Yellowstone has redeemed itself and provided us with one of the best days of the trip!!
Crossed a couple more Continental divide’s and looked back at what we had achieved in the Tetons.
It was upsetting to see the devastation from the forest fires.
Though you can still nature fighting back.
So on a fast decent Andy fortunately pulled in at a view point. Only to have a grizzly mother and bear cub walk directly across the road in front of him. This was a lucky escape and by the time we scrambled to safety and got the camera out they were both wandering in the bushes.
At this point we had started pandemonium as the world and his wife came to take photos of them, we officially created a ‘bear jam’.
RV’s screeched to a halt and traffic back up for miles we decided it was time to vacate and get back on the bikes.
We took off in pursuit of old faithful for lunch and the promise of a spectacular explosion. We enjoyed lunch with the cutest and most inquisitive kids in history, (Berit and Griffin) There first question was ‘do you enjoying riding your bikes?’ to which we gave the answer ‘….we love it!!’
They totally brighten up our lunch time and we only hope our kids are as lovely as them.
It was our turn to go and see old faithful. As we arrived it went off gushing into the sky. That was it over then….
Another fellow tourer (Joe) crossed our path and he also had a pacer. We didnt think there would be anyone as crazy as Andy to tour with a road bike, but we were proved wrong.
That afternoon was the most beautiful experience for my eyes. The interwoven river flowed vigorously through the mountains which created these powerful waterfalls and rapids.
The canyon towered above us making us feel inferior to its monstrous stature.
Our disappointment at leaving Yellowstone was only counteracted by the fact we entered a new state, Montana, whoop!!
To finish off the day with a bang we went for a slap up meal and drinks. This had unlimited salad bar, or so we thought, after Andy’s fourth plate we realised our mistake….oops
That night we stayed in Grizzly RV park with more bears…. and real grass!!!
That morning we were delighted by complimentary coffee then struck out for our first full day in Montana.
Our initial stop was at earthquake lake which was one of the most scenic and tranquil roads in America (rated by Andy). You can guess how the lake earnt it’s title ‘clues in the name’.
We stopped for lunch early just so we could soak in the beautiful view. Next to the store we saw a burger van or so we thought, how wrong we were. They surprisingly sold delicious quinoa salad and homemade sausages. I even got to taster huckleberry ice cream though I scoutted out the area for grizzly’s before I delved into it.
We started to push on for Cameron where we thought there could be camping. We bumped into a lovely American couple from California ‘the Burkhard’s’ they gave us the heads up for the next few miles bugs, climbs etc. Also exchanged valuable touring stories, we only hope we get to see them again on the west coast.
Just as we left a thunder storm hit so we took shelter under the safest place possible a tree, err.
That afternoon we climbed a mountain and were rewarded with an awesome downhill. At the bottom we came across some road works with backed up traffic. We were escorted to the front of the queue and told that this road was unsuitable for bicycles, ahh. Before our hearts had a chance to sink the construction workers said they would chuck us in the back of the pilot car ‘pick-up’ for the next 10miles. This gave great amusement to all the Harly Davison riders, but we didn’t care. Here is the view from our business class seats.
We arrived in Cameron to the blue moon salloon where we pitched our tents in the back yard.
We started the day with a 10mile climb, but finished with a long fast decent, helping to make it one of our fastest days with an average speed of 12.9 mph.
We went through Virginia city which was an old restored town from the gold rush, very rustic.
During lunch in Sheridan we met Lauren Bleck, who is by her own admition an official bad ass mountain biker! She had just moved up from CO and is in the process of starting up her own bike business on the trail 🙂 best of luck!
Pushed on for the coolest cycle only camping yet at twin bridges. This was a tailored hut next to a river with everything you would possibly need as a tourer!!
When we arrived the showers were locked so we instantly used our initiative and jumped into the sprinkler systems. That is definitely one ticked off the bingo board. Shortly after a kind gentleman came over and unlocked the door for us, doh…
The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and eating. An active runner came over to use the shower whilst we were sunbathing. We later discovered his name was Dave and he worked at a local fly fishing shop, which he invited us to visit in the morning.
Started the day with a hearty breakfast Gluten Free bagel and breakfast burrito.
Only 30 miles today due to limited camping options. We decided to take Dave up on his offer to visit Sweetgrass Rods and we are glad we did. Dave was a kind soul and fishing enthusiast. He gave us a tour around the workshop and demonstrated the art of how a bamboo rod was created. We learned a lot about fly fishing from him and his colleagues then received complementary hats and were on our way.
If anyone is in the market for a high quality handmade beautiful bamboo rod for yourself or a fishing friend this is the place to by one!!
Spotted some bison in the distance.
The rest of the days ride was quite subdued and we were keen to get to our destination.
Maybe that was because we had booked ourselves in a tipi at Countryside RV Park outside of Dilion.
On arrival we were pleasantly greeted by Valerie and John the owners. She gave us the tour of her site which was awesome, this is a must stay. Something for other tourers, we have notice all top quality campsites and RV park are ‘Good Sam’s’ recommendation, so i would keep an eye out for the signs.
Later that evening ‘woman started fire’ and made chocolate bananas boats, mmm….
We had a lazy morning in the tipi practicing yoga and Andy’s was bike twiddling. We then got chatting to the owner for a while making it a very late start at 11am.
The scenery was out of this world and the traffic minimal. There were moments of serenity where all we could hear was our own deep breaths panting away.
We had two big climbs in the day, one being…,
When we could see Jackson in the distance it couldnt have come any sooner. Dehydrated and hungry we were incredibly grateful to find a cafe open with prompt service and tasty food. Rated one of the best salad of the trip.
After not spotting anyone all day on the deserted road we were surprised to see six tourers whilst indulging into our dinner. We chatted to the first couple from Germany traveling with there young daughter. When we inquired if this was her first tour they stated ‘we took her to Iceland when she was six months’ (very inspiring parents). Then we met a lovely couple from Slovakia. They were on a similar experience to us being their first big tour, but taking a different route. Again a shame we were heading in different directions I think we would of had a giggle together!!
We had our last 18mile push for Wisdom where there was free camping in the American Legion Park. Andy had a call of nature when we arrived so went to use the facilities. This has now been documented as the worst ever toilet experience of his life….!
We pitched where we could find minimal dog feces and mole holes.
Then held on to each other through some horrendous storms. Andy doesn’t seem to mind being in a nylon cocoon with METAL poles through an electrical storm, I on the other hand was terrified!
This morning we woke up to this entrancing silhouette.
Eager and ready for the ride we packed up quickly and went to the cafe to defrost. The breakfast was delicious, Americans have got the right idea with their version of hash browns!!! When we left we got eyeballed by these eagles protecting their chicks.
We had a stretch of 30miles of nothingness ahead, with our bellys full and hands warmed we set off. There was one big climb of the day then the rest was a breeze, literally. That great feeling you get when your nearly at the top of a climb preparing yourself for the downhill, only for it to be crushed by a terrifying headwind, that happened!! Luckily the first 10miles was steep enough for the gravity to prevail. Here we experienced our longest and most enjoyable downhill of the trip, so far.
We stopped for lunch in Sula and sneaked on the campsite to sit next to the lake. Here we were hypnotized by two girls fishing and then throwing them back, honestly what’s the point?
We met a group of cool bikers in Derby that were intrigued and impressed with our accomplishments.
For the last 18miles to Hamilton we were being chased by a big storm. The whole of the sky behind us was turning dark and dangerous, we couldnt have pedalled any faster (averaging 20+mph) We went to meet Terry (WS) at her work (A+E) when we arrived to get directions. She pointed us towards a great burger joint ‘Naps’. She was right it was fabulous food maybe too good since we left feeling bloated and stuffed.
Waiting at the house was a fellow tourer called Tommy he was heading South on his own route incorporating national parks and friends weddings. He was a enthusiastic Oregono home bread with a great sense of humor. We chilled with him then bunked in together in their garage for the night and to escape the last of the storm.
We woke early with a cold chill running through our bodies due to our air mats finally giving up the ghost. I was also in dire need of a wee and we couldn’t get in the house. Thankfully a kind face appeared in the window (Carl) and let me in to relieve myself. Terry put on an amazing spread of eggs, fruit and homemade blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Both Terry and Carl were good souls and we only wish we had arrived an evening they weren’t working. Luckily we got to enjoy some interesting conversation over breakfast.
We also got to meet there sweet/mischievous granddaughter (reminded me of myself at that age).
On recommendation by Terry we headed to Hamilton local farmers market. The smells were apparent when we were around the corner, you could almost taste the garlic and melons on the stalls.
We conversed with a interesting character who was a keen motorcyclist and Jehovah’s Witness. We had many similar views and opinions and maybe some that differed though he was very pleasant and had a kind heart.
The ride was a small decline and predominately on a cycle path this equated to a blissful ride. We stopped for lunch in Florence at another smaller farmers market and watch the world go by. Here I met a lady who created mosque master pieces for a living.
When we arrived in Missoula we instantly felt at home and comfortable with our surroundings. This was the first town that had a bike population and this was apparent by the great cycling facilities I.e. paths, signs etc. We excitedly headed straight for the ACA headquarters, looking forward to meeting everyone we had been tweeting. To find out they were closed.
So micro brewery it was and they had gluten free ale…. at $8 a pop I shall only be consuming one!!!
We had arranged a warm showers that evening with Barbara and she was a hoot!! A vegan, bike enthusiast that drank G and T. I think I have met my future self!! She kindly cooked us a healthy delicious meal. I finally ate some brown rice which my body has been craving for the last 3000miles. We swapped hilarious touring tricks and secrets before crashing into a luxurious bed, we were out like a light.
Rest day in Missoula!! Chores and chilled with Barbara. Enjoyed her company and outstanding vegan food!!!
Played with the mischievous Phoebe and Maggie.