Day 10: Whitefish to Columbia Falls (15 miles)

Today is a nice day, sunny and mid-80’s. Still had my sights set on visiting the bike shop in Kalispell but really didn’t want to stay one more night at the Montana bike Hostel. Ironically enough I was the ONLY biker staying there. The only indoor lodging was being used by three older women in town for a “healing touch conference”. Which was all I needed to know to ‘keep to myself’. There were two other women from Sault Ste. Marie, MI (Yoopers) also in for an education conference (safe to talk to) that were staying in a tent.

The end all of this so, called ‘bike hostel’, is when the night before a cab pulls up and dropped off a young lady wearing heels with short shorts and everything pushed up and out. The host came out and show her to a tent and I’m amused by the parade, watching this young woman pull her bag through the grass with those heels on.

This morning, after having my breakfast, I’m packing my tent and the young gal is walking around the yard with those damn heels on while reading her phone. Watching how she is walking, ask her a question but preface it with ‘I work in Physical Therapy’. “Do you have back pain?” I really didn’t have to ask as I knew what the answer was going to be. She replied with a “yes” but look on her face said; “how the F*** do you know that?” I told her she needed to ditch the heels.

With a desperate need to get out of the Montana ‘non-bike’ hostel I look at the map notes and see there is a place for bikers to stay south of Columbia Falls. This move will put me closer to Kalispell to hit the bike shop tomorrow (Monday). There is a phone number listed and I gave them a call when Tom answers the phone I explain who I am and what I’m doing. He tells me there is room to camp in his yard. I get directions to his place but find that I really didn’t need to because he’s right on the Divide route and has a sign at the road welcoming cyclist.


After pedaling to Columbia falls to have lunch at Subway I head out to my next night stay. Moving to stay there turns out to be is one of the best decisions I’ve made since I started this route. Tom and Pat Arnone are the nicest people. I pitched my tent in their front yard next to the picnic table and spent several hours talking with them that evening, treating me as if I’m the only biker they ever see, even though they get about 20 a year staying with them. The weather was great and so was the company of my host. Pat was really interested in the fact that I work in PT. She had all kinds of questions and I was more than willing to answer them.

Tom let me use his shop and tools to do some light maintenance on my bike. Stripped everything off my bike and washed off all the mud that had accumulated since leaving Banff. After making a couple of adjustments to the brakes and derailers I took the bike for a short test ride and all felt good enough for at least a few hundred more miles.

Bike completely stripped of gear for a cleaning and tune up at Tom and Pat's

Bike completely stripped of gear for a cleaning and tune up at Tom and Pat’s


Tom and Pat Arnone.

Tom and Pat Arnone.

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