Coast to Coast for the FFB: THE ONLINE JOURNAL

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Day 71: Dillon, MT to Jackson, MT (51 miles, 3278 total)

We've had some bum luck with the wind for the last two days. Yesterday we were blasted with wind when we made the turn south for Dillon. For 28 miles we battled it, and we finally arrived in town much later than we thought we would. Today, our direction was northwest, and the wind... was from the northwest. Now that is some bum luck.
Yesterday, the wind only was an issue in the late afternoon, but today it was an all day affair.

After some breakfast, and a bit of a struggle to find our way back to the route, we were pedalling by just before nine. By the way, the KOA kampground was surprisingly nice. Our little site by the Beaverhead River was quite homey, and you just can't argue with a shower.

17 Miles out of town we hit our first pass of the day. Badger Pass was not very steep and topped out at 6,760 feet. The wind made it much tougher than it really was and by the time we reached the top, we were pretty beat. (Note from AK - At this point, visions of launching my bike and gear over a cliff were playing over and over in my head. I refrained, however.)

On the way up the pass we came across a group of about 15 cyclists doing the route from Missoula to West Yellowstone. They are staying in hotels and using cars to carry their gear. When cyclists are tired they just get a ride in one of the cars. It is a nice, chill way to do bicycle touring, but some purists may scoff at it. I don't scoff at it, but I do scoff at the woman that jumped out of the car at the top of Badger Pass and complained that she had to ride downhill with a tailwind all the way into Dillon. Ummm, right, we all feel so sorry for you.

Anyway, down the backside of the pass we went. We had to be careful with our speed as the wind can cause the bikes to move unpredictably. The descent only lasted about 4 miles, then we had 7 miles of flats (into the wind) before heading 7 miles up (into the wind) to the top of our second pass for the day.

Big Hole Pass topped out at 7,360 feet and was tougher than Badger Pass. Although Badger was physically easier, it teased us with a false summit. Both were tough because you can see the top long before you ever get there.

From the top of Big Hole Pass, we were 11 miles from the town of Jackson, our first town since Dillon for the day. We were all starved for food and decided that a late lunch in Jackson was a must. Outside of town, we spotted a wild fire with fire planes dropping retardant. It turns out it was just an excercise at "Fire Camp".

We finally arrived in the town with a population of 38 at 4PM. By that time the kitchen at the Jackson Hot Springs Lodge was closed and I had to convince the chef to make us some sandwiches. We had planned to eat and then push the last 18 miles to Wisdom. That was the plan... but this place was hard to pass up for the night after such a tough day.

The Hot Springs Lodge boasts camping with showers, access to their hot springs pool, and a very nice lodge with a big screen (for watching the Tour) all for ten bucks. We've heard that all Wisdom offers is a fleet of mosquitos. AK was exhausted and was really pushing for staying over here. It seemed like a great place to stay, but it means we'll have to do the extra miles tomorrow. Javier, another cylist, just came from the way we are headed and he said the terrain is not too bad. In then end, we stayed and so far it has been worth it. The hot springs were awesome.

We had a nice Mexican meal at a local cafe and now we are getting ready for bed. We have a long day waiting for us tomorrow, so sleep is a must.

We've all noticed that the route is a lot less well known amoung locals in this part of the country. In our first few states, we were signing guestbooks daily. Now, the last guestbook we have signed was back at the Schecter Hostel in CO. I'm not sure why this is.

On the way down one of the passes, Dale lagged behind to pull of another one of his "naked miles". It is his goal to do one in every state (since Colorado when he heard of the concept), and I guess he decided that this was as good as a time as any. He thought it went off without a hitch as only five cars passed him without incident. Well, when he arrived in the lodge in Jackson, a woman approached him and said, "We heard you had a better outfit on on your way over the pass." Well, I suppose that is what can happen when you try to pull that off when you are on your way into a town of 38.



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