Day 14: Kooky Koocanusa

Montana, there’s a lot of it to love. Riding along Lake Koocanusa all day today. It was formed by a dam on the Kootenay River and goes from Canada all the way to the USA. Get it? Koo-Can-USA? Is this one of those things that’s so dumb it comes all the way around to being clever again?

So many pick up trucks on the road towing RVs and RVs towing pick up trucks and everything in between.

The air has a pine fresh scent with a top note of diesel and wildfire smoke. That junk they sell for cleaning toilet bowls? Not even close.

I have my first flat tire today. I come out of the grocery store and a man in a beat up sedan has parked within inches of the bike. I deliberately picked a spot in the sun away from other cars so this is a bit of an annoyance. He is sitting on the hood of his car repairing what appears to be an IED with a large homemade knife. He says it’s a Bluetooth speaker that he made himself. We chat about the bike and say our goodbyes. As I ride away something is wrong with the rear wheel. Sure enough it has gone totally flat and the tire is completely unseated from the rim.

I have to unload the bike and detach the trailer to do the repair. It’s a messy job and I have chain grease on my pants and on my hands. As I look for the leak, I start to suspect that I’m going to find a hole made by a knife in this tire. It seemed like the tire was fine when I went into the store and now it’s suddenly completely flat?

Moments later, I find a tiny piece of wire has poked through the puncture resistant Schwalbe Marathon Plus lining. It’s been my experience that this is a frequent cause of punctures. I believe the wire comes from a shredded steel belted radial by the side of the road. I’m embarrassed for thinking such dark thoughts.

Tomorrow, it’s off to Whitefish.

2 Replies to “Day 14: Kooky Koocanusa”

  1. It was pleasant surprise to find your travelogues in my inbox this morning – thanks for forwarding them to me (I hadn’t checked your Instagram). On a trip in ’99, from Montreal to Ventura CA, in almost 5,000km on a tandem bike we had 1 puncture every 1,000km or so (one from a goat’s head seed after camping wild near Teec Nos Pos, Arizona) and saw only one other touring cyclist the whole trip! The weather was generally favourable, this from mid September to mid December. I’m really enjoying your journey and hearing how the bike is performing. The best of luck, and Godspeed You!

    Liked by 1 person

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