Day One: Getting there
I'm a little disappointed in myself for doubting my own strength as a cyclist. We got over the set of hills just as easily as when I ride with no gear. Coming into Lolo, I wondered if I'd see any other loaded touring cyclists on the road, and, as if in magical response, a voice from behind me said 'hello'. A young man was traveling the TransAm headed toward Seattle. We stopped in Lolo and chatted with him for a few minutes. Of course, as we chatted, a motorist stopped by to talk about bicycle touring with us, as he had done the TransAm a few years ago. There's something about this crazy thing called bicycle touring that we do that seems to fascinate people and draw them to us.
As we left Lolo, with the temperature cooled off a bit, I decided to let Astro burn off some energy and hooked him up to the side of my bike via the Springer. He ran full force (giving me a break and pulling us all) for about two miles, then slowed down and we worked together for another 3. After a break to rehydrate the pup, I offered him the opportunity to ride in the trailer some more, which he eagerly accepted.
Even though I had friends meeting me at the campsite with food, etc., we still wanted to simulate being out on our own. So in Florence I stopped into an IGA and bought supplies to make dinner. Then a few miles later we hit the steep incline Bass Creek Road, which is a tough two-mile climb--and I'm fully-loaded, to the campsite. So I let Astro out of the trailer and said "Let's hook up!" Astro immediately stood next to the Springer hook-up, and together we pulled our rig up the hill.