Walla Walla, WA to Missoula, MT
Approx. 340 miles
This was one of my favorite days of the tour and remains a highlight. After leaving Walla Walla we rode into Idaho which was absolutely gorgeous! We took a quick trip up to Lewiston overlook which was amazing, but the road up was covered in tar snakes. I had never ridden on these before, although I have heard horror stories. At one point I thought something was wrong with my tires, I was sliding so much. Very unnerving and I was glad when that part of the day was over!
Further into Idaho we took a quick rest stop along the highway near this field of yellow flowers and it lifted everyone’s spirits. Our morning had already seen some amazing riding through sweeping curves and this rest stop was a photo highlight of the day!
Later in the day we took a lunch break in a lovely riverside restaurant and four of us chose a short lunch and to head out on our own. We knew that Lolo pass was ahead and we were looking forward to arriving in Missoula a bit early to begin our rest day. I had heard all kinds of stories about Lolo and was grateful one of my tour mates explained these were not hairpin turns but long, sweeping curves. That put my mind at ease as I was still learning to find my comfort zone on curves. Seeing the sign that “warned” of 99 miles of curves ahead filled me with anticipation and Lolo did not disappoint! While I did not know it at the time, this day also created a bond between the four of us who had decided to ride together and take shorter breaks in favor of arriving early.
As we descended from the summit of Lolo Pass, I had a heart full of gratitude for this experience and how my riding skills had already improved. I am still thanking my lucky stars for bringing these three tour mates into my life with their incredible wisdom and support for each other. It became common place for us to check in with each other over the riding day and to remind each other to slow down at the end of the day and be kind to ourselves. We all felt the miles at the last gas stop of the day, knowing the hotel was now very near and we wanted to take extra care to arrive safely.