Updated: Jun 25, 2022
Day 30 06/20/22
Woke up to a cold overcast morning which made it hard to want to get in the saddle. But once on the road we struck out for Darby looking to buy bear spray. Sure enough we found a fly fishing shop open on the edge of town and they had bear spray. You always want to be prepared just in case. While I was inside the shop Sarah got to talking with a guy outside who happened to be a fishing guide. He told her lots of stories about bear activity in the area. Just what you don't need to hear when you are camping in bear country. We got what we came for and moved on. As we rode into town we came around a corner and there was a guy standing on the sidewalk smoking a cigarette. We greeted each other and I immediately recognized him. We kept riding and Sarah suddenly said, "He's on the TV series Yellowstone." He plays the character of Commisioner of the reservation. Here we are in Montana and what are the chances we run into this guy?
Little did we know. By the time Sarah agreed to let me turn around he walked into the post office. Oh well, he missed out on getting a picture with us! A little farther down the road, we saw a baby deer that had just been born and was getting on it's feet for the first time. We didn't snap a photo because we didn't want to scare the mom off. It gets better. We ride another mile out of town and we come across the ranch where the series Yellowstone is being filmed. We did snap a photo (look closely) of that because you might begin to think we are spinning a yarn.
I did not get a cup of coffee this morning and I was waiting until we got to a place called Sula. We were told they had a cafe but when we got there it was closed. My metabolism laid a skid mark in the street. I wanted my coffee and it just wasn't right that these people took a day off. We hung out on the porch in some nice lounge chairs and ate trail mix and drank water as other people pulled up to the same dissappointment. With only a couple of miles to go, we headed to our campground called Indian Trees. The rest of the day was napping, snacking, talking with folks including Chris and Bob who are riding in the bubble with us. After dinner we hung all of our food and toiletries to be bear safe. Looking forward to riding through the Big Hole National Battlefield tomorrow.
Rode 43 miles today
Day 31 06/21/22
Last night was a cold one. It must have been somewhere in the low 30's. We did not get to take showers last night and our clothes never really dried out from the rain and sweat of the day before. It makes putting your clothes on really fun. Right out of the campground we had a seven mile climb to the summit and then began a nice descent through a burn area into the Big Hole Valley. The land stretches out as far as the eye can see. It is one of those places that cannot be explained adequately because the vastness and beauty are beyond imagination. We rode into the town of Wisdom hoping to get some lunch but it was Tuesday and all three businesses were closed except a bar and a grocery store. We were looking forward to getting enough food in our stomachs to feel full. We have both been feeling hungry for days on end so we decided to go to the little grocery store and get something, anything to fill us up. I got a Klondike bar, and a bag of Doritos. Sarah got a yogurt and a Starbucks Frappucinno and we split a bannana. Immediately, as we left the building, we were swarmed by mosquitos. It was unbelievable and on par with Alaska. We tried to eat our food but it was impossible. So we jumped on the bike and tried to outrun them. They kept up with us. We stopped again about 10 miles down the road and once again they were on us. I hate mosquitos! We had a few bites, so did the mosquitos, and kept going until we pulled into Jackson where we stayed at the Hotel and Bunkhouse. Jackson is basically a one pony outpost. It is hard to believe that we still have places as remote as this in the U.S. The hotel was built in the late 1800's and houses the weary traveller.
Sarah and I slept upstairs in the bunkhouse with three other men. She is a trooper. Chris and Bob slept outside in their tent but we all had showers and great conversations out on the porch with the owner Rick. Rick can tell stories all night and he told a story of a guy who blew up the outside sink because he left his jet boil (camp stove) in it unattended. He called him the Flaming Dutchman. It just so happens that when we stayed in the hostel in Mitchell, he was there with us. To hear Rick tell the story had us in stitches.
Rick sold us some Lean Cuisine type dinners because the diner in town wasn't open; of course, it was Tuesday. The dinners left us hungry. Some Canadians just happened to pull up on motorcycles and one of them had what looked like a pizza. I jokingly asked him if he wanted to share it. Sure enough it was left over from their dinner and he offered it to us and we gobbled it down. It was amazing and it hit the spot. Off to bed with a room full of snoring men.
Rode 53 miles today
Day 32 06/22/22
Got up at 5:30am to beat the rush to get out of the Hotel before all the guys woke up. It was 32 degrees out so we both put on extra layers. As we rode out of town we were struck by the vast expanses all around us. With two passes before us we had to ride 48 miles before the next town. The passes were not the hardest but they did present some incredible downhills. We made a few stops to eat and take in all the sights and sounds of the cattle lowing and birds singing. The best thing was the fact that we had clear skies and finally a tail wind. Weeks and weeks of headwinds gets tiresome so it was nice to have something working in our favor. We arrived in Dillon a little after lunchtime and ate some food at a local restuarant. Sarah and I did not feel we were done for the day and we pushed on another 28 miles to the town of Twin Bridges. We arrived around 3:00pm to the Bill White Bike Camp. The three guys from last night, Jake, Andy and Brandon had also just arrived. This place has an indoor seating area, shower, bathroom, outdoor washbasin and outdoor seating area with a BBQ. It is run by the city on a donation basis just for bicyclists. Sarah and I pitched our tent, took showers and washed out some clothes. Then we headed into town and got mouth watering malts and a bag of pretzels. For dinner we added some broccoli to our Ramen to enhance the pallete. The evening was spent chatting and laughing with the guys.
We road 76 miles today
Day 33 06/23/22
The morning started off with sunshine which was a huge welcome. But neither of us slept well. Sarah said I snored like a buzzsaw and I was kept awake by a beaver who thought it was a good idea to spash in the river all night. Plus there was a coffee shop in town and I was fixated on getting an early morning dose, which we did. All day was a gradual 30 mile uphill with continual headwinds and an 8% grade at mile 31 that went on for four miles. We stopped to look at Robbers Roost which was where a roadhouse was built for travellers going East and West in the 1800's. It has been restored to it's original detail and is quite a thing to see. Apparently robbers would size up the patrons as to the value of their affects and when they rode out of town they were targets to be preyed upon. We rode through Nevada city where they have moved many old dwellings from around Montana to create a replica of an old west frontier town. Three miles up the road is Virginia city which was a boom town for the gold rush in Montana. We ate an amazing lunch comprised of maple bars and an incredible monte cristo sandwich. The sandwich was more like a dessert which came with homemade jam that we slathered on. As we were waiting for our food Andy, Jake and Brandon rolled in. We chatted for a while and then came the wrecking ball. On a full stomach we hit the four mile, 8% grade and we just didn't have the juice in us so we walked most of the way. When we got to the top we were too tired to enjoy the descent. The town of Ennis is where we camped for the night but not before we got chocolate malts in town. Today was a very tiring day. Plan to be in Yellowstone on Saturday.
Rode 45 miles today