Category Archive: Uncategorized

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

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.

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

Pavement…How Sweet it is

In my last blog I said very little regarding Butte, that’s because I saw very little of Butte. When I got off I-90 I went directly to the first motel I saw which was next to the off ramp. I rented a room and took a hot bath to thaw out my bones. I went to the Safeway down the street to get supplies for the next day’s ride and then got a burger. I hadn’t used the $20 the fly fisherman gave me.

I returned to my room, which looked like a war zone, and started working on my blog. I ran into a bunch of problems to the point that I had to get a hold of Keith. He was able to work the blog on his end. Just minutes before midnight I was able to complete my blog. I forgot to mention that I blew away several paragraphs of text when I transferred some photos to the blog and had to redo the text. Enough of Butte.

The ride out of butte on 8-23-14 went smooth for several miles then there was this brute of a climb.  I had company for awhile when this woman, who is doing some of the Divide, pushed her bike along side me.  She proved to be too young, too strong, and had minimal gear so It wasn’t long before I was pushing alone.

Miles later, I reached a plateau where you actually cross over the Continental Divide. It was cold at the top and when I checked my thermometer it read 44 degrees.

The ride down from the Plateau went for miles through open range land with rolling hills and sage for the view. At times cattle stood in the road way, which was gravel, and I was concerned because it didn’t look they would move, or if they did, it would be at me. Well, at the last moment, they would gallop off.

As the gravel road headed downward, I forgot to mention that I had to pushed my bike up numerous hills, toward the I-15 there were two choices when you reached the frontage road, turn left and end up the next day tackling a real nasty ass kicking, although scenic (like who’s smelling the roses) section, or turn right and take the pavement for the next two days.

Forget the glory, I took the pavement, which turned out to be like riding on carpet, and the only concern I had was there were no campgrounds listed on the map that wasn’t another day’s ride away. My plan was to ride until I found some place off the side of the road where I could camp, but there was a problem, every square inch of land was fenced and festooned with No Trespassing signs.

As I turned off the frontage road, onto U.S. 43, I kept my eyes open for a place to bed down. If you forgot, my tent, tarp, and rain fly, are more than wet from the Merry Widow Campground soaking. Imagine, sleeping off the side of the road inside a dripping wet tent.

After riding a little over a mile, I saw it, but didn’t believe it, Campgrounds. As I turned off the road toward the entrance, I was giddy but still skeptical that there was an actual campground. There it was, and with several available sites. In addition to the find, the sun popped out and I was able to dry out my gear. In addition, the neighbor next to me, brought over some hot dogs for my Ramen.

I took the road less traveled and how sweet it was.

 

On 8-25-14, I resumed riding on U.S. 43 which follows the Wise River. It was only 10 miles to the Wise River Cafe where my plan was to have breakfast. I had a big breakfast and followed it up with peach pie and ice cream. I used the $20 from the fly fisherman to pay for the breakfast. It was just enough.

I started down U.S. 43 and after about 2 miles I decided to check my map and compass and I discovered that I needed to go south on U.S. 73. There’s a wasted 4 miles. This was another smooth as silk highway with minimal traffic. It’s referred to as one of America’s Scenic Byways.

As I was headed south this cyclist going north yells to me, ” are you riding the whole mountain?”. I was thinking what did he mean by that because the road only had a gradual incline. Well, I learned later that there are some tough climbs to get to tonight’s campsite with more and tougher ones to follow tomorrow.

I camped at Little Joe’s Campground, climbing 2100′. This has been basically, a roller coaster highway following the river where fishermen using drift boats with one person using oaks to hold the boat steady while the others fish.

I built a campfire for the first time since starting the Divide. I spent a lot of time fanning the fire to get it going. I found a log to sit on and wrote notes for my blog. I had to put my down jacket over my sleeping bag to keep warm. I found out the next morning with my digital thermometer that it got down to 26 degrees.

On 8-26-14, I started the day with one climb after another. I climbed close to 1500′ in 8 miles. There was this long steep descent that was exhilarating if not fun. I’m currently staying at the Elkhorn Hot Springs. This was a real find.

 

Get your feet wetFishing on Wise River(1)View from bike routeSign on U.S. 73U.S. 73 Senic BywayScene on U.S. 73Nasty windGrid lock on U.S. 73

 

Toughest Day on the Divide

The weather forecast for the next few days is rain and I’m not staying put in Helena so on 8-21-14 I rode out of Helena into a light rain looking for Grizzly Gulch rd. I found it, and for the first time spotted an official Divide Route sign. It was 24 miles to Park Lake with some steep climbs that required me to push the bike. The elevation is 6150′ and for the first time I had to wear my down jacket. I met some fly fishermen who were loading their truck. One of the fishermen, Dave, showed the most interest in my trip. He asked me if I’m stopping in Butte, and I said yes, and then wondered why he asked that question. He then pulls out a $20 bill and hands it to me, stating it’s for dinner in Butte. He was also very helpful in providing detailed directions for a tricky section of the route.  There was thunder and lightening and rain while I listened to classical music on my ipod.

Left campsite at Lake Park at 8am to a cold, foggy, and light rain morning, although the whole day was like this. In a few miles I reached the section of the route that will live in infamy, as far as I’m concerned. This is a two mile plus motocross course it was not intended for bicycles. It took me three hours to finish this section. One only gets a partial sense of the wanton nastiest this section provides through photos. Every so often the left pedal would hit the back of my right calf while I pushed the bike. My leg looked like someone used a meat tenderizing mallet on it.

I camped at Merry Widow Campground in Bain, which is 30 miles north of Butte. It’s a weird experience riding through the back woods all day, thinking that this is the world, and then entering a clearing and out pops the I-15. It rained all night and it was a bitch packing all my gear, especially, the tent, tarp, and rain fly and the wetness adds to the weight. Just what I need is more weight.

After a big breakfast in the town of Bain I headed south toward Butte. The ride wasn’t too bad except for the constant cold rain. When I checked into a motel I had a very difficult time unbuckling my helmet because my fingers wouldn’t cooperate. As I said it was cold.

 

#1 Baddest Divide Section 2#1 Baddest Divide Section 3

#1 Baddest Divide Section 4# 1 Baddest Divide SectionSign when leaving Helena#1 Baddest Divide Section 5Park Lake Storm

Lay Over in Helena, MT

On 8-18-14 the ride out of Lincoln began on a dusty gravel road that led 15 miles to Stemple Pass. The road,  Sleepy Hallow (sic) Ave./Stemple Pass Rd. leads pass Ted Kaczynski’s former residence. In fact, I stopped to talk to a rancher who was spraying weeds between his property and the road. He pointed to a knoll where Ted’s “cabin” was located.  He remembers Ted passing his ranch, as the Unabomber walked to and from Lincoln, always keeping to himself.

I was able to ride almost 14 miles before the road became too steep and I had to push the bike to the top. I included a photo at the top which has benches for cross country skiers. The top wasn’t the end of pushing the bike for there was more pushing on the road I turned left on. I rode for quite a while on a ridge with a view of the forest as far as the eye could see.

I missed a turn, need to follow the map much closer, and ended going on this, at least ten miles, hang on to the seat of you pants, downhill “run”. The road left the forest and exited into this wide valley. I had no idea where I was, but felt relieved when the road I was on, ended at a T and there was this sign that read Helena 28 miles. All I that to do was turn left and go South. It was around 3:30 and I thought I had a chance of making it to Helena before nighttime. This was a wide gravel road that cut through ranch land. There were these big tracker like combines that were gathering the cut hay into these huge rolls(1500 pounds each) to store for feeding their cattle during the winter.

I was cranking on the pedals, but at times had to slow down, because the wash board became so jarring that I was afraid of loosing control of the handlebars. Finally, I spotted a store, Canyon Creek, that was around 1/4 of a mile after where the gravel road turned to pavement. Was I in luck, the store also had an area for camping and camping on thick soft grass, not the hard gravel that I was used to. See photo of camp ground. The first thing the owner of the store asked “are you doing the Divide?”. She said she gets a few of them time to time. It was a tough day, for I climbed 2890′. I don’t think I would have made Helena.

On 8-19-14 I rode into Helena and rented a room. My plan was to have a lay over day, i.e., spend two nights here. I spent my time in Helena taking care of business, such as, buying supplies, cleaning my bike chain and lubing it, eating at Panda Express and MacDonald’s. It’s weird seeing all these familiar stores, Home Depot, Lowes, Office Depot, etc. It’s like you haven’t left home.

My big concern is the weather. There’s a storm predicted, with T-storms on Thursday and “regular” rain for Friday. I don’t want to spend any more time in a motel room. Need to hit the road. By the way, I spotted quite a few of these roadside memorials, young people, how sad.

 

U.S. 279 MemorialButterfly on bike seatCatheral HelenaCanyon Creek, MT

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pushing the bike

It’s been a while since I last  got on the computer mainly because they don’t have wifi in tents. On 8-12-14 I rode 41+ miles mostly on farm roads, which was a treat, from all the riding through dense forest. I camped at a state campground a mile from the quaint town of Big Fork with views of Flathead Lake, which by the way is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi.

To give my dupa a rest, I decided to walk to town for dinner. I found a pizza place and besides pizza, I had two beers and two jello shooters. With all the riding and the booze, I was feeling a little light headed and looked like  someone who is failing a sobriety test as I was making my way back to camp. Twice, I had take a break by sitting on the stoops of a store. Half way up this long steep  hill to reach the campground I stuck out my thumb and got a ride.

I was dreading the next day’s ride because of a 6 mile steep climb that is mentioned in the book and on the map. I knew that I would have to push my bike and my ever so heavy trailer for 6 miles and of course that’s what I did, and in 90 degree weather. It took more than a few hours to reach the top. I averaged around 1 1/2 miles an hour.

The top was so sweet with the added attraction of an 8 mile, hang by the seat of your pants, downhill. You had to really grip the handlebars because much of the road surface was crushed rock that was laid a little too thick in places. I think you get the picture.

When I was close to the end of the downhill I happened to look at my handlebar bag and noticed that my bike map was missing. It fits under a sheet of plastic. I went into a panic, because without this very detailed map the ride is impossible. I unhitched the trailer and started riding back up to look for the map, and after about less than a mile, I turned around and hitched the trailer back up.

After riding for a few minutes, I spot a forest service truck, from Arizona no less, coming up the hill. I stop them and let them know my situation. They gave me their blessings and continued on.  My mind was flooded with possible, actually, impossible ways that I could get a new map. Around two hours later I hear this truck behind me, it’s the forest service truck and this guy is waving the map. I did not make this up.

The next day, 8-14-12, I fixed myself, freeze dried Pasta Primavera for breakfast. I was in no shape to fix dinner the night before. There was a light rain that stopped after a couple of hours of riding. I decided to avoid the forest, beating me up too much, and took highway 83 to the next stopping point which was Holland Lake. The highway had it’s own disadvantages, narrow shoulders with speeding cars, trucks, cars pulling trailers, and even a truck pulling a trailer and the trailer pulling a boat.

Holland Lake is a very popular camping and boating spot. It’s a beautiful place surround by majestic mountains. That night, I was in for a treat from mother nature; violent thunder and lightening. Of course it rained, and to my surprise my rain fly failed me. Of all places the water dripped, it had to be on my face. I threw my jacket over my face but then I felt that I was suffocating.  Finally, I got out of the tent; and getting a good soaking as I arranged my ground cloth over the top of my tent. It worked.

Took highway 83 to Seeley Lake on 8-15-14, where believe it or not, nothing event full happened.  I’ll be back in the forest when I leave Seeley Lake.

On 8-16-14 I left Seeley Lake at 8am and didn’t get to Big Nelson Campground until 6pm. I rode through the forest most of the way. I rode 47 miles and gained 2580 feet with a lose of 2060. This campground leaves much to be desired. There’s only 10 camping sites, and two of them, mind being one of them, are situated below the roadway. I had to unpack most of my things on the shoulder of the road and carry them down on these homemade steps cut into the embankment.

Sometime later, the neighbor campers came over with a 32 inch chain saw and an axe. Good thing I wasn’t camping in Texas. They cut up firewood for me and even got the fire going. Also, they brought me a bottle of Kona beer. The next day they came over to carry my bike and trailer up to the roadway. Their names are Paul and Josh. I gave them a free copy of my blog.

It’s 8-17-14 and I’ve been cooped up in a motel room working on the blog. This am I left Big Nelson and rode and also, pushed my bike to get to Lincoln. I had 5 miles of pushing. I met a couple from Spain who are doing the Divide. Now I have left to do is to upload some photos.

Sunset on Flathead LakeHolland Lake MTBig Fork, MTCoffee on Holland LakeMontana MailboxAlmost Home SignJosh Cutting fire WordMontana FarmKilroyPaul Spliting FirewoodResting on Climb

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