Coast to Coast for the FFB: THE ONLINE JOURNAL

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Check back here daily to read about our progress in our cross-country bicycle tour to benefit the FFB.
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Friday, July 22, 2005

Day 69: Madison Junction, WY to Ennis, MT (89 miles, 3153 total)

Today has been a great one. Once again, we woke up bear-free and packed up. We had a chance to chat with a few of our fellow cyclists while we loaded our bikes. Luke, the Aussie, told me that some man back in Oregon told him that he shouldn't pee on the side of the road, because if he is caught he'll be put in the National Sex Offender Registry, and he was serious! Luckily, Luke has enough common sense to know that that is bull.

Anyway, out of camp we biked 12 miles to the Montana border and snapped our usual photos. Since the state line is actually in Yellowstone, we had to wait until we were out of the park for the "Welcome to..." billboard in the town of West Yellowstone.

In West Yellowstone, we tried to get new chains in both the bike stores, but neither carried what we wanted. We did make it to a nice breakfast at a little place called "The Running Bear Cafe". I had "pigs in a blanket" and they were so very good. What's the deal with "pigs in a blanket" anyway? It is so rarely on menus, yet it is one of my favorites. From now on, I am going to end every one of my rants with: "...and another thing, how come I can't get no 'pigs in a blanket' around here!" I am sure the park rangers will appreciate that.

Anywho, after a short stop at the market to resupply our camping food, we rolled out. The ride out of town took us past Hebgen Lake and into the Madison River Earthquake Area. In August of 1959, a 7.5 earthquake rocked this area and caused quite a lot of damage. Hebgen Lake was originally formed by placing a damn on the Madison River. About 4 miles downstream of the dam, the quake caused the most damage. A huge landslide sent over 80 million tons of rock into the canyon, restricting the flow of the river. The river swelled and Earthquake Lake was formed. In order to avoid extensive flooding, the Army Corps of Engineers worked feverishly to create a spillway in the natural damn. Now, the same spillway keeps water flowing down the Madison, but Earthquake Lake remains. Thousands of drowned trees still line the shores, their bare trunks jutting from the water. It is a really impressive sight, and the slide scar on the canyon walls is so rugged that if told the slide happened las!
t year, I would have beleived it.

In one area, we spotted submerged trees in the most crystal blue water I've seen in ages. The water had to have been at least 25 feet deep, but you could see straight to the bottom with ease. AK and I were both tempted to take a swim.

A few miles from the slide area, we stopped at a fly fishing shop for a cold drink. While relaxing on the bench outside, a couple rolled up on the coolest tandem Bike Friday. Their "Twin Air" had a slick fading dark blue paintjob and sported 54 gears! Anyway, we exchanged website cards, so if you want to check out Dennis and Lyndsey's site, go to:

Dennis and Lyndsey suggested a nice place for lunch 7 miles down the road. They also told us that we could probably make it all the way to Ennis tonight as the route gently slopes down into town.

They were right about both the sloping and the resturant. The Grizzly Bar and Grill is worth a stop for great food before a 31 mile stretch of nothing but ranch land.

After lunch we ventured out into vast ranch land shrouded with peaking mountains on both sides of the road. At one point, we caught up to a rancher driving a huge John Deere tractor. He had the scoop lifted high enough to be looking under it, and inside the scoop rode his tail-wagging, toungue-hanging dog. "He hurt his leg when a bull kicked'em, so now'e rides up there," the rancher explained. The dog was clearly enjoying being exactly where he was; it made for a great photo that I'll have to post when we are done riding.

Then it was on to Cameron, where we had originally planned to stay the night. Cameron is a tiny town that had fallen under total disrepair and lost all of its residents. In the mid-90's a couple decided to buy the town and fix it up. Well, they've done a great job as now the town boasts a store, a cafe, a saloon, and an RV park. As we gulped down Gatorade, the woman in the store told us that Dale had just left the store not too long before we arrived. It sounded like he was headed for Ennis for the night too. Maybe we'll see him in town.

On the 11 miles into Ennis, AK was riding really strong. While riding fairly hard, she continued to gain on me. Since the roads in Montana have horribly placed rumble strips that run right down the middle of the shoulder (leaving us the option of riding in the lane of traffic or carefully riding the 12 inches between the rumble strips and the edge of the road), I figured I better speed up in case AK wanted to pass, but can't because the bone shaking rumble strips blocked her path. I couldn't lose her, even when I was really pushing it. I'm really proud of her, she is one tough cyclist now.

Arriving into Ennis, we decided to opt for a motel since it has been days since we last showered, and we needed showers in the worst kind of way. The tent was super stinky last night.

After checking in, it was off to the laundromat. On the walk home, we stopped for some dinner at the Real Decoy which serves some great BBQ ribs and chicken.

We have another mountain pass tomorrow morning, so we hope to sleep well. No sign of Dale yet, and another thing, how come I can't get no "pigs in a blanket" around here?


Note from AK - The rumble strips are such a pain in the holy cow. I hit them twice today while I was trying to take in the amazing scenery. The feeling is so bone-rattling that it gave me an instant headache both times that took several minutes to go away. I hate having to miss views just because I have to watch the road so intently!


At July 23, 2005 1:51 AM, Anonymous said...

Dennis and Lyndsay`s journal is quite brief. yours is much better-TAB

At July 24, 2005 1:42 PM, Marti Agler said...

We're enjoying reading your journal. It's an eye-opener. Bill USED to think he wanted to ride across America...

At August 03, 2005 11:04 PM, Anonymous said...

You guys are all hard core cyclist. WAY TO GO.... Keep it up. Jen Yen


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