Brianís Cross-USA Bicycle Tour
Day 18 - Thursday, July 5, 2001
It turns out I wasn't able to see much of last night's fireworks display from the campsite, but judging from the sounds there wasn't much to see. It was still loud enough to keep the cows next door mooing, though.
I woke up at 1 AM with a few rain drops getting me wet. Hey, why am I getting wet - oh shoot, I didn't put up the rain fly! So I ran outside in the clothes I was wearing - or not wearing - and somehow managed to get the rainfly on while getting eaten alive by the bugs! Luckily I got it on just in time before the raindrops turned into a downpour!
While having breakfast I met John and Nancy from Ohio. They had started riding the route from Oregon and Idaho, then joining my same route through Montana to Yellowstone. For various reasons they didn't care for the Oregon portion of the ride, and they thought I had made the better choice by starting in Washington. It was nice talking to them, and it looks like I have a place to stay in Ohio if I want - they live 250 feet of the route. They won't be home, but they gave me their daughter's number (who lives 250 feet from them). Friendly people.
Although they got a closer start for the Lost Trail/Chief Joseph Passes than I did, they were also wiped out from the pass and decided to take a rest day - I was going to press on.
After stopping for a second breakfast in Jackson, I continued onto the next two passes. The stretch between Jackson and Dillon is a lonely 46 miles without any services, so I had to plan accordingly.
The Big Hole Pass at 7360 feet seemed quite easy, probably since most of the climbing had already been done by the time I got to Jackson, which is at about 6500 feet.
I was interested in seeing the old territorial capital of Bannack, but it was four miles off the highway, meaning it would have been a total detour of eight miles. Bike touring is nice for seeing things on the route, but doesn't always lend itself well to out and back detours.
While approaching Badger Pass (6760 feet), the storm clouds had moved in, blocking out the sun, and giving me a tailwind up the hill. Yippee! After cresting the pass the tailwind turned into a crosswind - a loaded touring bike can act as a sail at 40+ mph speeds!
Soon the terrain leveled out a bit, and it was a nice 20 mph cruise with occasional pedalling all the way to Dillon.
Once I got to the KOA in town, the rain finally came, although only for a few minutes. Then it cleared up, allowing me to set up the tent and clean the bugs off it from last night's experience. The last few days have been through farming and ranching country. It should get a little more interesting as I pass through some old mining towns and then approach Yellowstone.
By the way, I have the dots showing my daily locations updated on the website up to Missoula.