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!|
|Over the pass and down towards Helena, 6 miles of 8% + 20 mph crosswinds = CRAZY!|