee and some breakfast then I was off to the house to load the bike up and head downtown. I thanked the owner of the house and told him how much I enjoyed the music of Amina Figarova and her band. Then I filled my water bottles and headed downtown. I road to Adventure Cycling Association and sorted out some map issues and had my picture put up on the wall. I was about the 15th cyclist to ride thru in 2012. The first guy came thru in February in the snow and most of the other in April and May. I met a guy named Lorenzo who has been on the road for 14 years. He’s pretty much cycled the world from what I can tell. He was heading up into Canada. I met him at adventure cycling and ran into him again at the post office and again on the road out of Missoula. Got off to my latest start yet after the postoffice and AVA I went by the library as well and then the grocery store for fresh fruit. I also had four or five conversations in Missoula , the people are so friendly there they just come up and start chatting. The loaded up bike is a good conversation starter, apparently.
I only planned on doing about thirty miles to a campground that was recommended and with the late start I thought it would be enough miles for the day. Out on the rode I was making good time and felt pretty good so I pushed it to about fifty and ended up in the town of Avando population about fifty and dogs about one hundred. I set up shop in the museums lawn and started reading the book I purchased in town yesterday. After a few minutes an old timer with a flannel shirt and rustlers with ropes for suspenders who was also wearing glasses with elastics wrapped around the head to make sure they stayed on came out and greater me. ( let me paint a picture of how small this town is. Two shops an inn,fire station,church, museum,post office and as many houses) This guy obviously didn’t get much company because he was sure glad to have mine. He asked if I needed water or food and I said I was ok and we were chatting about the beautiful mountains around and how long he’d been living in town and all the sudden I heard a noise. I look back to my tent and bike and see that the sprinkler system had gone off and my tent (that was open) and my bike (that had clothes on it) were getting soaked. I raced over and moved my bike and shut the tent, and got pretty wet in the process.
Skip, the old timer, came to my aid and blocked one of the sprinklers that was getting me from behind. And right after I changed my shirt the water turned off and went on a little further down and started getting my book wet on a bench I was seated at earlier. So I’ll be reading a wet book in a wet sleeping bag tonight. Skip and I talked (or had long awkward silences) for about an hour more and after he showed me his collection of bicycles and lots of other stuff in his yard, we said good night.