Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 42, Mpola mpola

Day 42, Twin Bridges, MT – Jackson, MT 76 miles (3076 total)

July 22, 2008

Time on bike: 8:48:09

Avg: 8.7

Daily Ascent: 3770 ft (50 ft/mi)

Elevation at days end: 6500 ft

Max: 38.5 mph

“Mpola mpola” (“slowly by slowly” in Uganda) Montana is nicknamed “Big Sky Country” and it is that indeed! The expanse of sky from mountaintop to mountaintop is breathtaking. I’ve seen a number of log-cabin barns and other small farm structures along the way. It’s become my visual identity of Montana thus far.

I decided to cycle 25 miles before breakfast, but uphills and headwinds prevented me from getting there until 11am. Breakfast was in Dillon, MT, population 3,752. After Dillon was a long, barren stretch up 2 mountain passes. First was Badger Pass, elevation 6,760 ft and then Big Hole Pass, elevation 7,360 ft. A lot of slow climbing today, and into headwinds, not that they make much difference when you’re peddling 4 mph. Before the 2nd climb the sky started to darken on me quickly and I could see that it was raining off to my left. Then it began to drizzle on me. I threw on my rain gear and explored my options. There was a ranch just up ahead, but the rain didn’t look to serious. I started to forge ahead when I saw a corrugated steel, cylindrical building which had sand inside. Must have been owned by the state or something. I decided to pull in there and wait to see what was to happen. Sure enough, bigger than life, it started to pour! Nasty wind and rain! It’s a good thing I stopped, too, because there wasn’t much up ahead after my little shelter I found out.

I finally made it into Jackson and found a hotel with some hot springs. After a day of climbing and rain I figured I needed a night in a warm bed!

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