Coast to Coast for the FFB: THE ONLINE JOURNAL

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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Day 70: Ennis, MT to Dillon, MT (74 miles, 3227 total)

Oh man, the morning always comes way too quickly. I hate getting up early on a normal day so an early alarm after several long days in the saddle is just that much worse. Oh well, it has to be done but it is good that Jeffrey is patient with me.
We packed up watching CNN coverage of more terrorist action in London. It is strange to feel so out of touch with what is happening in the larger world.

It was slightly sprinkling when we left our room but it wasn't too cold so it actually felt pretty good. We had small snacks in the room before heading out because we'd heard that we would want to spend some time in Virginia City today. Since our pass climb was within the first 10 miles, we decided to have a late breakfast there.

Just a few blocks from our hotel, we ran into Dale! He was coming into town for breakfast and to keep an eye out for us. We told him our plan for the morning and he was game, so he had a snack and we all rode on together.

The no-name pass was long but it wasn't too bad. The grades out here continue to be gentle, and with the cloud cover and light sprinkles, we were quite comfortable. Near the top, a badger came scurrying across the road in front of me. I wasn't sure exactly what it was until we got to Virginia City. If you've never seen one, they are rather large but very low to the ground. This guy wasn't interested in hanging out in the open either so no pictures exist.

After one false summit and one real one, we began a zooming descent down into Virginia City. I don't know if I will ever get tired of descents. VC is a very cute small town with a long gold rush history. We found the one and only place open for breakfast and sat down to enjoy being finished with our climb. Breakfast was great and as we were enjoying it, a local dog was enjoying Dale's sandwich he'd bought for lunch. D'oh! At least the cafe took a few dollars off his meal.

By the time we finished eating, the town was opening its doors (11:00 is the magic time) so we headed into the VC museum. It was more of a collection of old items and random things, but it had some very cool old clothing and several taxidermy animals. This is where I confirmed that what I'd seen was in fact a badger. It is also where we all learned that red and grey squirrels in Montana are boxers. These 2 particular stuffed squirrels were sporting boxing shorts and gloves and were standing on their hind legs in a small ring. The red squirrel has quite a left jab. We will post a photo just as soon as we can because it has kept us entertained all day.

About a mile from VC is Nevada City but since we'd spent so much time in VC, we had to blow on through. There are so many places we are blasting through now because of our deadline. I wish we had several more weeks to spend just exploring these places!

The rest of the day until lunch was a breeze. At one point, Dale was riding just ahead of me when a very large doe crossed the road right in front of him. He missed it because he wasn't looking but saw it once he heard me yelling. He started yelling something back but I couldn't hear it because of a car approaching from the rear. What he was saying was, "Here comes another one!" I didn't need the warning since I saw it at about the same time. It was a fawn scrambling like mad to catch up to its mom but it was running straight for me and the car! I was yelling, Dale was yelling, the fawn was falling all over itself, and the car was breaking. Thankfully, we all survived, though I think the little deer got the scare of its life. Bad doe for putting your baby in such danger!

After cruising almost effortlessly for many miles, we arrived in the town of Twin Bridges for a late lunch. We took a long lunch and when we exited the diner, guess which direction the wind was blowing? Our one south turn of the week was a 30 mile stint right into a mean headwind. Why couldn't we still be heading north?!

By now, we're getting pretty used to the bum luck. North, south, east, or west, if we're going that way, it seems that the wind likes to push hard against us every few days. (Jeff thinks I'm exagerating). We traveled a slow 30 miles into Dillon with breaks every 5 miles or so for a rest. At least there was no rumble strip so we could actually enjoy the spectacular mountain views all around us.

We rolled into town just before 7:00 and hit the grocery for fresh veggies and snacks for tomorrow. I was also craving ice water and Jeff and Dale wanted some beer. Home for the night is yet another KOA campground but at least that means showers and grassy spots for our tents. We are sleeping beside the Beaverhead River tonight but it doesn't make as much noise as the Platte or Popo Agie rivers. Regardles, my body is exhausted. We have a "shorter" day tomorrow but it includes 2 passes so I need to rest up.



At July 25, 2005 8:25 AM, Anonymous said...

Remember that the wind is never with you. It is either against you or you are having a good day.



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