Day 24/25: Powell, Idaho to Lolo, Montana

Mr. Moose goes for a dip.

Another state, another timezone. I’m finally in the Mountain Time Zone, only two hours from my timezone in Florida. Only 11 miles to Missoula, Montana.

Upon leaving Powell, Idaho I encountered numerous deer. Then I spied this male moose off to my right. The photo doesn’t do it justice, he was much closer than it appears. He kept looking up at me on the road and then decided to wade out into the pond.

He had a ball. He kept splashing his head in the water and making big waves and then would just watch them. Every so often he would look up to make certain of my whereabouts and then do more splashing. He was fun to watch and I spent about twenty minutes there. He was like a big kid with his own kiddie pool.

Today I was facing a climb over Lolo Pass, 5235 feet (1595 m), which would bring me into Montana. I was anxious to see a new state, one I had not been to before.

The climb was a few thousand feet, but the road was gradual enough that it wasn’t a killer and I was feeling good at the pass. Idaho has a visitor center there and I filled up my water bottles and rested for a bit. I tried to call Jane using Skype, but, as usual, the WiFi was powered by potato (see previous comments in another post) and we were only getting about every third word of the conversation.

Just beyond the center was the sign for Montana. I ran into David there, he is a retired police officer following the path of a book he read recently about an attempted murder case. The book, A Strange Piece of Paradise, is about two women cyclists that rode cross country and were attacked in Oregon. A man ran over their tent with his pickup truck and then proceeded to attack them with an ax. Amazingly, they both lived.


David was riding an Indian motorcycle. It was an impressive machine and it was nice talking to him. We parted ways and I was in Montana.

They have finally named a creek after me, how nice.
The cows always view me with suspicion.

In late afternoon, I arrived in Lola, Montana. I tried to hook up with someone from the, but it was late in the day and I gave up. I had a quick meal in Lolo and then pedaled back to a campground that I had passed earlier, 2.5 miles (4 km) out of town. The campground, Square Dance Center and Campground was full. It was getting dark and even though they had a dance in full swing, the owner took me out to show me where I could put a tent and find a shower. I’m forever grateful. Additionally, the campground has the best WiFi service I’ve seen since leaving the Pacific Coast! Kudos.

As I was signing in they offered for me to join in the dance. There were at least a hundred people dancing and they have never seen me dance. It would have been like rolling a giant bowling ball into the middle of them. It would have been chaos. I can’t dance a step, just ask Jane.

The campground is very nice and I felt quite at home with everyone I met. I liked it so much, I decided to spend the next day there before heading off to Missoula, Montana.

Author: Dennis Blanchard

Dennis Blanchard was born in Bristol, Connecticut. He and his wife Jane moved to New Hampshire in 1980 where he has climbed thirty 4000-foot mountains, biked the trails and enjoyed the wilderness. Never living very far from the Appalachian Trail, Dennis was always aware of the seductive siren’s call to hike it. Dennis is an electronics engineer who has freelanced for amateur radio, technical and motorcycle adventure magazines. He now lives in Sarasota, Florida.

12 thoughts on “Day 24/25: Powell, Idaho to Lolo, Montana”

  1. Sounds like you are having more fun now … the early posts sounded like it was so hot and difficult, there wasn’t much fun in it. Glad you are enjoying yourself!

      1. Great to work you earlier tonite Sat. QSB was terrible but I hope you did copy some. Ride safe and will be on the lookout from North Central Massachusetts for you.
        de W1PFZ.

  2. alamande left and a do see do
    swing your partner and away you go
    a little square dance slang
    glad to hear you’re in montana !!!

  3. Hi Dennis! Hopefully the third time’s a charm cuz that’s how many tries it’s taken me to get this post right hihi. It was great working you last night on 7.071mhz PSK31. I’ve been looking and was lucky enough to cross paths with you last night [Saturday] at last. QSB was just awful and I hope you were copying more than I was, but I knew you were in there nonetheless. Will be looking more for you from North Central Massachusetts. Ride safe! Dance like nobody’s watching!

    de W1PFZ/Jack Ashburnham… just down the road from your friend

    1. You get the award for my best DX on this ride so far Jack. For those that are not hams, “DX” means “distance” in ham jargon, and Jack is the furthest station I have communicated with so far. Conditions were awful and I was located in a deep valley between some very tall mountains with a slight slot to the east. I’m surprised you heard me at all. Good work.

      1. 20 watts [PSK] into a wire 35′ up will do it most times! whatta trip!
        de W1PFZ/Jack Ashburnham, MA … -.-

  4. Mr. Moose. I love that you were able to witness such an enjoyable scene. I’m envious. I’m 62 years old and have spent at least 90% of that time in NH and I’ve yet to see one in the wild. I keep teasing family and friends that they don’t really exist – it’s just a fantasy to attract tourists and that I stand a better chance of encountering a unicorn!


  5. Yes, there are moose out there Paul. They tend to be a little larger here in the west than ours, but they are certainly out there. If you recall in my book, Three Hundred Zeroes I had a fun encounter with one in Maine. Actually, several.

    Last year I had another interesting encounter with a cow and her calf. That can be a dangerous situation. Mom moose can be lethal with her front hooves and they kill more people than bears, a little known fact.

    Seeing Bullwinkle is always a thrill, but I haven’t seen Rocky lately.

  6. Finally got to check out your blog! Got PSK31 working and will start listening for you. The Newburyport group is pulling for you, keep up the good work!
    Al KN1O

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