From Kremmling into the Abyss

20160716_073652clone tag: -7240152025310181312IMG_2687-800x600IMG_2675-800x60020160720_190404-1-800x634-800x63420160722_140656-800x480IMG_2502-800x533IMG_2506-800x533img073img072img071img070On 7-16-2016, I left Kremmling for Silverthrone. I followed the official Great Divide Route which is hard packed gravel. There were some climbs but nothing that required me to push my bike. At the Williams Fork Reservoir I spent time near this osprey nest where a mother and her offspring were popping their heads up. The male was flying around but wouldn’t get close to the nest for a decent photo op. I gave up and rode on.

Some time later, before the Ute Pass, I met two cyclists who were riding South to North. One worked for a radio station and recorded an interview with me. I recommended the Williams Reservoir for camping. I summited Ute Pass, after a number of stops to catch my breath, but couldn’t find a sign to take a selfie like I did on Gore Pass.Going over Ute Pass is the last thing I remember about the ride to Silverthrone. The next thing that I remember is lying in a hospital bed at St Anthony’s just outside of Denver where I stayed until my release on Friday 7-22-2016.

Overall, I had excellent care and the food was ☆☆☆☆☆. The only pain I experienced was with my chest, especially, when I cough. This is the price one pays when their life is saved with CPR. Sgt. Dunaway, who performed the CPR, thought she might have broke one of my ribs because she heard a popping sound. No big deal. Hopefully, the reports from the hospital and from the sheriffs that I included,  are legible.</p> <p>Sgt. Dunaway reported in a phone conversation on 7-22-16 that she was driving on State Hwy. 9 when she observed me falling off my bike onto the sidewalk and didn’t move.  She made a u-turn and when arrived at the scene a “doctor” was administrating CPR. Sgt. Dunaway took over and continued CPR for around five minutes until I was breathing and had a pulse. I gave my heartfelt thanks to Sgt. Dunaway.
The reason I was in the hospital for over five days was due to the bureaucracy in getting me a Life Vest, which is a wearable cardioverter defibrillator. In brief, it gives one’s heart a treatment (shock) when it senses that is what it needs.</p> <p>You’ll notice that I was given a discharge diagnosis of Intraventricular hemorrhage. They found blood on my brain, which was probably the result of me falling. I experienced a cardiac arrest, a sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness.
I’m currently at my older son, Kenny’s home in Ft. Collins, Colorado, taking it easy. When I went to put my shirt on at the hospital I was surprised and had to laugh at the condition it was in…like it went through a shredding machine. It is testimony to what I went through.
I’ve included some photos from the hospital and one with my bike and trailer in police storage. I’ll be returning home sometime this week. O the luck of the Polish.

Steamboat Springs Colorado

On 7-12 I left Steamboat Lake for an enjoyable ride (no pushing the bike) of 33 miles to Steamboat Springs, stopping in Clark for these huge pancakes. Found a motel in Steamboat for $75 within walking distance to downtown.  Now that’s a deal in Steamboat. Steamboat has massive ski runs on the mountains that flank the town on the east and the west. It’s like Mammoth with it’s year round outdoor activities.

I toured the town using their free bus service with scheduled 1/2 hour pick ups. I spent two days here…just love this place. I was luckly that there was a mt. bike race on Wed with all age groups. Also, the Yampas River runs alongside the town with tubing a big hit. A bike paths parallels the river shaded by full grown trees. I went through my things and was able to send 8 lbs of stuff home. On 7-14 as I was heading out of town on my way to Kremmling, via the bike path, I took a photo of this fly fisherman.

I decided to ride the state highways to Kremmling, avoiding some of the nasty back “roads”. I was able to ride 54 miles with some of these miles climbing toward Gore pass the first day out of Steamboat. I camped last night off the highway with cattle standing guard. This morning, I started the day, working my way to Gore pass at 9500+ with the pesky flies in my face and biting my legs. The downhill to Kremmling was long and sweet and too fast for the flies.

I’m working on my blog in the office of this RV campground that I stayed in 2009 when riding across the U.S. IMG_2374-800x533 IMG_2417-800x533 IMG_2369-800x533IMG_2324-800x533IMG_2338-800x533IMG_2328-800x533IMG_2487-800x533IMG_2442-800x533IMG_2472-800x533

The “road” less traveled.

My anxiety started to abate when I got on my bike on 7-08-16 and headed out of Rawlins, Wyoming. The first 26 miles were a joy…steady riding with beautiful ranch land and not a care in the world.  Then, the Big Dipper, like in roller coaster, knocked the smugness out of me. The unfortunate thing about riding solo is that there is no one to take any photos of you pushing your bike up these unforgiving hills. It would probably look comical from the rear.

I was reluctant to go too fast downhill just trying to delay the inevitable of having to get off the bike and start pushing again. Later in the day a young kid rides up besides me and asked if I would like to ride with him. It was a nice of him, but I informed him that I was wasted and was looking for a place to set up camp. I could see him vanishing over the next monster hill as I pulled off on to a small gravel road and scouted for a place to bed down. I was so wasted that I rolled out my sleeping pad and laid flat on my back…that’s all the energy I could muster…I was running my empty.

After some time, I finally was able to set up my tent and make a home for myself. No dinner. I was just too exhausted to fix it, and where was Beverly, anyhow. I was able to take a couple of nice sunset photos because I was camped out on a bluff. I guess there are some things that you’re never too tired to do. In the middle of the night I went outside barefoot, to see a man about a car and like wow!!! I felt like I was walking on hot coals. Actually, the ground was covered with stickers. I think they call them Texas tacks. I rode 42 miles that first day.

The next day I rode only 12 miles, adding the accumulated effects of the day before with more monster hills. There’s a photo of my tent set up in the brush. Charlie had better accommodations in the Vietnam jungle. I spent the day trying to get my energy back by taking it easy and eating more and filling up on water. There was a stream nearby and I used my water filter. Another fly in the ointment, so to speak, were these pesky biting flies that just wouldn’t leave you alone. When I got inside my tent I would spend more than forever swatting flies against the sides of my tent with my cap.

Sunday started out nice, going through Aspen Alley (check out photo) and then riding on State highwway 70. Then, it was back to gravel with those nasty hills. There is a photo of a road that rises forever. I can’t remember how many miles I rode and pushed but I finally set up camp off the side of the road (check out photo). Actually, while I was struggling to get my bike and trailer up on this knoll, this carload of Charlie Manson lookalikes stops and does all the work for me. I bet they’re still talking about this crazy old man on the side of the hill. Also, there’s a photo of cows staring at me through the fence.

Well, things finally improved on Monday when I made it to Steamboat Lake. It was a relatively short ride but I wasn’t going to by pass up luxurious camping, like level ground and a table to eat on. In case you wondering, the last shower was in Rawlins. By the way, I’m writing this piece from a motel room in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where I did shower. I have a lot to say about Steamboat and several photos but I’ll save those gems for the next episode.IMG_2246-800x533IMG_2252-800x533IMG_2254-800x533IMG_2236-800x533IMG_2213-800x533IMG_2235-800x533IMG_2232-800x533IMG_2183-800x533IMG_2185-800x533IMG_2220-800x533IMG_2179-800x533IMG_2176-800x533IMG_2180-800x533

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to finish the Divide Ride

I’m writing this from a motel room in Rawlins, Wyoming where tomorrow morning I’ll start pedaling to the Mexican border.  On June 30th, I left Altadena in my truck with my bike and gear heading to Ft.Collins, where I spent the past few days visiting with my older son, Kenny and wife Rhonda, and granddaughters, Emily and Jessi.

Today (7-7-16) Kenny drove the granddaughters and myself to Rawlins, where I got dropped off while they took off for a three day backpacking trip. To get a general idea where I’ll be headed in the next few days, check out a map or use Google Earth, and go south from Rawlins to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Hope you enjoy the blog and it means a lot to me to know that you’re “pedaling” along with me. There will be photos in future blogs.

Carl

El fin

I had a tough time sleeping in my Rock Springs motel room because my mind was preoccupied with the start of the next day’s ride. What happened is that I lost my sense of direction. East felt like west and west felt like east. Twice, I got up in the middle of the night and took a map and a compass out to see which of the two on ramps on I-80 I should use. One was closer to the direction I wanted to go, west, but it felt like it was going east. My mind said one direction while the map and compass said the opposite.

On Saturday, I started my ride just before 7am and headed the direction the map told me to go. As I got to the on ramp my sense of direction amazing returned. I rode 7 miles on I-80 and got off the ramp to U.S. 191. As soon as I got on U.S. 191, I started climbing, climbing, climbing. Even when I reached the plateau the climbs continued. Finally, when I reached the south end of the plateau the road descended, but only for a few miles. I couldn’t believe it, it started climbing. There’s a photo of one of the climbs which in the distance I couldn’t believe was an actual road until I saw a car coming down. With about 100 yards to the top of this hill I had to push the bike.

With a 1/4 of a mile to Dutch John, which took me 12 hours to complete 66 miles, there was of course, a hill. There was tent camping behind the general store, and I was informed that the ride to Vernal had more down hills. Not so. The ride started downhill toward the Flaming Gorge Dam but the road climbed the rest of the day from 6,500 feet at the dam to 8400 at the summit. There was one stretch which I believe set the record for the longest continuous ascent.

To add insult to injury, it started to rain, and this was cold downpour rain.  At one point, I was pushing my bike up this steep hill, getting soaked, while cars, semis, motor homes, etc. were gunning their engines as they passed along side me on their way to the top. Visibility would have been better looking through a gunnysack.

Now, the best part. The rain stopped, and there was finally, sun. A few miles after the summit there was this sign, which I wanted to take a photo of but too wet to get the camera out, that stated that there were 10 switchbacks ahead with 9% being the steepest descent. The switchbacks were incredibly long and it was basically, a thrill ride with the bike careening close to the edge of the road seemingly, forever. I’ll never forget this descent. Hopefully, they have a name for it. I made it to Vernal around 6pm.

I left Vernal, Utah just before 7am because I was scheduled to meet my brother, Tony, in Rangely, Colorado at 5pm…53 miles and I didn’t know what the terrain was like. Well, overall, it was one of the more forgiving rides: flat, downhills, no wind, and with reasonable ascents. I made it to Dinosaur, Colorado at 12:30 and this is 15 miles north of Rangely.

I called my brother and he said that he was near Rangely and would head my way and pick me up. Around six miles outside of Dinosaur, Tony spotted me, stopped, and we loaded his SUV with the bike and trailer.

Good thing I didn’t attempt to ride to Grand Junction because the highway from Rangely to GJ is, in a nut shell, not made for bicycles, very dangerous. After spending the night at Tony’s we drove to Primm, Nevada, spent the night there and headed for Altadena.

In Primm, I talked to Beverly about my need to see a doctor regarding my blistered lower lip which has been driving me insane with a constant burning sensation. She set up an appointment for 3:30 on the day we would arrive, Wednesday.

While at my doctor’s, I decided to mention that my legs, especially, the left one would get swollen during the day but at night return to normal. He didn’t waste anytime sending me to the lab to draw blood. The lab results showed that I needed an ultra sound. The ultra sound confirmed that I have Deep Vein Thrombosis DVT and require treatment, now.

After instructions from the nurse, I injected Lovenox into my right love handle and will have to do this twice a day for seven days, along with taking Warfarin (anticoagulant) probably for the rest of my life because I had the same problem five years ago. The doctor’s appointment was for 3:30 and we:Tony, Beverly, and yours truly, didn’t get home until 11:30.

I often wonder how things would have turned out if I would have continued the ride and not bailed early or by not having a blistered lip that got me in the doctor’s office or by not mentioning the swollen legs.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed the ride.

As Always, Carl

 

Addendum:  My doctor also, made a referral for me to see a hematologist (blood doctor). One day short of finishing giving myself injections I saw a hematologist. His conclusion was that I didn’t have another blood clot but that the swelling is the result of the vein in my left leg narrowing. He recommended compression socks (see photo) and told me to discontinue the injections and the Warfarin….Hooray!

Steepest Climb(1)Bike Packed to go Home 9-17-14Colorado signCompreeion SockFlaming Gorge Dam distanceOn to Dutch John, UtahRumble Strips Utah

 

Utah signDam Senior Parking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Latest Plan

After leaving Whiskey Grove Campground there’s only a little over two miles of gravel before the road turns to pavement and pavement all the way to Pinedale, which is only 35 miles. I heard from many sources that the road is either flat or downhill, not so, there are numerous inclines and they weren’t ant hills. Oh well!

Arriving at Pinedale was a shocker when I looked for a room to rent. Nothing under $90. The RV park was right in the middle of town, but it made the Bates Motel look like the Hilton. I was concerned that someone would make off with my things, so I got a $90 room.

Pinedale, according to the author of Cycling the Great Divide, is the last supply point before heading across the 3 to 4 day wasteland known as the Great Divide Basin. So my main concern was making sure I was going to make it across the basin by having enough food and water. This trek has been on my mind since the start of the tour and at times even before.

I bought a couple of extra water bottles, peanut butter, six Top Ramen “meals”, cookies, instant oatmeal, fig nutens, and candy.

The next morning, when I went to check out the motel’s breakfast, I discovered that the coffee machine was broken and so was the waffle maker. I rushed into the reception area and had a hizzie fit. The receptionist was very apologetic and reduced my bill to $64…nice. But the sad part was when she related, tearfully, how the hotel changed hands the day before and everyone was getting canned.

On 9-09-14, I packed my things and rode the 14 miles to Boulder to stay in a RV park at $15 a day. Boulder is basically, a gas station, connivance store, and cafe. It’s also,14 miles closer to the Great  Divide Basin.

By chance, the maintenance staff informed me about the National Weather Service and that all I needed to do was click on the area that I was concerned with and I would receive the latest 5 day forecast.

That’s exactly what I, did and what a shocker the forecast was for the Great Divide Basin. Rain, snow, wind gusts up to 27mph. Everything but hot lava. The storm would start on Wednesday night and clear out on Friday. So my plan was to stay at the RV campground until Friday am and then take off for the Great Divide Basin.

On Wednesday evening, I read over all the caveats regarding the Great Divide Basin and thought I don’t want to really to do it. Moments later I was checking my voice mail, which by the way I never check, and saw a message from my brother. Beverly informed me that Tony is planning on going to Ojai next week and will pass right by our house on his way.  I called Tony and I mentioned that Boulder is almost directly north of Grand Junction where he lives. Basically, highway 191. By going with my brother I won’t have to ship my bike home and will avoid the hassle of flying.

So, here’s the latest plan. Yesterday (9-11-14) I took off from Boulder with the crazy idea that I could ride the 88 miles to Rock Springs. Well, even with the best of days I don’t thing I can do 88 miles, and it wasn’t the best of days. The highway was a roller coaster with some real challenging climbs and then the wind started. Check the photo with the American flag taken in Farson, Wyoming.  Now if the wind was at my back I would have made Rock Springs and points further south. By the way, I spent the night at the Bates Motel in Farson,

The next morning, I knew I was in for it, when I saw all the full size pick up’s and stake bed trucks parked in front of the cafe across from the motel. Sure enough, when I walked in with my Little Lord Fauntleroy bike shorts with leg warmers, heads turned from the bunch of farmers having their coffee. One farmer even directed a comment toward me about riding a bicycle out on the highway, but I didn’t get the particulars and I wasn’t going to ask for a repeat.

I made it to Rock Springs at around 1pm today. It was only 42 miles but I couldn’t make it to the next town, which is Dutch John, Utah because it would have been over 100 miles. Tomorrow I’m headed to Dutch John, which is not a town, but a resort on the Green River, that also has tent camping. Eventually, I’ll make it to Grand Junction and then Tony and I will head to Southern California with bike and trailer.

By the way, the photo with the ruts in the dirt was made by the cover wagons of the pioneers in the 1850s.

 

Young LlamasbFarson Ice CreamBates Motel Farson, WYHistorical Marker for PioneersGroup of LlamasHighway to Rock Springs, WYRuts from Wagon Wheels 1850'sRV Campground  Pinedale, WYThe flag doesn't lie

Less Miles…. More Enjoyment

On 9-04-14, after finishing my blog, I got a pizza and Gatorade for lunch and took off for a campground that was only 25 miles away. I thought about going over Togwotee Pass 9,658′ when told by two different people that it was only 11 miles to the top, but decided to set up camp, even though it was only 3:30. Can you believe, that I actually bought firewood. Now that’s a first.

The next day, I started fresh in attacking Togwotee (take the w out to pronounce it) Pass. When I got to 9 miles I thought it’s going to have to get really steep to gain another 1,000 feet. Well,11 miles went by and no pass, which was a relief. Finally, at 18 miles I reached the summit. It was a good decision to be lazy the day before.

It was quite a ride coming down the other side. There was a sign that showed that for the next nine miles there was a 2 to 6% descent. The only problem, was the cold air, that was blasting you in the face.

I stopped at the Lava Mountain Resort to warm up and get some goodies. What was interesting was that it was $15 to pitch your tent and $25 to rent a cabin. It was early, and I really planned on going further, but I asked to see the cabins and bingo. The rest is history.

Besides, the comfort in not sleeping on dirt, I was able to get the funk out of my clothes with the Laundromat. I had diner at the resort’s restaurant which included two beers.

9-06-14, was a tough day. It started with a nice, mostly downhill 15 mile ride on a highway, but after leaving the highway the road turned to uphill gravel for almost five miles. I was able to ride the whole way with frequent stops to catch my breath. It was the next climb, Union Pass 9,210 that got me off the bike and into the pushing mode for over four miles.

I rode as far as South Fork Fish Creek because there is plenty of water and the next reliable water source was too far away. Where I camped was not an “official” campground, but just a fire ring out on a knoll that had a fantastic panoramic view. There was one disconcerting thing that could interrupt your sleep, and that was the sign about 50 yards away informing you about Grizzly Bears.

There were no grizzly bears, at least, I didn’t see any or hear any, but it did get cold. By the time I got my camera out the digital thermometer went from 22 to 24 degrees. That frost not frosting on my bike seat. Because I knew that today’s ride would only be 25 miles I took my  time packing in addition I wanted the sun to defrost my gear.

I left camp at 10am and rode to Whiskey Campground. There was a lot of downhill riding but it was pretty technical. You had to keep your reflexes in overload to keep from spilling. As soon as I got off my bike at the campground it started to rain with lightening and thunder. I set up tent and tossed my gear inside. My campsite was about 40 feet from the roaring Green River. I put my food in a bag with a note that I was a bike camper, in the outhouse, for bear protection.

 

 

Storm clouds Fish Creek, WYA Road Less Traveled Fish Creek,WYCabin  Lava Mt. Togwotee Pass,WY24 Degrees Fish Creek, WYCamp Site Fish Creek,WYCamping Fish Creek, WYGrizzy Bear Sign Fish Creek, WYColt by Big Wind River, WYFrosty Seat Fish Creek, WY

Togwotee Pass, WY

 

 

 

Widow Maker

On Sunday, 8-31-14 the skies looked much better, but there were still some dark clouds hanging around. As I was following Gary and Gail away from the motel, I made a decision not to go the way they were headed and instead decided to take the I-15 to Monida and catch the bike route from there. I was concerned about the 10 miles of mud the sacrosanct bike route took one through.

The I-15 had a wide shoulder, there was little or no traffic, and I cut 10 miles off the route. I learned a lot from Lance Armstrong. Some time after I arrived at Red Rock Lake campground, in strolls Gary and Gail, mud and all.

The camp had its resident kook. He had a nice truck but talked about sleeping in the campground’s restroom because of the rain the night before. I told him that there wouldn’t be any rain for the next seven days. He decided to sleep in a horse trailer that was parked next to sage brush instead of the out house. That night we had thunder, lightening, and rain. The next day this Kook starts yelling at me “you said there wasn’t going to be any  rain”. Oh well.

On 9-1-14, after enduring route 455, which was a poor excuse for a single track, I met up with G&G at a Subway next to U.S. 20. Gary said that they were going another 30 miles and I said that I was pooped and couldn’t go any further. We said our goodbyes and wished each other best wishes and that maybe we might see each other down the road.

They took off and I rode down U.S. 20 looking for a camp site. I finally found one, and sat down at a picnic table and looked over the bike map. It was around 3:30 and I thought it was too early to camp. I saw that I could take U.S. 20 to U.S. 47 and end up at the place G&G were headed to without riding on mushy gravel.

I took off on the bike and rode on U.S. 20, which wasn’t the nicest road to bike on, but finally got to U.S. 47 which was a cyclist’s dream; a smooth flat, with occasional hills that went down, road with a wide shoulder, beautiful scenery, and no traffic. My plan was to sleep off the side of the road, but when I got to  Mesa Falls, my destination, there was the Grandview Campgrounds. Wow! and it was starting to get dark. So, I ended up, like G&G, riding 60 miles.

On 9-2-14, I rode about two miles and who do I see drying out their tent, G&G. Today’s ride was from Mesa falls to Flagg Ranch, 47 miles, and as Mr. McCoy, the author for cycling the Divide, writes, there’s some rough road but flat. Rough Road, that’s like saying Hiroshima was a fire cracker. It was the deal breaker, the prima dona, the widow maker, of all the “roads” I rode since starting the Divide. Flat? We gained over 4,000′. I think I pushed my bike more than I rode it. A four wheeler would have a though time on this “road”. G&G left a note on the road which showed that they were an hour ahead of me.

I arrived at Flagg Ranch just after dark and couldn’t find G&G so I set up my tent and went to the lodge, very nice, and had a cheese burger and a Corona.

On 9-03-14, after looking around the camp grounds for G&G for not, I gave up and rode toward the Grand Tetons. When I got to the turn off for Colter Bay, I decided to ride there, because I knew that they  had a good size store.

Stepping back a moment, the night before, after giving it some thought, I decided to give up the idea of riding to Mexico. I started too late, I have too much gear, I’m not enjoying the ride, it’s becoming a beat the clock endeavor. I require more recovery time(age) and I’m not getting it. There’s also altitude that I didn’t give much thought to. I’m riding between 6,000 and 7,000 feet and that takes its toll. I’m doing a blog which takes time and one’s forever looking for wifi. I had less pressure when I worked full time. Off road mountain biking with camping gear is nothing like touring on the road. I could feel myself relaxing when I decided that I would ride to Breckenridge, Colorado and check to see if Kenny would pick me up in a truck.

Listen to this, I decided to camp at Colter Bay, now that I don’t have to hurry off to Mexico. and some time after setting up camp, G&G pull up and have the camp site next to mine. We started laughing. What’s the chance? They spent last night at the lodge and not in the campground. They’re staying the night, but are planning on riding 55 miles the next day. Forget that.

This morning, 9-04-14, We said our goodbyes, again, as G&G were packing their things and I was getting ready to head to the laundromat to work on my blog. Now for the photos.

 

 

Bear LockerRoad to Red Rock Lakeskennedy Lima, MTTrumpet birdsI-15 GridlockUpper Red Rock LakesRed Rocks Lake 8-31-14Gary before Flagg RanchPeats Steak HouseGary & Gail Another Day in Paradisefly fishermanColter Bay, WY 9-04-14 ed

 

 

 

Three Days in Two

Rain at Mountain View MotelThis post so soon after the last one is the result of rain. I’m currently in a motel room in Lima, MT, although, I should be on the road but woke up to rain and, a cold rain at that, and decided to stay put. Originally, I planned on taking three days to ride from the Elkhorn Hot Springs to Lima (as in Lima beans) but the two cyclists, Gary and Gail, informed me that they were going to ride 50 miles each day to make it in two days.

Two days seemed over the top. I stopped at Bannack State Park (see photos), which is a ghost town but Gary and Gail rode on. I wouldn’t recommend going to Bannack, but I would recommend Virginia City, Nevada and Brody, California.

After, Bannack it was a roller coaster ride on dirt (see photo, in addition we climbed 2240′ and descended 2670′). I just kept riding and riding throughout the day, and saw no reason to set up camp as long as there was plenty of sun and I felt reasonably strong.   Thunder and lightening started to make it’s presence known so I kept riding while looking for a place to set up camp.

After, riding 57+ miles I spotted Gary and Gail setting up their camp on a hillside covered with sagebrush. I dragged my bike and trailer about thirty feet up the hill to a flat area that was bare of sagebrush and steaming cow pies. As soon as I got my tent set up it started with a downpour. I climbed into my tent where it felt cozy as the rain slapped against it.

The rain was short lived, and I went out and set up my stove, and whipped up a bowl up Top Ramen. For dessert, I had fig newtons. The next morning, I flung the rain fly out of the way to check the weather. There were some awesome clouds and I reached over for my camera and took a photo of my trailer with the clouds in the background (see photo).

We started out around 8am for a long day to reach Lima. We got slammed with a nasty headwind as we rode in the open, but lucked out as we turned and rode parallel and close to these cliffs. The valley we were riding in was ranch land, and besides the Black Angus cattle, they grew hay for cattle feed in the Winter.

As we rode, actually, Gary and Gail were a ways ahead of me, a group of four wheelers rode pass me. The last member of the group was an older man who stopped to talk. He mentioned that there are five generations of his family that have been involved with the Hansen Ranch. His grandfather homesteaded the land. He pointed in the distance and said “see that mountain that looks like a tit well just to the right of it is where the road goes”. Thanks.

The road the rancher was talking about, is Medicine Lodge Sheep Creek Divide, and it was one steep road (see photo of Gary and Gail pushing their bikes). To add insult to injury, we were told that it’s all downhill on the other side.  Not so.

After, putting in some miles the road turned into one long meandering downhill snake, that traversed the valley floor and then through a canyon with massive rock monolifts. What was interesting was the number of caves in these granite rock mountains.

The road surface for most of the ride was gravel, which can get old after a while, even if it’s downhill. The cattle on the road (see photo) can be intimidating, especially, the ones without an utter.  So far, the intimidation proves to be in one’s imagination for they move away when you get close enough. Maybe they’re playing Mexican standoff.

After, 43 miles of gravel and dirt you turn on to the frontage road that parallels the I-15. Only seven miles to go and on asphalt, You’re home. Want to bet? As soon as you make the turn you get hit in the face with an unrelenting nasty headwind. I didn’t think that I was going to make it to Lima. I stopped so many times to rest and felt like giving up. When I got within a mile, I picked up steam and here I am in Lima, like in Lima beans.

Photo: On swing at Elkhorn Hot springs

Photo: Shoe tree at Mountain View Motel. Shoes of Continental Divide hikers.

Photo: Pork Chops at Elkhorn Hot Springs.

Photo: Mountain view Motel sign. Sorry, if you were thinking of dressing your deer in the bathtub.

 

Swing at Elkhorn (2)Pork Chops at ElkhornBig Sheep Creek Canyon (2)Horsing around on Highway 278 (2)Gail and Gary Med Lodge Divide (2)Continental Divide Hikers (2)Top of Med Lodge Divide (2)Bannack Ghost Town (2)Stop to filter water (2)Bannack Ghost Town 1 (2)Road out of Bannack,MT (2)Sign at Mt View Motel, Lima, MT (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elkhorn HOT SPRINGS, Montana

       This will be a short update. I’ve been at the Elkhorn Hot Springs for the past two days and it’s been the highlight of the trip so far. I came close to missing this experience when I first spotted the steep climb off the main road and had to think twice before deciding to push my bike up this long gravel road. When I got to the top I checked my phone and noticed that there was no cell phone or internet service, so I decided to take off. When I rode by the lodge on my way out someone yelled for me to stop.

I stopped and when I was informed, yes, they don’t have cell phone service but they do have internet service and the cost for a room is $35 which includes breakfast and the use of the pool facilities, I signed the dotted line.

The staff have been so gracious and helpful…is this a dream? The food was excellent and more than enough. I used the pool several times, which is surrounded by tall pines, well they look like pines. Overall, it has a rustic,Topanga Canyon, feel to it. I included photos.

Today, three other cyclists arrived and we shared our war stories.  Tomorrow, we’re off for more adventure.

Elkhorn Lodge 5Elkhorn Hot Springs Pool 2Elkhorn Hot Springs Carl(1)Elkhorn Hot Springs Pool(1)Elkhorn LodgeElkhorn Lodge 3Elkhorn Lodge 4Elkhorn Lodge 6

Loading...
X