Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Days 17-18 Daunted Courage, July 16-17, 2013

Route: Winnett to Lewistown (Day 17), Rest Day in Lewistown (Day 18)

On July 16, we cycled 55 miles from Winnett to Lewistown, MT.  We were lucky to escape the heat wave hitting much of the U.S. now and enjoyed temps around 80 degrees.  We also got a real treat early in the ride, witnessing five pronghorns bounding across the prairie.  They are graceful and remarkably fast, capable of running up to 60 miles per hour.  Meriwether Lewis made the first record in western science of this animal, mistakenly categorizing them in the antelope family.  They are actually a unique species found only in North America. 

Sho, Saya and I also passed a prairie dog town with hundreds of mounds.  We stopped riding and watched for a while, and the kids laughed as prairie dogs randomly popped out of their holes, standing tall on their hind legs and whistling from their sentry posts.  Meriwether Lewis also made the first scientific observations of prairie dogs, calling them “barking squirrels.”  He even shipped a live animal back to President Jefferson, a trip that took four months and which the animal survived.

We ate lunch at a bar in a small town called Grass Range, where Sho and Saya made friends with two kids (see pic).  After lunch, our route took us over the Judith Mountains (named after Judith Hancock, the woman William Clark married after the expedition), which offered a taste of what we’ll experience in the Rockies.  Sho had no trouble with the long, steady climb, dropping Saya and me, then politely waiting for us at the top.  We coasted downhill into Lewistown at 6:30 p.m., a comfortable and charming town where we decided to take a rest day.  The kids celebrated our first traffic light in days and excitedly made plans to visit the public pool the next day.

On July 17, our rest day in Lewistown, I had a 1-hour phone interview with a reporter from The NY Times.  The story will be published in the Sunday Travel section on August 4th.  Cool!

Here are some pics:
Sho and Saya with new friends in the bar in Grass Range

View from the road

Sho and Saya using break time to wrestle

Saya with her kinda freaky forehead tattoo

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