Thursday, July 2, 2009

What a Find! Twin Bridges Montana

Wednesday July 1

Hey, we’re into the second month and everyone is still on board! Hurrah! We had a splendid day that ended up being a bit trying at the end and it had nothing to do with mosquitos. So here goes. We packed up and left our tent site at Jacksons Hot Springs and were on the road by, yep 10:00. We didn’t really have breakfast as it isn’t served in the lodge and the only café in town that used to cater to the breakfast/lunch crowd, closed it’s doors last week. The lodge did have coffee and some muffins so that’s what we had. As I alread said we left. So forget about the breakfast that we didn’t really have. There was a sprinkling of mosquitos to see us off but the majority of them were sleeping in. This morning there are 2 consecutive passes that we had to conquer which we did in fine form. I walked a section of each one as they both had a fairly steep gradient. The first pass was the more difficult of the two and brought us back up to over 7000 feet in elevation. At the summit of the second pass we stopped for an impromptu breaksfast/lunch that consisted of OREOs and water.

Our plan for the day was to first tackle the passes, then take it easy and stop in the town of Dillon. This was a calming ride of only 18 miles after the summit and would have given us a total of just 48 miles. The ride down from the summit was very quick and too easy. We pulled into Dillon at about 3:00 and immediately found a place to have a real lunch/dinner. A dude on the side of the street suggested we try Mr T’s place so we did. Donna had a fish burger and Lewis had mini-corndogs and mac and cheese and I had half of a medium pizza. The other half we boxed up to save for dinner tonite. So Donna is feeling good about herself and our situation so she suggested that maybe we should try and go to the next community since it’s still early. I had no problems with that. I also wasn’t the one to suggest it as I figured a short day would boost the morale. But who am I to poop on Donnas parade? The next community is in Madison County Montana and is called Twin Bridges. So we’re headed for the Bridges of Madison County. Reminds me of a movie! I have to add one other detail. Our topographical map indicated that the terrain would be either level or else going downhill. Donna was aware of this when she made the call to continue. If the next community had been up another big ass hill, she would have bagged it I’m sure. But we’re on! So we leave and by the time we exit Dillon it’s easily 4:30 and we’ve got a paltry 28 miles to ride downhill.

The paltry 28 mile ride to Twin Bridges sapped all the energy and most of the spirit out of Donna. We ended up riding the entire distance into a significant headwind that seriously slowed down our progress. When normally we would be flying down these slight hills at 20 or 25 mph, we had to pedal our butts off just to get to 15 mph. And when normally we can average 15 mph on a flat road with no headwind, we were crawling along with quite a bit effort and making all of 8 mph. So our quick 28 mile ride that was supposed to be no more than 2 hours ended up being more than 3 hours. Good thing it wasn’t my idea! But the bonus in the end may have justified the extra effort that we put into this day. The camping in Twin Bridges was supposed to be at the County Fairgrounds which we personally favor. We found out from the proprietor of Mr T’s place that Twin Bridges just finished installing a biker camp just across the road from the fairgrounds. He had read about this just last week in the local newspaper. So we were excited about that anyways. When we pulled into Twin Bridges we immediately spotted the fairgrounds and sure enough, there was a rest area across the road that had a sign on a newish building that said Biker Camp.

This place has just opened in the last 2 weeks and is every cyclists dream of what they’d like to find at the end of the day. I’m in the sheltered screened in picnic table area working on my journal. In addition there is a shower and bathroom accessible from the backside of building. There is a covered sink area for doing dishes and perhaps a bit of cooking. And outside they’ve made a windbreak and placed an old gas barbecue grill. I’m very impressed. There are no set fees but they gladly take donations which I will deposit in the morning. I mentioned the screened in picnic area because that is important now that it’s dark here. We’ve left the Big Hole Valley behind with 2 mountain passes separating us. So the mosquito issue is not an issue compared to the previous 2 days. But someone here thinks that there is a mosquito problem so they are commencing a mosquito fogging program and it’s going on as I type away. The familiar smell and sounds of the fogging truck reminds me so much of the time I spent in Michigan.

When we pulled in there was already a couple in the shelter area. Aaron and Lolo are youngish (20’s) and are headed to just the other side of Pueblo Colorado having started in Eugene Ore. They’ve been traveling the same route as us but at a more casual pace. I find it hard to believe that there are people who are getting in fewer miles than we are but it happens. They rode today from Dillon to here. That is the hellish ride that we started at 4:30 and completed near 8:00. These 2 kids rode a paltry 28 miles today. But they are intentionally taking their time as their trip is approaching it’s final stages. And the old fogies that are Alan and Donna who happen to be toting a nine year old along, rode an astounding 78 miles today! This being the new benchmark for miles completed in one day. Twenty minutes after we arrived, a third couple pulled in. Two women whose names we haven’t yet captured are also camped out here beside this wonderful bikers camp.

In the morning we’ll go get some coffee in town and perhaps a full breakfast as well. Wifi is available several places so I may get to post this entry and do some e-mail too. It’s looking like we’ll be hitting Yellowstone by Saturday at the latest. Donna and Lewis have already retired as have the other 2 couples. I always seem to be the one that burns the midnight oil. But tonite, I’m enjoying the luxury of this wonderful bikers camp.


  1. You guys keep putting in days like this and I will never be able to predict your route!

    Since you have a considerable hill approaching Virgina City and the fact that both Nevada and Virgina City look ripe for exploration (old western towns) I am going to be conservative and predict the RV park in Cameron for a mere 55 miles.

    I reinstalled Topo-USA last night so I could pull up elevation profiles for each daily leg. You have a couple of short 15% grades in Friday's mix but if all goes well you should be in West Yellowstone in time for the big 4th of July celebration and BBQ.

    We'll bring the pizza and strawberries!

    The Doyles~

  2. Great going guys!!!! 78 miles one day. You reallly are flying. Donna we are proud of you. Doing a great job, Lewis too. sounds like you're going to make it.