Three Days in Two
December 30th, 2014
This 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.