Goodbye, Wyoming. Hello, Montana!
Yes, yes, I realize it’s been a while since we posted a trip update! But we’ve been so busy getting all the way to Missoula, Montana!
After saying goodbye to Matt in Dubois, Wyoming, we began our ride into the wilderness (or zoo, depnding on who you ask) of the national parks. We spent one night in Grand Teton National Park, and two nights in Yellowstone National Park. The mountains were snowy and majestic, and the geysers were impressive (and prompt! as promised), but we happened to arrive during what seemed like the RV convention of the century.
We met some elk, some bison, and some cool guys from Bozeman, Montana who told us enough bear horror stories to dissuade us from meeting any bears.
On Sunday we left Yellowstone and entered Montana. We camped the first night in Ennis, behind the Madison Valley Creamery, next to our new chum Stuart, from Devon, England. We brought the ice cream, he brought the British sarcasm.
The next day we fought our way over a giant hill during a “wind event”. In my opinion, a more apt term for this type of weather might be “wind tunnel” or even “tornado” – it was brutal. But on the other side of the hill was Virginia City, a charming (if slightly campy) historic mining town with some tasty pistachio ice cream. We wound up that evening at Bike Camp (http://www.cyclecamp-twinbridges.com) in Twin Bridges. To our delight, Twin Bridges has done what so many other small towns on this well-travelled cycling route have overlooked. They installed a screened-in building, cooking and bathing facilities, and bike maintenance equipment – all free for touring cyclists.
After Twin Bridges, we headed to the town of Jackson, in the Big Hole basin of Montana. The wind was slightly more forgiving, but the terrain was not. Our route included two intimidating climbs, Big Hole Pass and Carroll Pass. After recovering from Big Hole Pass, Jenny and I wanted to encourage passing cars by giving them a thumbs-up. Then we accidentally accepted a ride from Shane, a friendly grad student, who needed some bikes and people to weigh down the back of his pickup while going up the second pass. Oops… But we made it to Jackson in time to hit up the hot springs and enjoy some beers in the company of Shane’s research crew and a herd of dead animal heads.
Then we biked 92 miles (our longest ride yet!) to Hamilton, where we enjoyed homemade enchiladas and birthday pancakes with
Carl and Terry Tignor, who kindly took us in for the night.
And now we’re here! In Missoula! Taking the town by storm in facepaint and some new “leisure clothes” from Goodwill. After partying it up last night at a dance party downtown, we’re celebrating birthday day number two with more food, less drink. Hoorah!
To whom it may concern: Chamois Butt’r is a far superior product to any other chamois cream. After using an entire tube and failing to find more on our route, it will be sorely missed.