You are viewing the week of 07/01/07 - 07/07/07

Archive Index | Main Page

Thursday, July 5, 2007
Lame Deer to Broadus

Greetings, all, from the cozy office of our Broadus host John.
This morning it was very difficult to get up. We stayed up much later than we usually do watching fireworks and hanging out with Deacon Joe's family. It was completely worth it, and very entertaining, but getting on a bike seemed like much less fun than sleeping in the comfy church basement we found ourselves in. None-the-less, we still got up and on the road early enough to avoid a bit of heat. Immediately after I left the church, I was waved down by a group of people on the other side of the intersection. They were the support drivers for a group of Manitobans (what do you call someone from Manitoba?) doing a ride from Yellowstone back to Manitoba to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. They offered me fruit and water and lots of little tie-pins of Canadian and Manitoban flags for all my friends. Then I actually did start riding. Highway 212 out of the North Cheyenne Reservation is very hilly, and very beautiful. There were several "hills" that should have been called passes, and a pass that should have been called a hill along the ride. As I rode up the first "hill" I looked ahead to see Karen talking to a woman who was in the ditch with her motorcycle. She said she was fine, and we helped her pick up her bike (which only had a bent handlebar), and she told us that she would be we kept riding. All in all, it was not bad as motorcycle accidents go. We couldn't figure out what would have made her run off the road there. She must have gotten cowed. So, we continued to ride. The headwind got stronger as the day went on, keeping me cool and keeping everyone else cursing. The hills continued, not getting much smaller all day. As for me, I was glad that the wind kept up. Even into the afternoon, the wind was occasionally cooling, and I was able to prevent any heat headaches. I was constantly getting distracted by the beautiful prarie flowers growing along the roadside, so I stopped quite often to take pictures. Like usual, I fell behind towards the end of the day taking my time in the head and snapping shots along the way. When I finally pedalled down the hill against the headwind into Broadus at around 4:30 (A very long day) I found Seager, Karen and MinWah at the cafe each with a big peice of pie. It was their reward for completing what they considered the hardest day yet. It certainly was a challenging day, with the wind and heat and hills, and toward the end the maddening lack of anything interesting to look at or think about with so little energy...oh, and the fact that everyone except me ran out of water due to a 40 mile stretch of nothing that took much longer than expected (I carry over a gallon, so I was fine)...but Broadus quickly helped us to improve our suffering spirits. At the checkout line in the grocery store, the pharmacist approached us and asked if we were biking cross-country. Upon hearing our condensed story, he offered his house as our refuge for the night. It is in that wonderful house that I sit now, clean and cool and waiting for our laundry to get done. John and his wife Amy have five children, and are expecting their sixth this Saturday. We are very lucky to have found John, an avid bike enthusiast, and to have been invited to stay in his lively household. As I type, Mary is sitting on the desk next to me waiting patiently for me to finish and do something more exciting.
Tomorrow we'll head toward Alzada, our last overnight town in the wonderful state of Montana. It will be a bittersweet feeling to ride over the border away from this land of beef and honey, where the roads are lined with sunflowers and prarie dogs. Montana hospitality will be hard to beat, but we look forward to many more adventures through South Dakota and then into IOWA! RAGBRAI is coming quickly!

Posted by Ariel {bio} @ 08:11 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

Forsynth to Lame Deer

Holy cow welcome back me omgzorz!!1

It is I, and I have returned from Josh and Beths wonderful wedding. It was about as awesometastic as weddings get and they through a great party. Everyone yell "Congratulations!" in the general direction of Jamaica.

Also, I know the entries are a bit out of order. Sorry. Gremlins are responsible, and if I try to fix it they'll do horrible things to my ... man bits - Sorry for the inconvienence but I'm sure you folks will be able to figure it out.

Soooo - After driving 17ish hours straight Qehn and I arrived in Forsynth around 12am. We slept in the car and enjoyed a strobelight lightening show. We said our good-byes that morning and I set about wasting a day in Forsyth waiting for the rest of the group to show up. (I arrived a day early) After some hard-core laundromatting and extreme napping I met up with the group at the library and we partied like it was WAY too hot outside to party.

That night we slept hidden away in a dugout in a park and swam in a nearby river. It was refreshing, even for me, who hadn't ridden that day because HOLY COW it was hot.

The ride to Lame Deer was mostly unventful for everyone but Ariel who is a tad bit heat sensitive and had serious issues not exploding. Yesterday was her hardest day yet. For the rest of us it was just a bit annoying. (The opposite of todays ride, but she'll explain that later) To her credit though it was the hottest morning we've ever had. That afternoon we had some intermittent cloud cover but it was too little, too late for her. Luckilly she is a Ninja and thus able to handle anything.

Lame Deer is on in the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. We were a bit nervious about staying there because we didn't know if we'd be able to find a place to stay. As it turned out it was extremely easy. I got into town about 2ish and knocked on the door to the Catholic Church first thing. Deacon Joe answered and the rest is wonderful history.

For those of you living under a rock (Ariel) yesterday was the Fourth of July. The Cheyenne were celebrating with a huge fireworks display, outdoor anti-meth concerts all night, and a huge powwow on the 5th. Deacon Joe had much of his family (kids, grandkids, etc) visiting. He let us stay in the church and invited us to eat with his family in a potluck style yummy dinner experience. Then we went to the fireworks (which I'll elaborate on later) and afterwords we hung out with his family behind the church blowing up copious amounts of their own fireworks. We also got a tour of the church that was extremely education and pretty cool. Cheyenne customs intigrated with Catholic teachings makes for a cool piece of pie.

So, fireworks... The Northern Cheyenne Nation does fireworks pretty cool. They have this huge hill (we are in Montana, after all) that they launch them off of. Before they start they cover the hill in volunteer firefighters. They then procede to light the hill on fire several times with the fireworks. There must have been ten or more decent-size fires from low exploding fireworks and falling ash. It may have been the coolest fireworks I've ever seen. Not only do things explode, but they LIGHT THEIR HILL ON FIRE and then we get to watch them put it out. Most towns are all like "oh no, better not light our stuff on fire." Lame Deer, however, is all like "Hey, lets light fireworks off on our super flammable hill cause we're just that awesome!"

So, a big thanks to Deacon Joe and his family and to the Cheyenne for being so welcoming and for the great show!

Ariel will follow with a Lame Deer to Broasdoafhkdhf-something update and we may do a picture update today, we may not. SUSPENSE!


Posted by Seager {bio} @ 06:54 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Martinsdale to Lavina

We rode 28 miles from Martinsdale to Harlowton, or as the locals call it "Harlow". We stopped to pick up groceries there and then headed on to Shawmut for lunch. It was pretty flat for most of the way, and the scenery was about the same. We were riding alongside the Musselshell River the whole time, so it was basically farmland, ranchland, and swampiness around the river.

After Shawmut we stopped for a rest at a gas station in Ryegate. Then from Ryegate to Lavina, we started seeing some amazing cliffs. They resembled cliffs you see in canyons, except these were smaller. There were different layers in the rock with different colors.

Finally we got into Lavina, MT after 77 miles. We were allowed to stay in the park there. One of the residents ajacent to the park was the town clerk, Ellen. She walked up to us and offered her place for showers. Ellen also gave us the schedule for Shakespeare in the Parks, which was traveling through Montana, but I don't think we're going to bump into the show. Another family who lived next to the park also let us use their bathroom and their water. The family had 9 kids in it. While we filled up their water bottles, they were watching the Discovery Channel about insects that are attracted to urea. Later in the evening, the guy who waters the park, Junior, paid us a visit. He said he wouldn't turn on the sprinklers tonight since we were there, and so we chatted with him for awhile.

The next morning we bought milk at the gas station, had it with cereal, and were off.

Posted by MinWah {bio} @ 02:56 PM CST Link | Leave us a note! (1)

Townsend to Martinsdale, and alternative tale

So, I started off biking out of Townsend, but my achilles tendon was complaining, the terrain was hilly, there was a strong sidewind, and I was worried about negating the progress my ankle had made towards healing. So I gave up, stopped, got off and stood by my bike and said, "I'm hitchhiking" to Minwah as she passed. Not more than 10 minutes later I had my first ride of the day. The driver was a civil engineer in the Army Corps of Engineers and was heading for a 4-5 day trip canoeing on the Smith River. He had a canoe attached to his roof and stuff piled inside, but nevertheless we just managed to fit my bag and all my stuff in the car. The driver he took me through was absolutely gorgeous, as beautiful or more so than our ride through Idaho, and I regretted not being able to bike this section, but we had a nice conversation about this area of Montana. He dropped me off at a junction, and a few minutes later I had picked up a ride with a middle-aged woman, a rancher, in her fancy truck, who "never picks anyone up, but you looked so hopeless". I don't really know that I looked hopeless as I had been having a nice conversation with Orian when she picked me up, but I must have looked that way to her, but it got me a ride to the next junction. I waited at that junction for 45 minutes or so, and then caught a ride with a sheepherder, Vern, who was my favorite driver of the day. Vern had just gotten back from herding 4 days alone in the mountains. We put my bags in the trailer behind his mule, Ollie, after cleaning the manure out of the back, my bike on the flatbed, and me in the cab. As soon as I got into the cab I saw .45 caliber bullets, two pistols, a hunting knife, and a nice rifle, "to protect the sheep from things that want to eat them". Vern took me the rest of the way to Martinsdale, and entertained me with a discussion of how mules are better than horses, what to look for in a mule, etc.

When I got into Martinsdale there was no one around. I had expected a "community with services" but the mercantile was closed and the gas station was manned by a napping alchoholic named Kurt. I didn't know whether the inn I saw was still in operation, but I had heard of the Bair family museum from all three drivers, so I rode my bike half a mile to see that.

It is a mansion in the middle of ranchland full of fancy antiques, including some doors with 24-kt doorknobs with diam. as big as a tea plate, and a bathroom with matching fixtures. Quite the place.

As I got into town so early I thought I should find us a place to stay so I asked around the museum. I met a lady there, a tour guide, who said we could camp in her backyard. Later, I went to hang out at the Crazy Mountain Inn, which I heard was in fact still in operation, and Cheryl, the owner, offered to let us crash there.

Posted by Karen {bio} @ 02:46 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

Townsend to Martinsdale

Karen's ankle still wasn't better when we started riding, so she hitchhiked into Martinsdale.

The ride from Townsend to Martinsdale was one of my favorite days of the trip so far. I've never seen such a variety of landscapes within a day's ride, Ever. The day started out not ideal...first it was with a headwind and some hills, then there was no road because of construction so we had to ride on gravel and big rocks for a good number of miles. However, when we got back on pavement, it felt like heaven and we were very appreciative of smooth road. The sky cleared up and we rode through foresty, marshy, and prairie-type land...very different vegetation from what we have been seeing.

We then entered the mountain and rode through Helena National Forest. It was almost like being at Lolo Pass again, except the mountains were closer and the road was narrower. There were hardly any cars in our lane, and we heard nothing except the running water of the creek and the birds and insects in the trees. Then we came out of the forest and saw grassland, and some farm land. Along the way there were a lot of cute prairie-dog-like creatures bouncing in the grass and alongside us. We also passed cattle grazing areas, where the cows were headbutting and the calves were prancing around.

We ate lunch underneath haystacks...HAY!! The 27 miles in the afternoon went by quickly: Ariel and I played "A Fat Hen" and then sang some songs.

We met up with Karen at Crazy Mountain Inn. The owner, Cheryl Marchi, was especially good to us. First she let us take showers because "she was feeling nice that day". Then later on in the night when we had a nice long conversation with her, she fed us fresh salad, and then offered us sour cream lemon pie and german chocolate cake. AND you should know that her pie was voted #1 in Montana state. yummy! I was so full after all that good food that I could not move...I was groaning about my stomach in the tent for awhile before going to sleep.

Next morning Cheryl fixed us coffee and tea, then fed us pumpkin bread, strawberries, watermelon, and juice. I think we should call her Mommy Marchi from now on. It has a nice ring to it. :) We talked to her a little more before she saw us off. How wonderful she was.

Posted by MinWah {bio} @ 02:42 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

Lavina to Melstone

Monday morning, we awoke in the park in Lavina around 6 AM, when the sun began heating the tent until it was too hot to stay inside. We were able to pack up quickly and ate a refreshingly different breakfast of cereal with COLD milk at the gas station on the way out of town. As has been the case throughout Montana, the scenery changed drastically about every ten miles, moving from lush green river valley to rolling grassland to cliffy areas where you know there have to be mountain lions and rattlesnakes hiding in every crevice. Though we started early, it was hot even as we rode out of Lavina, and only continued to get hotter. Karen, MinWah and I rode together all day, sometimes talking, sometimes singing, and sometimes just listening to the sound of each other's tires on the pavement. It was a very nice ride, toasty though it was, so we tried to push out as many miles as possible before stopping for lunch. Forty-some miles after we started, we stopped in Musselshell for lunch, finding a shady fenceline next to the post office to make our peanut butter and banana sandwiches. As we settled down, a woman came out of the office and asked us if we needed some water. We replied that water would be great, thinking she would show us to a hose nearby. Instead she said she would jump in her car, run home, and bring us some bottled water. We looked at each other suprised and pleased as she sped away. Upon her return a few minutes later, she got out of the car carrying two bottles for each of us...then asked if we were watching our carbs. We all laughed. "Not exactly," we replied, "unless trying to eat as many carbs as possible counts." She seemed pleased, and asked us if we would like some ice cream sandwiches. Pleasantly astonished, we agreed, and she brought out two boxes of sandwiches. "Eat as many as you want," she said, "feel free to eat them all!" We each took two and thanked her profusely. She kept saying it was no problem, then ran home to put the leftovers back in the freezer. Once again, she returned, bringing with her a bag of ice, extra ziplocks, little baggies of hard candies for each of us, and some green tea packets. She said she liked to drink green tea as she rode, and that she might be the only woman around that rides her mountain bike with a pistol between her legs for the mountain lions and coyotes and such. She explained that she biked to keep in shape because she was a fire fighter. Before we knew it, this fairytale-like woman was gone, and we were left bewildered and full of ice cream. Karen later explained that she was like a Super Mario Brothers superhero that would enter the screen like a whirlwind, your health and energy ratings would fill back up, and then she would dissappear just as she came. I agreed.
We got to our end town, Melstone, pretty quickly after lunch. Our first stop at the general store we met Loretta, and she said we could camp in the yard behind the store. We decided to hang out inside to avoid the afternoon heat which was heating up more than we were interested in dealing with. After a good look around the store (which was truly a general store, with everything you could ever want or imagine inside) we sat down at the card table to chat with Jerry. Jerry delivers the mail to many of the small towns along highway 12, and had plenty of good stories to tell us about the area. After a few hours of chatting, writing in journals, and reading, Jerry got up to go, but offered to buy us each a cold drink before he head out. He said he would probably see us the next morning on his way to Ingomar. We also met a woman who had grown up near Melstone, but now lives in Iowa. It just so happens that her current home town is on the RAGBRAI route this year, and after chatting for awhile we exchanged contact information in hopes that we can meet up while were in Hartley, IA. As the evening wore on, we offered to help unload a supply truck that pulled up to deliver general store items and lots of glass and bags of concrete which had been ordered to make repairs from a golf-ball hailstorm two weeks back. When the general store was closing, we bought some salami and baked beans to make our dinner easy and stoveless, and walked back to the yard to prepare it. Karen decided to ask if we could sleep on the floor of the empty trailer behind the yard, and we were granted permission, which was a very good thing as you will read later. While preparing our dinner we found that all of the food we had left on our bikes was hot, and I mean really hot. The green tea I had left in my bottle had steeped to a temperature I might heat my tea to on the stove. We found our bread toasted, and very hot to the touch, and our cheese was in a puddle in the bottom of its bag. It had reached 100 degrees that afternoon as we lounged inside the general store. We decided to wake up at 4:30 to bike the next morning and went to sleep, not expecting the eventful night to come...see Karen's entry Melstone to Forsythe.

We'll have to do our picture update another day, as these library computers don't seem to want to cooperate.


Posted by Ariel {bio} @ 02:40 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

Melstone to Forsyth

Well, we're almost through Montana and it will be hard to find another place as welcoming, friendly, and hospitable as Montana. Everywhere we have been people have been very generous.
Last night we stayed in Melstone, a community that experienced some lasting damage from baseball-sized hail about two weeks ago. Everyone we met in Melstone was good-natured and welcoming. Last night Loretta, the woman who was running the general store, let us stay in the trailer behind the store. When I first went into the trailer in the heat of the afternoon to shower I thought the trailer was air-conditioned because it was much cooler than it was outside, but apparently I was mistaken (not the first time) because in the evening, the lack of air flow in the trailer made it almost too hot to sleep (there was no air flow because the windows had been broken in the earlier hail storm and were covered with plastic). Loretta let us use two fans from the store so we could be semi-cool. Minwah and I both have experience sleeping in weather that is too warm for comfort we went inside to lay down with the door to the trailer open since there were few bugs, but Ariel can't fall asleep in such heat and she stayed awake for awhile.

We all awoke in the middle of the night to bright and frequent flashes of lightning and went to bring some of our paniers inside the trailer. Just as I was moving towards the house the rain started and the three of us quickly rushed inside. No more than two minutes later, the rain we had been hearing on the trailer changed to the sound of hard objects being thrown against it...more hail! This hail was only dime-sized, and didn't cause much damage, but I was glad I had thought to bring in my paniers because I had bananas packed into the top. I bet if I had left them outside the story would have been funnier, though...The hailstorm was over within 10 minutes, and the precipitation changed back to rain.

We were thinking, though, that with the frequency of hailstorms the name of Melstone should be changed to Hailstone.

After the hailstorm the weather cooled off, even inside the trailer, and we got some good sleep. Since it was so hot yesterday, we got up early and were out of Melstone by 6:30am. One reason we were able to get out so early was that we didn't eat breakfast...just granola bars, because we had heard about a bar and restaurant in Ingomar that had good breakfasts.

So we rode to Ingomar straight off, about 20-something miles on not very much food in our bellies. Ingomar was off the road aways and there was a quarter mile of very gravelly road to get there, but once we arrived it was worth the wait...our friend Gerry, the mail delivery man was there! And he wanted to buy us breakfast!

So the three of us ate our fill of pancakes, french toast, eggs, and bean soup, and then when we were done, Gerry ordered us "sheepherder's hor d'oeuvres" which he assured us were not Rocky Mountain oysters or whatever they're called. And the weren't. Sheepherder's hor d'oeuvres are saltine crackers with slices of orange, raw onion, and cheddar cheese. Suprisingly tasty.

We got back on the road again with full bellies around 10am, and peddled 42 miles to Forsyth without a real break to try to beat the worst of the heat. Got here around 1:30am. When we got here we met two other riders from UWisc who had peddled from Seattle and were heading for Wisconsin, but they are staying in Miles City tonight and for the 4th of July.

The terrain today has mostly been rolling hills. We saw a lot of cows this morning, especially before breakfast. As the sun rose the Black Angus cows stood by the roadside and further off in the fields, and their heads would turn to follow you as they watched you with grass hanging out of their mouths.

I think I may have seen two mountain lions in a field but I am not actually sure that is what they were. They were not deer or antelope, elk, cows, moose, dogs, or coyote.

We met up again with Seager at the library in Forsyth. It's not as hot today as it was yesterday, but it's nice to be off the road early!

Posted by Karen {bio} @ 02:31 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!




July 2007


07/01 - 07/07
06/24 - 06/30
06/17 - 06/23
06/10 - 06/16
06/03 - 06/09
04/22 - 04/28
07/23 - 07/29
07/16 - 07/22
07/24 - 07/30
07/17 - 07/23
08/08 - 08/14
07/25 - 07/31
07/18 - 07/24
06/13 - 06/19