Tuesday, June 21, 2016

60: Zoom, zoom

Do you remember that commercial for some car company where the little boy looks right at the camera and goes, "zoom, zoom" in this quiet voice?  That image comes to my mind every time someone passes us up here.  One thing about the Montanans:  they go FAST!  Probably too fast, but there are vast distances to cover, and so they are speeding along these roads like crazy.

The American Legion has placed little white crosses all over the road wherever there was a traffic fatality. Some days, we pass dozens of these crosses. There are also billboards and those lit-up signs with pleas to slow down. When we entered the state, I saw one that said there had been 68 traffic fatalities in Montana this year. Today I saw one that said 75. So in the space of 10 days - another seven deaths. I don't know how the American Legion keeps up.

We started early to beat the heat, but some great clouds kept things cool.  I've  learned to appreciate the clouds, particularly when they are giving you shade. As in all things, the clouds in Montana are BIG, and spectacular.
  Clouds today, but no rain!

We had a breakfast break in Ovanda, which is on the Tour Divide route, and were delighted to see that Dave Reeck, the participant in the Tour Divide that we met in Whitefish, was in the cafe having breakfast. I had wondered if we would run into any participants when we found we were crossing the route again this morning. He's pretty seriously contemplating taking the train home to Seattle from Helena, and that's okay. We enjoyed visiting as well with Lisa and Brett, who are cycle tourists now finishing the third leg of their trip across the country. They did it in three stages, which is probably a lot saner than what we are doing!
Dave, Brett and Lisa

Each day we meet cyclists on the road. We appear to have found the "silk road" of adventure touring. A cute young fellow from Canada stopped by our campsite for a while yesterday - he is just five days from home and looking forward to meeting his girlfriend on the Canadian border.  Another pair were headed off into the woods, taking roads far less traveled than Roger and I are willing to chance.

Filling jugs with mountain water

Our ride today had a climb over McDonald Pass, at 6325 perhaps the lowest crossing of the Continental Divide that we have made. But the climb began in earnest at mile 60 or so of our day, so it was no picnic. One treat was a lovely spring pouring fresh water out of the mountain just about a mile or so from the summit. We filled our water bottles with wonderful water and journeyed on. One guy we met there had brought his father up to fill half a dozen big jugs with the mountain water.
At 12 mph, tailwind pushing kerchief forward!

Lest you think we only ever complain about the wind, let me say that we had a ferocious tailwind for most of the day. Roger and I commented at lunch that we'd probably never had made it today if we were fighting that wind. We figure it was easily 20 mph at times. What a treat! At times on the climb, I could actually feel it push the bike forward!

We have several long days ahead of us. Days are long, but we have some Warm Showers hosts to help out.  Airica, our host today, has made us welcome even as she prepares for her own trip away. It's such a great community.

Yeah, I'm looking at YOU!
By the way, this deer was something else. We startled her along the roadside, and she bound along a while and then jumped the fence. Then she stood behind that post, like "if I can't see you, you can't see me." As we rolled along, she moved around to the side of the post so that she could get a good look at us. I imagine she was trying to figure out what form of beast we were!

Over the pass and down towards Helena, 6 miles of 8% + 20 mph crosswinds = CRAZY!
The day's report:  Nowhere to Helena, 83 miles/2866 to date


  1. With a tailwind you should get a spinnaker!

    1. Don't you know it. I was trying to figure out how I could rig up my jacket to catch the wind. Tomorrow, headwinds are predicted. Do you think it's possible to tack on a bicycle?


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