Day 11 Lincoln, MT to Helena, MT

Posted by cgiblin2 on July 4, 2011 in Day 11 |

Day 11 Lincoln, MT to Helena, MT
Riding time today: 4:40
Riding time total: 67:49
Distance today: 60.42 mi
Distance total: 822.59 mi
Average speed: 13.0 mph
Top speed: 34.1 mph
Average cadence: 69 rpm
Max cadence: 201 rpm
Calories burned: 3,340

Even though it’s Summer and the temperatures are in the 90s, Montana does get pretty cold during the night. It was so cold last night that my sleeping bag and my layers of clothes weren’t cutting it. Around 1:00 am, I took my sleeping bag along with some of my valuable items into the shower house and slept in a chair. It was much warmer in there and I was actually able to get some sleep. Once dawn approached, I felt it would be warm enough to head back to the bench I was sleeping on and get a few more hours of sleep. I honestly didn’t want to be found sleeping in the shower house like some sort of transient. I am a little too modest for that.

After waking up and getting the bike ready, I wanted to talk to one of the locals in Lincoln to see if Fletcher Pass (Hwy 279) was paved the entire way. From my map, it appeared to be another one of those gravel frontage roads. I went back to The Three Bears Motel (I went there yesterday, but they were fully booked) and asked the owner’s opinion on that route. She was super friendly, took out her map and then quickly recalled driving that route a few times before. She said it was indeed paved the entire way and that the road traffic would be low. That was terrific news. Now, I wouldn’t have to backtrack and go through Avon. The only downside to that route would be having to climb 2,000 feet over Fletcher Pass. No biggie, this way going to be a light 60 mile day, so I could handle that.


Riding on the 279 was surprisingly pleasant. The pavement quality was very good, it had a small shoulder, and traffic was light. I made my way up the pass and had a blast bombing the hills. There were some wind gusts, so I kept my speed under 35 mph.

I eventually reached the small town of Canyon Creek and decided to stop at the general store to pick up a cool bottle of Powerade. A little ways down the road, there were around 15 sport bikes (motorcycles) parked. On the general store’s patio, the riders were hanging out. After purchasing my drink and walking back outside, some of the riders asked me a few questions about where I had come from,where I was headed, and et cetera. It turns out they were all from Great Falls and were having some fun on the twisties of Hwy 279. Aside from being super friendly, they were also very knowledgeable about all of the various roads and highways in Montana.


I mentioned that I was coming off of the 200 due to how desolate it was and switching back onto the 12. They said that while the 12 does have more towns, many of them are still very small and wouldn’t have accommodations. Their recommendation was to take Hwy 287 to I90 and then to I94. That was going to be the best option by far in terms of coming across towns every 50 to 100 miles. Thanks for getting me back on track guys!


I arrived in Helena in 100 degree weather and was ready for an air conditioned room. Luckily, I had a good selection of inexpensive motels to choose from. I shopped around a little bit to compare rates, and the Howard Johnson had the best deal. It was $50 and that included a hot breakfast. Not too bad of a deal.


Tomorrow, my goal is to make it to Bozeman, which is just under 100 miles from here.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:11th Ave,Helena,United States

4 Comments

  • Bill Bettis says:

    Hello Chris,

    What an intriguing trip you are taking. Especially with the technology available today. Pictures, video and the written word. I knew you were going to make this trip but didi not when until I talked to Marlene yesterday. I have read all your blogs from previoous days and sound just great. Does your trip include passing through Chicago or near by. You need to pass through unless you take a ferry from Manitowoc or Milwaukee to Michigan. the Intestate system I 80 is good but very congested for a cyclist.but once you get past Gary it opens up. I would suggest you take either the ferry or a highway just south of I 80.

    You are more than welcome to use oour home as a pit stop. You can’t beat the price, free, and it comes with breakfast plus you get too see your uncle and aunt plus your 1st cousins. Let me know if ths fits in your plans.

    Uncle Bill

    • cgiblin2 says:

      Hi Uncle Bill,

      It’s nice to hear from you! So far, I am thinking of riding either on I90 or parallel go I90. I believe it runs through Lacrosse and then Milwaukee. After Milwaukee, I was thinking of taking the ferry to Michigan and then ride into Canada and come back out in New York State.

      Thanks for your offer of letting me stay with you! I don’t know if I will be that far south. However, it would be great to see you all. I’ll see how the time goes, maybe I could swing down there.

      Thanks again!

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