Why is the grass crunchy this morning?? Probably because its 31 degrees outside! Well we were going straight up to start our day so it won't take us long to warm up! Still we thought we would need an extra layer because these passes were always in the shadow of the early morning sun, it gets chilly even tho we were working hard. We layered up.
By time we got to the end of the drive, we took off the first layer, and we only just left camp! First surprise of the day, the road was wide open and fully exposed to the sun so it wasn't long and we stopped to get rid of layer #2, our tights! A 5.5 mile climb to the top of the unassigned pass (that means only that it has not name!) we got our second surprise when we reached the top in only 3 miles! Now that is how you start your day!
The wind picked up at the top, we knew the air was still chilly so we put our jackets back on, i put my neck gaiter on again because i learned yesterday how much better I feel if I keep that cold wind out of my ears. And down we went! A little underestimation on our part exactly how cold it would be while descending!!! I think I reached the shivering level, it was a biting piercing cold! We had to hold ourselves back to 30mph for safety and it was just bitter cold. Then we came around a final sharp curve and out in front of us opened the Madison Valley ringed by the Snowcapped Madison Range . . .the photos can never do it justice. You just can't take it all in until you are standing there (shivering!) gazing and gasping at the beauty! We did stop for a photo, luckily someone else had done the same and could help us! Then back on our bikes to finish the descent! No, we didn't stop to put our tights back on, we just gritted our chattering teeth and pointed the bikes downward! Had to stop for a few more photos, just can't NOT take a photo! So bear with me and use your imagination to connect them all together for one amazing view!
Ennis, Montana was waiting for us in the valley with a selection of cafes, inviting us in for a hot meal to warm ourselves and we did not refuse the opportunity! Ennis is also on our list for "must come back" towns. A real western feel and the most beautiful setting! Yes, it gets to minus 30 in the winter, and wind of course. that makes me think twice about it, but have to come back and hang out! A great hot breakfast, a cinnamon roll just for fun and more coffee than I probably should have indulged in, but it was just so good! The owner came out and chatted and filled us in on some local history! Love those pauses in our trip!
All fueled up and ready for the road we set out again. The scenery . . .How many times can I say OMG???? But I literally have run out of words! The Madison Range escorted us almost the whole of the day as we pedaled south headed toward West Yellowstone. The head wind was the worst of the day. It wasn't consistent but when it persisted it was pretty strong! The wind gods just do not want to give us a break!
We were cruising along and saw a cyclist headed the other direction and he crossed the road to come have a chat! He was doing the TransAm in 2 stages, started in Kansas City where he left off last year. Where are you from he asked! Fredericksburg??? I am from Fredericksburg!! We live in the RV Park! He said I know someone in the RV Park, do you know Mike Pint????? Whaaaaaaaaat???? How funny is that? And it gets even better than that! His name is Richard Gray. Before we left for our trip Mike Pint borrowed a book all about the TransAm from a friend to share it with us . . . That friend was Richard!!!!! He was riding with another friend (sorry I forgot his name!!) from Comfort and all 4 of us had exactly the same Surly Disc Truckers!! HaHa! what a laugh we all had! would have called Mike to share in the fun, but no signal! What are the chances? Don't you love stories like that?
After all the excitement it was steady pedaling as we gained elevation gradually, following the beautiful Madison River. What a perfectly flowing river for floating or fishing! Our destination was somewhere ahead wherever we could find the next campground. We had one in mind, but as we got within 3 miles, the headwind came up with a pretty determined attitude to try and stop us in our tracks! Hate that especially at the end of the day!
But we found the Driftwaters RV Park and they were very accomodating. We knew the temperatures were going to be a bit warmer and we were anxious to get back to the tent! She gave us a small place nestled in between 3 RVs that were parked for storage so they offered us a little protection from the wind! Perfect!
And there was a cafe right on site! A true advantage of a bicycle trip across the United States is the appreciation you gain for food! Especially when you fight a relentless headwind most of the day! Simple food like a hamburger can taste soooooooo gooooooood! And then a handful of Oreos for dessert! It just doesn't get any better than that! Oh well maybe the vodka and Mike's beer were pretty good too!
That catches me up for the missing day!