I really had no idea what to expect weather-wise on this trip. Looking at forecasts for the areas we'd be in was marginally helpful, as things can change quickly. So I packed all the same clothes as for last year's trip, with many options for layering as fall weather approached. I worry more about being cold than getting too hot.
While the first two days may not be a true barometer for the trip, we are certainly off to a warm start. Despite the cool nights, each day has been cloudless from morning 'til night. With the sun beating down all day long it feels positively like summer. In fact, more like summer than we had in the past three months in Duluth!
Today's ride took us up and over a small mountain pass, which gave us plenty of hill work. Perhaps that's why it felt so warm – we were cycling hard! Once up on top the land plateaued and we rode through a very dry valley, dominated by grazing lands and barren ones at that. It felt like the wild, wild west even if we didn't see the promised bighorn sheep.
Rainbow Lake was a welcome sight up there in the hills, and was the precursor to a five mile downhill into Plains – our destination for the night. It was a whole lot hotter at the foot of the hills, registering 88 degrees at 6pm! Perhaps it was just as well we spent most of the day in the higher altitudes.
Our motel for the night, the Dew Duck Inn, claims to be the “Best little Motel in Montana” and I don't think it's overrated. Erich, the proprietor, gave us a verbal tour of the town with everything we could possibly want to know, and then some. And he provided great routing and restaurant suggestions for tomorrow. From the looks of it, he's has quite a green thumb which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Tomorrow's forecast promises more of the same. We're planning an early start to beat the heat. I can't believe I'm saying that in September in an area that is as far north as Duluth. I'd never have guessed that we'd be back in summer again. But I'm not complaining.