The night before was frigid!! My tent was covered in frost and so was my bike and everything else. Brrr!! The last thing I wanted to do was get out of my sleeping bag and start riding. Thankfully I had been sleeping with all my clothes in my sleeping bag to keep them warm and being that this was day 8, my biking shorts and jersey were starting to smell pretty bad to say the least. It made for a nice aroma in my tent.
I started putting on my clothes and packing up anything I could from within my sleeping bag and was soon forced with the task of getting out of my tent. The sun wasn’t even above the horizon yet so there wasn’t anything to look forward to. The next town was still 75 miles away. So I just laid there for a few minutes longer.
|Finally, the SUN!! Jumping-jacks and thawing out.|
By the time I got my stuff packed up and I was on the bike, I was shivering uncontrollably. I figured pedaling would help generate some heat and get the blood flowing. I couldn’t feel my hands and the wind from riding wasn’t helping either. Finally the sun broke above the surrounding mountains so I stopped in the road and started doing jumping jacks. I felt a little better so I just sat there with the sun beating down. Soon enough Kevin and Sean caught up and we all pressed on trying to keep warm.
Next up was the climb up the Old Bannack Road and the climb up to Medicine Lodge – Sheep Creek Divide. There was actually no lodge anywhere that I could see.
|Sean Putnam: “You call that a climb?”|
The climb up was long and just got steeper and steeper. Apparently, this road gets extremely muddy and impossible to ride when wet so we were thankful that it was nice and dry. We could see tracks from maybe the day before and some of the tires sunk in 2-3 inches. I can’t imagine doing this climb in those conditions. Then we saw the foot tracks next to the tire tracks. I was thankful to be pedaling on. Until it got super steep.
|Sean Putnam demonstrating the “Aero-bar Walk” position|
|Kevin Campagna almost to the top of the climb!|
After crossing over the pass and snapping some photos it was just wide open cattle country and rolling terrain for several miles until a pretty fun descent down towards I-15 and Lima.
The rolling terrain went on and on and it started raining and then snowing and the wind was blowing pretty good. Sometimes a terrible headwind and sometimes a nice tailwind.
We bombed down the hill and met a fellow Northbounder touring the route. We shared some stories and route information and went on our ways. Next we hit a little mud from the previous days rain and got a tiny little taste of the peanut butter. Just enough to cover my bottle and then the road was dry again.
The gravel road eventually turned into a giant washboard and the last 10 or so miles to the paved frontage road were horrible. I couldn’t wait to get to Lima and off this bumpy ass road!
We made it to Lima! Sean and I went over to the laundry mat to get a few items dried before heading over to the Cafe. At the cafe and began ordering 1000’s of calories of food. First, apple pie. Then a burger, chicken strips, fries, coke after coke and then coffee after coffee. Maybe a second piece of pie. And of course 2 grilled cheese sandwiches with ham to go. $50 later and we were off across the street to stock up on more junk food and sugar drinks. I spent another $50 at the gas station. Back to the laundry mat and we were off.
|Super psyched to use a dryer….it was only day 8 so we didn’t need to wash anything yet! Plus, no time for that!|
According to the maps, the next section looked to be flatter than most so we were hoping to make some good miles. The scenery was really pretty and was not like I had imagined. It was quite different from the scenery earlier in the day.
|Finally some warmer weather. Suns out guns out!|
Especially after we made it past the Lima Reservoir and into the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. This area was lush and green with tons of birds. A stark contrast to the dry, sage brush covered cattle land from earlier in the day.
The light was fading and the mountains and scenery were beautiful. Between that and the fact that I was almost to another state got me psyched to put in a good effort. It was pretty easy rolling terrain so the miles seemed to fly by.
|Chris from Vancouver|
The the last climb of the day up and over Red Rock Pass and into IDAHO!!! I never thought it would feel so good to leave Montana but man, it felt awesome! I got a picture taken in the dim light and headed down the road.
It was me, Sean, Kevin and Chris from Vancouver. We rode for another hour or so before passing by the Red Rock RV Park. It was getting cold and starting to rain so we pulled in hoping for some kind of shelter to camp under. The building was closed for the night and there was no sign. There were some motor homes but we weren’t really sure if anyone was there. We tried the bath house, locked. Then a voice from above said, “Can I help you?” It was the owner who apparently lived upstairs. We got checked in and got the key code for the bathhouse. It was a nice warm escape from the cold rain outside. I remember planning to just hang out in there for a while, change clothes, maybe eat some food and warm up. Then when one of the fellow campers came in it was obvious that the bathroom was not really a place to hang out. I thought about taking a shower but I didn’t have a towel and I felt the time could be better used sleeping. So I collected all my belongings which were now spread out everywhere and walked through the rain back to my tent. We were about 20 miles from the next resupply spot and I was really hoping for a hot breakfast.