Day 43, Jackson, MT – Hamilton, MT 93 miles (3169 total)
July 23, 2008
Time on bike: 6:53:12
Daily Ascent: 1924 ft (21 ft/mi)
Elevation at days end: 3600 ft
Max: 49 mph
The morning was cool as I cycled out of Jackson, MT with snow covered mountains on my left across the flat valley. Irrigation is big in these parts as fields have sprinklers watering them. I passed some men in a field who were moving the pipes of the irrigation to another section of the field by hand. The mountains off to the distance were picturesque to say the least. The sun was shining and the sky was an early morning blue. Talk about feeling alive!
I had the house specialty for breakfast at Wisdom, MT, 2 pancakes, sausage and 2 eggs, served by a cute, friendly waitress. I’d heard that the girls in Montana are the cutest on the trip and that may yet prove to be the case, we’ll see. So far so good. While there I got to talking to a guy named Jeremy. Jeremy’s story is that he’s a ranch-hand who hitch-hikes around to make a living. He has a golden retriever named Rusty who goes with him. To find his next job he goes on a Montana state website and looks for ranch-hand jobs and then calls the number listed and asks for a job, then he hitch-hikes there. I let him ride my bike around to try it out while I held his dog.
I pulled over just outside of Wisdom, MT to the Big Hole National Battlefield. I saw 2 other pairs of west-bound cyclists. The first couple was in their late 40’s to early 50’s and the other couple was probably late 50’s. They were all on road bikes with panniers and no trailers. They had stayed in Wisdom the night before. The battlefield was where the Indian tribe Nez Perce was attacked by US troops. Nearly 100 men, women and children lost their lives and a museum of sorts is there in their memory and honor. After watching a film about the site I came to discover a flat tire. In trying to repair the tire I pinched the tube and had to put on 2 more patches, bringing the total up to 4 on that particular tire!
From the battlefield I had a mountain pass to climb. It was a gradual incline up to the base of the climb, but it was through beautiful pine forested area. The trees were lush and green and there were no pine-beetle infected trees that I could see, just healthy green trees. The climb eventually came to an end and I then found a fast, windy downhill and a new set of snow covered mountains to view off in the distance. I reached nearly 50mph on the downhill. Fast, yes, but that’s part of the excitement!
By now, after the flats and the hill, it was 4pm and I was ready for lunch, but the gas-station/restaurant only served breakfast! Go figure! So I opted for Reece Cups and a Poweraid and figured I’d get to the next town for lunch/supper. Once at the next town I figured I was only an hour away from the next town where I could bed down for the night after grabbing supper, so I opted for that. In the way to that next town (Hamilton) a tiny rain cloud that couldn’t have been bigger than 100 yards across settled right over me and dropped down big drops of rain. It was sunny and blue skies all around except for this one cloud which kept dousing me with rain. For 15 minutes it proceeded to soak me in what felt like a cartoon like situation. I couldn’t seem to shake it either! But I eventually dried out and reached my destination of Hamilton. So here I am finishing off my ribs ready to put another day to bed!