Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 18, 2013: MIM Day 3, Dillon, MT to Wisdom, MT

Last night we stayed at the Motel 6 in Dillon. We mistakenly thought that there was a little breakfast of some kind, but in the morning we discovered that the only offering was coffee. We had decided to try to get an early start, so we ended up riding out without breakfast. The first on-route services were not until mile 50, after going over two passes, so we had to make do with sports drink and a few energy bars that I had available.

We had two notable encounters on the road. The first was at about five miles, a scruffy Momma Cass type sitting by the side of the road. She got up and said something to me,but I didn't understand and rode by. Fred, on the other hand stopped to see what she wanted. Apparently there is a Rainbow gathering taking place just outside Jackson, the town on our route at 50 miles. More about that in a bit.

The second encounter was with an old rancher at around 25 miles. We had pulled off the road for a rest right across from his house, and a few minutes later he drove over on a heavily used ATV. We had a wide ranging conversation about everything from weather, to local animal predators, to cyclists he had assisted over the years, to the Rainbow Gathering taking place near Jackson. He assured us that the second of the day's passes was much easier than the first (which wasn't that bad when compared to yesterday's). With that encouragement, we proceeded on our way.

We were stopped to take some photos after the steeper part of the second pass when a caravan of a dozen or more law enforcement SUV's sped by. Fred's guess was that they were converging on the area to keep an eye on the Rainbow people. Later, at the restaurant in Jackson, we talked to a couple of the officers, who confirmed that to be the case.

Also, while at the restaurant waiting for our food, we met several young cycle tourists who are taking roughly the same route we are. Our food finally arrived, and as soon as we finished we headed out. The previously partly cloudy skies had darkened, the wind had come up, and it was raining over the mountains to our left. We felt a couple of drops in our first mile, but as it turned out, the wet stuff stayed out of the valley. The last 18 miles of our ride to Wisdom, MT, our destination, was mostly a downgrade and we had a significant tailwind. The result was a pace of between 25 and 30 MPH the whole way. Quite a difference from our earlier crawl up Badger and Big Hole passes before lunch.

When we pulled up to our lodging, a couple on a tandem, pulling a trailer, was walking their rig around the corner heading in the direction from which we had just come. The wind by this time must have been 25 MPH or so and the sky was gray and threatening. I went over and said flat out that I hoped they were not planning to try to ride that way. It didn't take much to convince them to wait an hour or two to see if the squall would pass.

We then went inside to check in, but couldn't pay for our rooms because the entire town was without electricity. In addition, we could not get cleaned up or do our daily laundry because the well pump that provides water was out as well. Fred took a nap until our agreed-upon time to go for dinner, and I read a little and determined that there was no cell service -- not even when there is electricity. (The power came back on at about 5:15, shortly after we walked into the restaurant. We spent the next few hours over there, mostly talking to Greg, a solo Trans Am Trail rider we had met the day before in Dillon. We also spend a few minutes talking with a pair of women about our age who have been doing an annual three week tour similar to what Fred and I have been doing. I think this is just their second stage, though, and they are riding recumbents. They will definitely have their work cut out for them on some of the passes!

The restaurant had wifi, so I sent Kathy an email to let her know we arrived and are ok, but without wifi over at our rooms, this post will not go out until tomorrow.

The day ended up about 66 miles over four and a half hours in the saddle, with 3,600 feet of climbing.

Here are some photos from today's ride. The photos of the flowers in the field and the close-up are dedicated to my personal Flower Goddess back home.

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