Continental Divide Trail - Page 3
I've pedaled over 500 miles in the last six days, and it's starting to catch up to me. I really
didn't want to crawl out of the tent this morning, but did. The ride was pretty up a hilly gravel
road. I stopped often to look at the pretty flat valley below. It was filled with hay fields and
the occasional farmhouse. I was really glad when the road started heading down 20 miles
into my ride.
After three miles of riding on a flat straight gravel road with a stiff headwind, I rolled into the
tiny town of Ovando. It had a café and not much else, but a café was what I needed. I had a
great sandwich and then headed to the park for a nice nap or a shady picnic table. I woke
up an hour later in the sun. I still didn't feel like riding, but headed out.
I pedaled ten more miles through beautiful treeless rolling hills. I passed a few houses
and cattle before entering the state forest where I stopped at the first campsite I saw. I
spent the afternoon washing myself and my gear in a little stream, and doing a little
maintenance on the bike. I only covered 35 miles today, but I need a break.
I know I complained about sign shooting yesterday, but I saw one today that needed shot. I
was in the middle of nowhere when I came upon a huge sign that explained how, in 1962,
the Larch trees in this area were thinned. They were thinned to a different degree in 10
separate plots to determine the optimal rate of Larch thinning that was necessary for
efficient Larch growing. I had to read it twice because I thought I missed the part that was
worth spending tax dollars to make a sign about, but that was it. Great! They thinned some
Larch trees in 1962.
It's only 6:00, but I didn't care. I'm going to bed. I haven't bothered to set up the tent, but I
don't care. The bugs aren't bad. I'll sleep outside. I don't have the energy to set up the tent
right now. I've been told by everyone I've seen and everyone back home when I checked my
phone messages, that there's a grizzly bear eating people in Yellowstone. I'm a long way
from Yellowstone, and don't smell very appetizing, so I should be all right.
|7.30.2010 - morning phone message
I'm in Lincoln, Montana and am doing
fine. It's very pretty here. The next
100 miles will be hard, with the terrain
going straight up and down. I don't
expect the reception to be any good,
so you may not hear from me for a
couple of days. My next main stop is
Basin, Montana. Saturday Kelly
leaves for North Carolina.
I woke up this morning feeling much better after my easy day. I started out with a long
climb, but it was pretty, because I could see the valley I had come from falling farther and
farther below me as I climbed the switch backs. I thought how I'd need an airplane for
views like that in Iowa. I finally topped the hill and had a nice downhill into the town of
Lincoln has a grocery store, restaurant, and gas station. It was also home to the
Unibomber. I bought too many groceries at the store because I went in there hungry, then
had lunch. Then I stopped at the gas station hoping I could buy a single roll of toilet paper.
They only had four packs, so I bought an ice cream cone and grabbed 30 or so napkins to
go with it.
It was another big climb out of Lincoln. My map warned it would be steep, but I found it
nice. Then, three miles from the top, it went straight up and it stayed that steep all the way
to the top. I thought I'd die before I got up there, and I almost did. Then it was a white
knuckled three miles down the other side.
I'd just started up my third big climb of the day when a guy at a house I was passing offered
me a Gatorade. I gladly accepted and set out on the long 10 mile slog to the top of my third
pass of the day. This one wasn't as steep as the last one, but I had to push the bike for a
pretty big chunk of it.
A thunderstorm was moving in quick when I topped the pass. I had to pull over at the first
flat spot I saw and pitch my tent. Unfortunately, I've been riding through range land all day
and there are cattle everywhere. There are cowpies everywhere, and I had to chase a few
cows away to set up my tent. I'm also out of water treatment tabs, so I'm drinking straight
out of cow poop infested streams. I've had to drink cow poop water quite a few times
before without getting sick, but I didn't like doing it.
Today was more up and down through fairly ugly country. Everywhere I looked there were
huge clearcuts, and most of the trees that were standing were dead or dying. I"m not sure
what's killing them all, but hope to ask someone soon. There were cattle cowpies and old
mines everywhere. Clearly, this area is dedicated only to making money.
Today's route would have sent me through Helena, but the map showed a steep and rocky
road that bypassed town. I don't like big cities, so I took it. I pushed the bike as much as I
pedaled it for the 12 mile detour. I finally climbed to the point where I rejoined the main
route and turned on to what the map referred to as a steep 4 wheel drive track. I would
have described it as a boulder strewn gully that went straight up. I pushed and cursed for
hours past at least 700 false summits before finally getting to the top. That's when it
started to rain. Not just a little sprinkle, but a deluge. The downhill was equally horrible
and steep, but now it was also muddy. The road leveled out enough to be ridable about the
time the rain stopped. I wasn't able to go much over 5 mph because the mud was so
slippery and kept sticking to my tires.
At last I hit pavement and rode into the run-down town of Basin. I stopped into the Leaning
Tower of Pizza restaurant where I was able to get a sub sandwich meal that filled me up for
seven bucks, so I like Basin. As I was leaving, someone asked if I had ridden from Helena.
I said no, actually I'd ridden in from Jasper, Canada, on my way to Mexico. Everyone was
quiet and looked at me like I'd farted, so I left.
I rode out of town on a frontage road paralleling I-15 towards Butte. I rode fast since rain
was on the way. I found a suitable campsite along a little creek a few minutes out of town
and crawled into the tent just as the rain started. I had cell reception, so I used the down
time to make a few calls. It only rained an hour and it's only 6:00, but I'm done for the day.
The "four wheel drive track" was enough for today. I tackle the Fleecer Ridge tomorrow, and
from what I've read, I don't even want to think about it right now.