Thursday, June 30, 2016

69: Where the Deere, but no antelope, play

Well, after a day in the car with our friends, and a day largely spent in the hotel room, we are back on the road again and I was actually glad to get out and get going. Having spent some time working on our route and potential stops, I can see the path to my niece's home in Minneapolis and I'm itching to get there.

No deer, just Deere around here
But first - we must conclude our trip across South Dakota. Today was pretty much a slog. It could have been fantastic - we are told that winds usually blow west-to-east here - but instead we faced a stiff headwind for the entire 75 miles. Almost no climbing, either. Based on the preliminary work we have done on our planned routes, we don't face anything that could remotely be called "climbing" at least through Minnesota. Of course, there is always climbing. Even when the road looks perfectly flat you are usually tilting up or down slightly. But no more mountain passes for a while!
Amber waves of grain, baby!

South Dakota's landscape is pretty featureless. Right and left, as far as we could see was just acres and acres of various crops. Corn, wheat (winter and spring crops), soybeans, millet, milo, sunflowers (for oil) and some chickpeas and lentils. Mostly corn and wheat. Boy, is there ever a lot of wheat!  The winter wheat is about ready for harvest, so we see the huge combines moving about in the fields or rolling down the road. One passed us today, big "wings" folded up as it rolled by on those huge tall tires. That was a first!
These fields are producing the mainstays of the modern American diet: corn, wheat, soybeans. It was a bit depressing to see so much of it. But as always, interesting to observe the farming methods. They do not clear the stubble from the corn or sunflowers - just plant in it, and keep on going.


We stopped for our second breakfast about 15 miles in and I was amazed to find breakfast (2 eggs, bacon, toast) for $4.19.  I thought Montana had some great deals on breakfast, but this one beats all! Further on down the road, we had a nice visit with a family that runs an auto repair shop where we stopped for a soda. Norm and Kathy's son and his family had done a cross-country bike ride a few years ago (on tandem) so they were familiar with the concept and interested in our trip.
Norm and Kathy and their grandkids and friend, Vickie

And then, when we got to our destination and the campground that we had so carefully scouted out yesterday, we found that there really is no provision for tent camping. The only water is in the middle of the picnic area, and the bathrooms are a vast distance away from that. So we circled back to the Dew Drop Inn, where we got a room for $53 (including tax). I have always wanted to stay at a Dew Drop Inn! In another little "small world" incident, the inn manager is from Bloomington, just down the road from our home in Redlands. I think maybe she gave us the homie discount.
Very sweet, and a great price!

We will be heading east again tomorrow, into the wind again, and that's no fun. But it gets us one day closer to Minneapolis.

The day's report: Pierre to Miller, 75.5 miles/3278 to date

68: Not so restful day

When we take a day off the bike, perhaps you are imagining that we are relaxing poolside somewhere, sipping a drink with a cute little umbrella in it. What is more likely the case is that we are:
 - doing laundry
 - dealing with bike issues
 - catching up on the blog
 - trying to map out the next week or so of our tour
 - looking for accommodations, food and aid stops along the route.

This particular rest day was no different. Roger went off in search of a car wash where he could clean the bike. I stayed at the hotel doing the laundry and catching up on photos and blog posts. I started trying to "connect the dots" for the next leg of our trip - we are here, we want to get there - and then got sucked into researching routes, potential lodging, Warm Showers host sites, etc.

One of the towns we hoped to stay at (it was at the right distance) had three options: The Ringneck Lodge, Pheasant Hotel, and Recoil Lodge.  When do you suppose their busy season occurs? Turns out these places were all 5 miles off route - which turns into 10 extra miles in what were already going to be longish days.  So scratch that town.

And that's sort of what you do. When you are not using one of the established routes (like the ones that Adventure Cycling publishes), you have to do this research yourself. It's hard to imagine how it worked back before we all had smart phones, Internet searches and RidewithGPS to help.

By the way, we walked down the street to AAA to return a big old heavy camping guide that we had taken for reference but were not going to bring with us. All the ladies in the office were RAGBRAI veterans! So I guess we are getting close enough to that sphere of influence to be running into fans of the annual ride across Iowa. We do not have any plans to cross Iowa on our trip, so I guess we will just have to wave as we pass by!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

67: Badlands and beyond

We had such a great day riding that scenic loop on Monday that we decided not to mess it up with anything less of a ride on Tuesday. Plus, we were expecting rain again, and none of us was eager to ride on the twisty roads in the rain another day.
Gary, Joanne and us

So we visited the Mt Rushmore Memorial, and then we headed to the Badlands. These are national parks that many visitors do in a day, as we did. But again - on a bicycle, we would have had several very rough days to reach the Badlands. And you really don't want to ride through there on a hot summer day!
Wall Drugs

On the way to the park, we went through Wall, and so of course we had to stop at Wall Drug Store. Other than the fact that it now measures a full city block, and must have more tchotckes in it than all of China, it's basically just a manifestation of American marketing - if you advertise it, they will come.

Badlands is spectacular, and a ride through in a car satisfied me.  Did not want to be climbing those hills in the heat, with no source of water.
Badlands National Park

Then on to Pierre (pronounced "peer") where our friends will leave us - about 500 miles further down the road than before.  We'll take it!

66: You must do this ride!

The next stop on our Excellent Adventure took us to Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where the Gobles had secured a campsite at the lovely Sylvan Lake.

Heading for the campsite
Along the way there, we drove past some great forests and pined at the descents we were missing - but did not regret the many, many miles of not-so-interesting scrub and shapeless land that we were passing at high speed. I did make note how very little I observed about the landscape we were passing. At 60 mph, you just don't see, hear or smell what you're passing like you do when you travel by bike. BUT - we were again very pleased to have the chance to visit this gem that we wanted to see, without the struggle to get there we had anticipated.

We had a walk-in campsite, so we got things out of the car, carried them up the hill, and put up one of the tents. Our stuff went into it until later, as we had decided that we had enough time to ride one of the loops that Joanne had found on line.

This turned out to be the cycling highlight of our trip to date! The Needles Highway, connecting to the Iron Highway, is the single most scenic and jaw-droppingly amazing road I have ridden.
Needles Highway
 It winds through the rock spires and pinnacles near the campground, then descends through forests and through tunnels carved in the rock.
Gary and Joanne en route
One lane tunnel
 Many are aligned so that you see Mt. Rushmore as you come through the tunnel, framed by the (carefully trimmed) trees. There are several bridges that wind around over on top of each other, like corkscrews.
One of the corkscrew sections

It's absolutely an engineering marvel, and a delight.
You can just see the road cutting though there

It was hard, too - 4500' of climbing in 42 miles. Some very steep bits - up to 11 and 12% many places. And we had showers off and on for most of the ride. But hey - otherwise we would have been sitting in our tents, trying to stay dry. Better to be on the bike!

The last stretch up to the Memorial is a bear!
Along the Iron Highway, you catch glimpses of the Memorial through the trees. At one point, the loop goes right past Mt Rushmore, so we got a great view of the Memorial. What a marvel it is! Tomorrow we will stop in at the visitor center. Today, it's on to the campground before the next rainstorm hits!

Gary and Joanne headed for home

The day's report:  Custer State Park loop - Needles Highway and Iron Highway, 42 miles/3202 to date

Devil's Tower

The Silver Queen inside the car
We left Hardin jammed into the Goble's SUV - two tandems, camping gear, packs and the four of us. Amazing job getting it all to fit!

Zoom, zoom, zoom we went across the state and into Wyoming - our seventh state, but not one in which we would ride, as it turned out. We camped at the base of the Devil's Tower, which is certainly worth a visit if you are in these parts. Trouble is, had we ridden our bike out there, we had at least four days of riding to get there, and in some cases, no real place to stay at the place that you'd want to stop. Not many opportunities for water or food, either. So we were happy to get a lift over there.

Pretty imposing sight, at any time of day
Having a car for travel meant that Joanne and Gary had brought lovely things that one does not get to enjoy when touring by bicycle - like a thermos full of margaritas and some chips and guacamole. Now we're living!

Roger, Joanne and Gary

We are not alone!
View from the campsite
The local eatery has a collection of "Close Encounter" memorabilia, including this cool old pin ball machine.

I wish I could remember where I was last weekend!

From the Tower, we headed to the Black Hills. We had planned to ride around the Tower, but smoke from fires in the area made it very unpleasant and we opted to head east to South Dakota.

65: Montana, I love you - too much!

Today we left Montana. After 15 days and 900 miles crossing the state, I am both relieved to be moving on to our next state and sorry to say goodbye to this one.

Montana has surprised me with its beauty and friendliness.  I had been concerned that we'd be hassled on the roads through the rural parts of the state. But mile after mile, we largely were given plenty of room, particularly by the big rigs. There was only one fella who was compelled to address us from his car as it sped by. As it turned out, the winds tossed his words away, so we really don't know if he was offering us props or cussing us out!
Looks like all the dennil floss has been harvested already.

I think the folk here see a lot of touring cyclists. Several Adventure Cycling routes cross the state, and their headquarters building in Missoula attracts a lot of cyclists. Each of the larger towns we've been through has had better than average bike infrastructure, and very good bike shops. Some of the little bitty towns had quirky spots to stay for cyclists - Ovando has a tipi, jail and some other structure where you can lodge for free.

The bike shops along the AC Great Divide route (mountain biking from Canada to Mexico) see a lot of bike tourists, many on mountain bikes. They are all just as friendly, helpful and knowledgeable as can be. None of the attitude that I have sometimes gotten from bike shop guys. Most of them were very interested in our tour (or pretended to be) and took some time to chat and ask us about our travels. 

All these tourists drop a lot of dollars. Even the ones riding day-to-day with signs stating "accepting donations" have to eat, and we certainly ate a lot and ate well. In a car, we might have hit Glacier for two days, driven to Yellowstone, and been out of the state in three days. Instead, we stayed for two weeks. That's a big difference in terms of dollars for dinner, lodging and gear. So, even the small town folk were very friendly, and happy to see us.

I was also surprised by level of interest and emphasis that I saw on the environment and conservation. I didn't particularly know what to expect, but was very pleased to see how dedicated the Montanans are to preserving the open spaces they have, particularly in the western part of the state. They have a representative that is trying to push for the federal lands to be turned over for state control and management, and a large percentage of Montanans think that is a bad idea! Editorials in the newspapers spoke to the issue, and indicated that there is a greater awareness of the value of the national support of these places that I had expected to find. 

The cities seemed pretty liberal-ish to me, which is to say I saw of lot of Teva sandals and beards and crunchy granola types hanging around the coffee shops and cafes. Way more people looked like they belonged in Berkeley than on a ranch.  Our hosts generally confirmed this impression:  blue in the cities, red in the country. The senators are split, the governor is a Democrat, and as one person said, "would you like our representative?  We don't want him!"

On the flip side, there are plenty of "don't tell me what to do" types here, as well. Our last Warm Showers host in the state works with the census bureau, so she knows who's out there and what's going on. There are Freemen living out in the rural areas, who print their own money. And Montana is home to a number of colonies of Hutterites, who apparently farm better than anyone else, and as an ethno-religious group, have gained the right to school their own children and stop at grade eight.  Perhaps a dozen of the counties are so small in population that they do not have a county seat - they share with another county. Golden Valley county, where we stayed in Ryegate, has 900 people. And I thought Alpine County in California was small!

So, along with the bigness, there is also this amazing smallness in Montana. It makes for a very interesting contrast, and I leave this state with much affection for the people that I have met and the places I have seen. 

I'll close with a photo of our last hosts in the state, Bonnie and Mike, who were so very kind and interesting to talk with. Mike was another railroad man, having worked on the big diesel engines. Bonnie is the one with the census bureau, so she was a wealth of information about the state. And in another one of those small world things, their son is a firefighter stationed near Quincy, California - just north of Lake Tahoe. We did a quick check to see if he or his wife knew our daughter, but this time came up short.  Oh, well!  

What we rode today:  Billings to Hardin, where we had some lunch and waited for our friends Gary and Joanne to come and get us. We will be traveling by car for the next few days, seeing some of the sights in eastern Wyoming and western South Dakota, camping, and doing some riding with them on their tandem. 

The day's report: Billings to Hardin, 48.8 miles/3161 to date

By the way, this place had the best pizza I've had in a long time. And a great sense of humor - see signs.
The explanation for the baby

Very Fine Pizza

Let's keep it clean, folks!

Some of our friends have asked about how we manage laundry, showers, etc -- and let's be honest, it's not just like at home, where you can pull a fresh kit from the drawer every time you get on the bike and throw it all in the washer whenever you please.

So here's a little introduction to basic hygiene while touring!
Not ours, thank goodness - but close!

First - I should note that not all of the cycle tourists we meet seem to be hewing to the same standards that Roger and I want to follow. That is to say, we run across some folks that probably are not staying in the nicer campgrounds, with showers available. That's okay, it's all part of the vibe, right?  They tend to be younger tourists, and there is much that one tolerates when one is young - and pockets are empty!  We are old, and we are not trying to do this trip on a buck fifty, AND we prefer our creature comforts, so we do look for campgrounds with showers. And if there is not one available?  Well, we go to the bathroom, or the spigot if there is only a pit toilet, and we do the best we can with our soap and a washcloth.  We've only had to resort to the sponge bath two or three times, so that's not too bad so far.  At one very lovely campground, we got in the river in our bike clothes to rinse off! That was refreshing, and took care of the jerseys at the same time.
Laundry day

Second - when we stay with our Warm Showers hosts, we almost always do a load of laundry. Hasn't been one yet that has not offered, and we always take them up on it. Even if all we do is wash the riding clothes that we came in wearing, it's great to get them nice and clean and dry!

If we are camping, we wash out what we were wearing that day: always the shorts (and jerseys if they need it) - and then hang them up to dry. Sometimes they do not dry before we need them in the morning, and if so, we bungee them to the packs as we ride and wear the second pair.

I think we've only had to resort to laundromat washing three times so far, because our visits with Warm Showers hosts or friends and family have given us sufficient access to washing machines that we've kept our stuff clean enough. And a lot of the little mom and pop motels have laundry rooms right on site. That's what I am using right now.

That "clean enough" phrase is relevant: we are getting so much road grime and bike grease on our kits that I am thinking of submitting them to Tide or Gain when we get home, and challenging them to remove the stains without destroying the fabric! It is certain that we will not be wearing any of this stuff when we are done with the tour - they will be retired.

In fact, we have already had to replace shorts, gloves and socks due to wear. I had two fairly new pair of Pearl Izumi shorts when we started but one of them has already bit the dust. Roger also needed a new pair, and we both lost a pair when we forgot to retrieve them from the dryer at one host's home.  Darn!

Third - Roger tries to keep the bike clean, and in fact he's off at a self-serve car wash taking care of that right now. In campgrounds, he can lube it if necessary but usually has no facility to hose it down or clean the chain. Many of the little motels we've stayed at have signs at the desk announcing that they have rags for use - so you don't use the nice towels, I am sure - and so he has often been able to clean it up that way. He takes the garbage can with some water and a bit of our soap and he usually has a can of spray cleaner for the chain and gears and that seems to be doing the trick.  On one occasion, we had the handicap access shower in our room and he was able to put the bike in the bathroom to clean it! It's sort of a losing battle, anyway. We seem to have rain so often that everything gets mucked up pretty badly every couple of days.
Tent draped over the chair to dry

Drying the tent
Everything else? Well, I have laid the tent out in the hotel room today because we had to put it up damp yesterday. The packs are a mess, and if we are staying indoors and our hosts have a rag, I try to knock most of the crud off them if we are coming in wet, but mostly they just stay pretty filthy. We have a bunch of stuff sacks that we use to segregate our clothes, bike stuff, etc, and they are inside a big heavy plastic bag inside the rear packs, so things stay clean even though the packs get dirty.

We travel with Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile liquid soap, so we can use it to bathe, shampoo, wash clothes, dishes, bike - whatever.  I take a little on a washcloth to wash my face and "wake up" most mornings and we always, always put on sunscreen before we ride, so at least to this point, I feel like I am not turning into a leather-face. But time will tell!  And that's about it for cleaning.

As to other matters of general body maintenance:  Our fingernails are just a mess. Everything we do with the packs or the bike just wears 'em down and breaks them off, so we keep the clippers and emery board handy. (Nothing bugs me like getting a snagged nail that catches on my bike clothes all day long.  I keep a tiny emery board in my bike bag so I can take care of things like that right away.) I had my hair cut very short before we took off but it's grown enough that I know I am going to need to find a barber and go butch again pretty soon. We had our dental check-ups and cleaning right before we left town, so we should be good for six months in that department. Roger shaves every few days but has not grown a beard, as many of the male cyclists I see seem to do. I'm glad of that! I take advantage of motels or Warm Showers hosts with bathtubs to shave my legs now and then, but to be honest that's never been a real strong habit of mine and since we wear the leg covers whether hot or cold, it doesn't seem to matter. No one sees my legs anyway!

We both take some daily meds, and before we left we convinced our doctors to give us two back-to-back 90 day prescriptions. So we have a large supply of pharmaceuticals on board. I dole out a week's worth into a small box (a repurposed patch kit box is working great!) that we keep with our toiletries, and keep the rest secure in the pack. That seems to be working very well.

Give us this day our daily meds (small box)!
Things I really love and use all the time:  The Dr. Bronner's soap - would not want to travel without it, as it serves so many purposes (and just gives me such a lift!)  Vaseline - we use it every day on lips, heels, hands, whatever.  A little piece of Fels Naptha soap - this seems to really help with the grease as a pre-treatment before we wash our clothes.  It's old fashioned, but it works. Gold Bond powder - helps me avoid heat rash on my legs.  Desitin ointment - just a dab under the chamois cream really seems to help in the saddle. Advil PM - if we've had a really tough day, it makes bedtime so much more comfortable!

Oh, and as to the size of stuff we carry: some folks really are what we call "weight wienies" - they begrudge every ounce and take small containers of everything. Well, that's okay for a couple of weeks, probably. I normally put my face lotion in a little bottle if I'm traveling (both because it's less to carry and because I can get through airport security faster that way). But for six months? C'mon! I'm going to use an entire bottle of Olay anyway, so why put it into little bitty bottles and then have to find a way to refill them constantly? Roger was shocked (and dismayed) by the weight of our toiletries and what not, but with this approach, everything is getting lighter as we use it up, and so it's all working out.  And I just did not want to be concerned about finding another tiny tube of toothpaste every week while we are out here!

So that's the story. Let me know via the comments if you have any specific questions.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

64: Pumas for rent

I have probably written all that I need to write about the vastness of the Montana countryside. It's beautiful, and there is a lot of it. The weather that comes, comes quickly, and with power. And the landscapes are large - breathtakingly so - with variety that changes mile to mile as we roll along.

So I will tell you instead about our latest Warm Showers hosts, Patti and David. They live in Ryegate, which is a very small town along our route on Hwy 12. I had neglected to get their exact address into my map, so when we got to the edge of town we pulled over and I turned off airplane mode to see if I could find it on line. Nope. No service. I went into the local watering hole and asked the proprietor, Barbara, "do you know the Bruners?" "Oh, yes" was the reply - everyone knows them. Patti is the mayor! So I asked Barbara if she knew where they lived. Sure - up on 3rd. But she didn't know the exact address. She described the house, and said "if you get to the corner, then you've gone too far. Turn around and come back." Then she said, "oh - and they have a sign on the fence, "Pumas for rent.""

And they did! So Roger and I had a most enjoyable evening and morning getting to know Patti and David. They built their home, log by log. We were fascinated with their stories about how the stripped the bark off the logs, fitted them, cut them and moved them into place. It is the most remarkable home I've ever been in.
Patti and David
Everything seems to have been carefully thought through - and David says he did not have a plan when they began. It just grew, organically, as they worked on it over a year and a half. While raising their three children!
Patti and David and the house that they built

David teaches science at the local school. They have a dozen children in the high school.  Not in the senior class, but in the high school! Their last graduating class had one student. I wondered what it would be like to be in such a small school. Everyone has to pitch in and do their part, he said. You have to be on the team, or we can't play.  He is also the coach for the track team. And everyone is on the team. That's just the way it is.

I thought for a long time as we rode along today, trying to wrap my head around life in such a small town. It would certainly be different from the way I have lived. Or would it? What do I do on a "normal" day back in Redlands? I work in my garden, I cook, I might visit with friends. I go to church, or to a store when I need something. I guess it might be quite different if I had to go 60 miles to the Costco, instead of 6.  But all in all, the daily activities of my life are not so remarkable that they could not happen anywhere. I certainly think that is one of the things I am learning as we roll along. I very much like the place where I am, but I don't think, by any means, that's it's the only place I could be happy.

And that sign? Well, David explained the origin, but I can't remember the details. But I think maybe everyone needs to rent a puma now and then. It would certainly enliven a party!
Near Ryegate

Winds from the west, eh?
Liquid Refreshment at the Spoke Shop
And so this morning we rode away, sailing on a tailwind that carried us all the way to the turn south. Then it was intermittently behind or beside us, but by and large, we had a smooth trip into Billings, where we visited the Spoke Shop.  A very nice bike shop which offers tourists some liquid refreshment, in a nice cool cup! A most civilized way to shop, I think.

We are staying tonight with another Warm Showers host, Bonnie and Mike. She fixed pot roast for dinner! Saints in heaven, it was delicious! The rhubarb crisp for breakfast has already been baked tonight. I may have trouble falling asleep, thinking about it!

The day's report:  Ryegate to Billings, 71.5 miles/3112 to date

The Yellowstone River at Billings

Friday, June 24, 2016

63: In the matter of the tandem v. the storm

In the State of Montana Courts: Case 33930H - The Tandem v. the Storm

After battling fierce headwinds for nearly 60 miles, Tandem was taking a break and refueling. While stopped, said Tandem noticed clouds bursting with rain, flashes of lightning and rolling thunder off on the horizon.

The next destination lay some 30 miles east. Storm appeared to be coming from the north.

Donning protective gear, Tandem decided to take advantage of the shift in wind direction and attempt to outrun Storm.

With speeds up to 30 mph, Tandem flew furiously toward the only spot of blue on the horizon. Meanwhile Storm continued to build and move south toward Tandem on a collision course.

After some period, blue skies ahead appeared to indicate that Tandem had indeed outrun Storm. Then Storm created a diversion with strong crossing tailwinds, and moved up on Tandem's left flank. Quickly assembling auxiliary clouds directly before Tandem, Storm then brought on driving rain.

Having removed protective gear some miles before, Tandem was now forced to stop and reapply rain jackets.

Rain soon abated, and clear skies met Tandem as it arrived at destination. But the damage was done.

Having considered the evidence, we hold for Storm. Tandem will be made to cover court costs.

Storm, just before the altercation
All kidding aside, having the storm behind us (and probably the milkshakes inside us) did make for a lickety-split final 30 miles. We had anticipated continued headwinds, and were averaging about 10.4 mph. That last segment had me thinking this would be a nine-hour day. Instead, we got in just over seven hours for the 91 miles.

So despite the drama, all was well. And we arrived early at our Warm Showers host, Patti and Dave, who treated us to a great spaghetti dinner. Awesome!

The day's report:  White Sulphur Springs to Ryegate, 91 miles/3040 to date

62: Cool streams and hot springs

This was just a long day. There's not any way to get around that. We left Matt and Maryellen's after a nice breakfast, and headed east, and eventually turned north, and there we were.
The roads go on and on!

Well, there we were - after nearly seven hours in the saddle!

We had about 3000 feet of climbing to do, so there's that. And we sort of stretched the day out by stopping several times to get into the stream to cool off!

But if you are going to climb, as Roger said, this is the way to do it:  through a forest, with a stream, at 1 to 2%. A very pretty ride up to the summit, which like others here, is not marked. So we don't get the "summit shot" - the picture of the top of the pass with the bike and the sign. It's the Deep Creek Canyon, though, if you are ever up this way and want to ride it. Truly beautiful, and tops out about 5800 feet.
Beautiful road through Deep Creek Canyon

We had checked out the route ahead of times, and knew that between Townsend and White Sulphur Springs, there wasn't any food or water. So we had a great second breakfast in Townsend, and carried extra bottles and the Camelbak bladder. By the end of the day, the water I was drinking was hot enough to brew tea. Not particularly appetizing, but it does the job!

In Townsend, we met Amber at the cafe. As we usually do, we asked her if she was from Montana. No, she is another of the recent arrivals. She was raised in Portland, living in Spokane, and used an on-line dating service to meet her husband - a rancher and rodeo cowboy!  Who knew that the cowboys were going on-line?  It made me think of the old TV show from long ago, about the brides that were brought to Seattle during the gold rush days.  Also at the cafe we met her husband's uncle, who was also a cowboy, competing in the rodeos. As we talked, he expressed appreciation for the trip that we were taking, and said he didn't think he could ever do something like that. And of course, I told him that there was no way I could imagine ever getting into a ring with a steer and trying to get him tied and down! So I guess we each make choices about the wild and crazy things we are willing to do, and look at others' choices and think, "wow - I could never do that"!

Townsend grain storage building
I love these crazy grain buildings!  I don't know how they are used, but we see them in many towns. They all have the same general shape, so there must be specific purposes for the various levels and angles. I'd love to get a tour of one some day.

This pool was 105 degrees. Yikes!
When we got to White Sulphur Springs, we had time to take a soak in the springs. Man, are they hot! A little trip in the way-back machine, as there was something about this place that reminded Roger and me of someplace we've been - although clearly we've never been here before.

A brilliant sky and raging sunset, and then bedtime. We have found that as we move east, the sun is at least setting a little earlier for us!

The day's report:  Helena to White Sulphur Springs, 76.5 miles/2949 to date

Sunset at White Sulphur Springs