Brianís Cross-USA Bicycle Tour

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© 2001,

Day 16 - Tuesday, July 3, 2001
Florence to Darby, MT
54 miles

I woke up at sunrise, feeling a little better than yesterday, but still stayed in the tent for about another hour, as the sun had not yet risen above the mountains to the east. 

The hour delay was a bad idea. By the time I had finished breaking camp, the same nasty feeling as yesterday had come back. I needed real food and I needed it now! 

Luckily Florence was only 1.5 miles away. But the cafe there was not open for breakfast. I had to settle for a roast beef sandwich at the Arby's at the gas station. I only finally started feeling better until after lunch, but by then I had covered so few miles that I'd have to spend more time riding in the afternoon heat. 

I went to a bike shop to get some more spare spokes. I explained that some of the non-drive side spokes had worked their way loose, which I suspected was the cause of the unusual breakage of one of the spokes on that side. They told me "the one side is always looser than the other". Well of course I know that - although I am by no means the best wheelbuilder around, I wouldn't have been able to build the wheel myself without that knowledge. So I replied that "they were *really* loose". They then said "well, yeah, they are a lot looser on one side", and then started going into a discussion about wheel dishing, or maybe the wheel was built with cheap spokes, or maybe it would be better to get the wheel relaced etc., etc. OK, we have some "premium" spokes (DT) for you, as they said. I was getting a little irritated at my intelligence being insulted but decided that getting into a pissing match over this wasn't worth it, so I paid for my spokes and left. 

I had originally planned to push on to Sula, which is closer to the pass, but Darby is a town that has more services, so I got a hotel there. [It was only about $35 or after tax for a really nice room, so no regrets there...]  The locals here seemed nice enough - the librarian, the waitress, and one of the locals were all eager to talk. But I looked in the window of the real estate office and most of the major businesses in town are for sale. 

I regret not having taken many pictures over the past few days, but the scenery in the valley has not been as exciting as compared to previous days. It should get nicer as I get over the pass. I should be able to get an earlier start tomorrow, as near record high temperatures of 99 degrees are expected.

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