And just like that… we are finished with the first map. When we first loaded our Garmins with digital maps we had 371 miles to go and 28 climbs. All done with those now. ✅
Lemme tell ya… there were MORE than 28 climbs. I don’t know who’s doing the counting but they need to check themselves. 😂 An added bonus – we are out of grizzly country so no more singing and states and multiplication review to alert bears we’re in their lane.
The morning started with a very peaceful ride to the beginning of Mullan Pass.
Another chunky climb lead to majestic open countryside at about 6,500 feet. Soon after, we dropped down to open cattle grazing until the route brought us to Priest Pass. This wide open Montana is different from what we experienced last week but equally spectacular. It’s so vast.
Next as luck would have it (‘cause we’ve been pretty lucky 🍀 on this ride so far, we ran into the Dicksons, a northbound couple I’ve been following on Instagram. It’s a lot of fun running into these folks in the middle of nowhere. I feel like I already know them.
In Helena this evening sleeping with pillows and sheets yay! Tomorrow we ride to Basin.
We are both in heaven right now sitting in the shade on Barbara Nye’s front porch at the Llama Ranch. The hummingbirds are buzzing around and the breeze is blowing. She’s lived here 32 years and a few years back she decided to host Great Divide cyclists. It is an oasis for cyclists in every way and she provides it ALL at no charge. Her only request is that we “pay it forward” and return the kindness she has shown us to others.
There are 5-6 different sleeping structures or bikers can pitch tents with the llamas if they wish. Each structure is like a tiny house, well except for the Teepee.
In each tiny house are beds, a way to cook, food, snacks, drinking water. Heck there’s even butt butter and a bottle of wine. Barbara has truly been thoughtful about taking care of our needs.
She had cold drinks and sammies (Turkey for Tom and tuna fish for me) and she just walked out with half of a freshly baked cake for us. I’m telling you, she’s Saint status in my book.
I’m blogging and Tom is checking out the map. I’ll take couch over concrete any day for blogging as concrete outside the gas station was it for me this morning.
Ok… so the ride today was short as we knew we wanted to stop at the ranch. However the climb up Poorman Pass was steep, rocky and hot with a lot of big biting flies. I know it’s the same old story but that’s what it was. And you know what? That’s what we came out here for (except the biting flies lol)
The thing about the flies is, you’re pushing your loaded bike up steep rocky paths and you can’t swat the flies so they just gnaw on you. #hateem
If you’ve followed us in the past you know jigs or dances are part of our gig. Today was my turn to do the Victory Dance atop Poorman. Tom that means you’re on deck.
We have seven days of riding in and have camped every night. At this point we are averaging 57 miles a day. #statfacts
A little info on the SPOT tracking link above. Because the route is a lot more remote than our cross country Northern Tier ride in 2018 Tom opted to buy a SPOT which is a device that tracks our movement and location and also has an SOS panic button should we need immediate help. As it is, cell service is infrequent and the SPOT uses satellite signal. So all good here!
When you click on the link you can see where we are now, the last hour, day or week.
Tom also sends a text via the SPOT to our kids when we start the ride and again when we finish. Isn’t it funny that we used to want to keep track of our kids and now they want to keep track of us. 😂
And on the blog posts and videos… we try to blog everyday. For one it’s a way to bring our family, friends and neighbors along on our adventure. It also serves as a travel journal for us. There is a video at the end of every blog post with many more pics from the day. If you’re not seeing it, ensure you’re actually going to the blog site, not just viewing in an email. They are kinda fun to make and view. I apologize in advance for the typos. As a former teacher they drive me nuts… but I’m doing all this on my iPhone and cell service is sketchy. So proofreading is scant.
Tomorrow we saddle up and ride to Helena, the state capitol but not before going over Mullan and Priest passes. And a motel stay is scheduled!