Day 8: Seeley Lake to Lincoln (62 miles)
Given that our route would take us east, directly toward the forest fires, we had to plan a detour to start our day.
The wind had changed over night, and smoke had settled in over the lake; we began our day riding through a smoky haze.
When we reached route 83 we turned south, off-route, and rode along the highway before climbing left onto a dirt road that a ranger had told us would cut the corner between highway 83 and highway 200—and with bikes set-up for dirt roads, we hoped to avoid pavement and cars as much as possible.
This road took us up into beautiful pasture land, despite having to adjust our route further upon meeting a sheriff who informed us that road closures had been expanded as the fires grew, we were able to cut out many miles of highway riding.
Eventually, we did arrive at highway 200, but thanks to a stiff tail wind when we turned east onto the highway, we were back to the official route in Ovando in no time.
Of course, we could only ride on the official route for a few miles before we detoured onto dirt roads south of highway 200—forest fires northwest of Lincoln had closed the official route north of the highway.
We reached a paved road again, just south of Coughlin, and rode north to highway 200, which we followed, assisted by the same tail wind, the last 16 miles to Lincoln.
After checking into camping at a local park, which happened to be packed with softball players in town for a weekend tournament, we decided on a quieter campground/RV park along a small stream.