Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Wild Wild West (Montana)

Thursday July 2
We rode a measly 44 miles today and yet I’m exhausted. Our departure from Twin Bridges was nothing out of the ordinary. Had breakfast at the Blue Anchor Café in town. We were joined by our new friends Aaron and Lolo. We ate and were ready to hit the library for some wifi. While we were connecting and checking e-mail Aaron and Lolo sped out of town. Twenty minutes later we sped off as well. The early riding was quick as the terrain was only gently rising in elevation. The first stop of the day was a community called Sheridan. A bit of shopping was done at the IGA as some fruit and potato chips were on the list. We ran into Aaron and Lolo again as they were departing town when we pulled in.

The next stop after Sheridan was a small community called Alder. We stopped for a few minutes to eat some of the fruit we had bought and to work on the package of OREOs that we opened yesterday. Wouldn’t you know it, Aaron and Lolo were sitting in front of the same little store that we stopped at. Donna took a picture of them and lewis sitting in front of the store. At this point we had ridden 21 miles and it was just past noon. Our next stop would be Nevada City another 8 miles up the road. Now we begin the climbing portion of the day. Nevada City is chock full of old west buildings that have been moved their and restored. It kind of looks like a movie set. There wasn’t a lot to do in this ghost town so we departed a half hour later. Guess who we ran into in Nevada City? Yeah, they’re going the same way we are so this will happen until one of us decides to go faster or else take a day off. So far it’s kind of fun running into them.

We got back on the bikes and rode the one and a half miles to get to Virginia City. This place is more of a tourist attraction and was very busy. We parked the bikes and spent the next 2 hours walking around town. Donna and Lewis went into a Museum or two. Lewis visited his second candy store of the trip (photo) and then we spent the last of our time in one of the 5 or 6 places that served lunch in this old west town. It was a late lunch as it was now after 3:00. We had just been served our food when in walks Aaron and Lolo. They had asked around and found out that the best pie to be had in town was found in the establishment that we had randomly selected. Donna had a piece of pie that cost nearly as much as the lunch she had. $4.50!

After finishing off the dessert we were ready to leave Virginia City and tackle the worst of the pass that still lay ahead of us. Pedaling for 45 minutes at a steady 4 mph didn’t get us to far towards the top of the current ‘hill’, so we stopped and walked. Then we rode some more. Then we walked some more. As we were approaching the top of this current climb we noticed the wind was really intensifying and right in our face. The final mile and a half we probably could have ridden without too much difficulty but the wind now howling right in our faces made it difficult just to walk. There was no way we’d ride any more of this hill.

Upon reaching the summit of the pass, the wind if anything intensified! It must have had something to do with being so exposed on the top of the mountain and some weather phenomenon. Now we are ready for our downhill ride of 10 miles to our final destination of the day, Ennis Montana. The direction of the road into Ennis took almost a 90 degree turn so the wind that we were now experiencing a wind blowing from the side. I would have preferred the headwind! We occasionally SCREAMED down the hill but with the crosswind was pushing us all over the road. And with traffic blowing by us at 70 mph, it was by far the scariest riding we’ve done to date. I pulled off the road a couple times to let cars go by. But we persevered and eventually found ourselves in Ennis.

The camping for the night I had selected was found at the Fish Camp Park just on the far edge of town. So we pedaled through town and just as we left town came upon the Madison River. Just as promised the Fish Camp appeared. This place was full of people most of whom were fishing or waiting for someone who was out fishing. We walked through the entire campground and didn’t find any vacant spots. There were plenty of places we could have pitched our tent, but only the designated spots had a picnic table. While walking our bikes through, an older guy who was sitting outside by his fire seemed interested in us enough to ask a few questions. He mentioned that a bicyclist had pulled into the spot next to him and probably wouldn’t mind sharing his spot. We walked over to the bicyclists site but discovered that they already had 4 tents going up. So we went back to the the other spot where the guy talked to us and asked if we could pitch our tent next to his travel trailer. Sure he replied. No problem. We ended up spending quite a bit of time with Dallas and Gene (husband and wife) who are from Chico California. They are fishing with friends that have parked their trailer right next door, Anna and Stan. As usual, they were extremely interested in our story and took an immediate liking to Lewis. While Donna and I set up camp Lewis was visiting our neighbors. Once we had situated ourselves we went over to introduce ourselves and spend some time with them too. Lewis eventually got to try some fly fishing with some instruction from Dallas(photo) and just a bit later Anna banana got her keyboard fired up and Lewis got to play just a bit. They played a duet which I failed to witness but I understand that it was something special.

It was about this time that our friends from Twin Bridges pulled in. Since we had a little space next to our tent we invited them to “poach” next to us. They joined us at the picnic table in front of Dallas and Genes site and broke out their powdered humus to go along with our potato chips and OREOs. Our improptu dinner also included some fruit for Lewis. Just a bit later all of the RV campers called it a night so we did as well.


  1. I am curious how you faired the 20 miles of hills between the start of Earthquake Lake and the Narrows at Hebgen Lake. There were several steep grades along that stretch. Fortunately the final stretch into West Yellowstone isn't so bad.

    Hope you guys are able to take a day and enjoy the 4th of July festivities.

    Keep on Truckin'

  2. It's so interesting, every night we can't wait to go on the internet and see if you have something new. Keep up the good work and good times you guys. How are you getting back to Shelton!

  3. A great read today! Sounded like the wind almost beat you. But you prevailed any way. I love the part about Lewis getting to play duets. Way to go Lewis! Even got a little playing time in. Did you play some of your music for them? "I hope so", says your piano teacher. I am so excited to read everyday about your adventures with your mom and dad tagging along. Flyfishing, huh? Did you catch anything?

    Mrs. S.