West Yellowstone, Montana 1400 give or take
As always, where to begin? The last days have been filled with so much beauty. The Bitterroots, Beaverhead and countless other mountain ranges. Killer mosquitoes, huge storms and a thousand other things. I wish I could tell about them all.
I guess I'll tell you about my day yesterday. What a day!! I'm not sure what it was but I felt as fresh as a spring rain. My legs that is, other parts may be a bit south. Got off nice and early from the town of Dillon MT after an enormous greasy b-fast and about a gallon of coffee. I felt like there was no limit to what my legs could do. The miles just flew by, and the scenery was fantastic. Only one small setback. It's getting incredibly hot. 90's and scorching. Some of you out there may say "ahh yes, but it's a dry heat". I will forgo my response to this theory because I was alway taught if you have nothing nice to say say nothing at all. Dry or not, it's murderous. I can't seem to ever drink enough water. The heat, however, is no match for the joy of traveling with such freedom. It also led to another great purge of gear. I am now officially down to bare bones. All the long underwear, hats and socks are gone. Stay tuned, rain gear and fleece will be going soon. anyway, we're talking shop, back to the riding.
Seeing as I seem to have been born under a lucky sign for this trip, soon after lightening my load the clouds began to roll in. What a blessing!!! There were even short bursts of rain. I would have loved a serious downpour, but anything was better than nothing. The riding was fairly easy for the first 55 miles to Va. City. I took a nice relaxing break here and planned to stay for a bit, but the clouds kept rolling in. Within minutes there was a hellacious wind blowing......right up the pass outside of town. Can't pass that up, so I was off. while the pass was incredibly steep, the wind gave me that extra boost and I topped out in no time. If you had told me I would be climbing hills like that a few months ago I never would have left home. These days, it's just what you do. The wind was blowing so strong it literally carried me over the 1/2mile of flat on the top, as though it wanted me to see what was on the other side.....
And what was on the other side. THE HOLY OF HOLIES. The one. The alpha and the omega. Moment of silence please. In the next 16 minutes I covered 9 miles. Do the math. This was the one. It took a death grip on both front and rear brakes to keep the bike under 35 mph, which is fast enough for me. And the view was unrivaled. Huge granite peaks ringing all sides of the valley. I'm not sure whether I was more happy or scared, but I screamed like an idiot the whole way. What a ride.
At the bottom in the town of Ennis was where I had planned to spend the night, but I arrived so early I decided to press on. I had had a few easy days and really felt like seeing what I had. Whether this was a good idea is up for debate. For the next four hours I battled into a 30 knot headwind, sometimes barely making forward progress and covering only 25 more mile. The pace was barley faster than a climbing speed. But I felt great and was simply happy to be healthy and able. I wasn't worried about the miles, I just wanted to keep going.
I cut it off at a clean 95 miles and set up camp with just enought time to write in my journal and do a little reading before dark. My legs hurt, my heart swelled and my mind raced. Yesterday was the first day that it struck me that I'm really out there. A long way from home both east and west. It feels good.I have really fallen into a rythm out here. Ahh, but the day was over. Shortly after I dozed off I was awakened by the flashing of lightning over the ridge next to my camp. What followed was the biggest baddest storm I have ever seen. The wind must have been blowing at least 50 knots consistently with gusts much higher. I have never seen so much lighting in my life, and at times the whole earth seemed to shake when the thunder rollled. What an experience. My only worry was that my tent would rip or a pole break. But it was solid as a rock. It was one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced. I felt very small during that 1/2 hour or so.
I'm at the gates of Yellowstone (Jellystone) National Park currently. I haven't decided whether or not to go in tonight or tomorrow. The next few days should be some of the most beautiful of the trip, and that's saying a lot. These past 3 or 400 miles have been amazing. The mountains and vistas here could almost swallow a person. It's hard to believe but soon I'll be at the point of no return, where it is farther to go back than forward. I've never felt so healthy or confident in my life. I am really seeing the country in a whole new way.
Well, my time on the computer is coming to and end. Until next time. Big hugs to all my family and loved ones. I'll see ya'll sooner than you think!!!!