Route: Whitehall to Dillon, MT
Quote of the day: From the waiter in the restaurant where Sho, Saya and I ate lunch in Twin Bridges, Montana, after I told him that I was spending the summer cycling with my kids. “Good for you. They’re gonna be grown and gone before you know it. Mine are.”
Some days, things just go your way. Over the 8 hours that we were on the road, clouds blocked the sun much of the time and the temperatures climbed no higher than the mid-80’s – excellent cycling weather. And in the final hour of our 55-mile ride, a strong tail wind suddenly kicked up and helped push us over the rolling climbs. When you’re on a bike, temperature, terrain, and wind are a big deal. And today, they broke in our favor.
There was more truck traffic on our route through the Jefferson Valley than I would have liked, but we often enjoyed extended stretches without vehicles passing us. We continued to capture roadkill data, but saw many more live animals. We stopped briefly to take photos of an eagle’s nest just off the road on a high pole, while the protective mother glided overhead clicking and calling out warnings to us. We also saw the renowned Beaverhead Rock, a limestone outcropping which Sacagawea used to help the Corps of Discovery locate her people almost exactly 208 years ago in August 1805. Meriwether Lewis wrote in his journal, “… the Indian woman recognized the point of a high plain to our right which she informed us was not very distant from the summer retreat of her nation on a river beyond the mountains which runs to the west. this hill she says her nation calls the beaver’s head from a conceived re[se]mblance of it’s figure to the head of that animal. she assures us that we shall either find her people on this river or on the river immediately west of it’s source.” I imagined Sacagawea’s response to seeing this easily recognizable geological formation, which she had last seen over five years earlier when she was kidnapped by a Hidatsa raiding party. No doubt, the rocks brought back a rush of childhood memories and a longing to be reunited with her family…
We are spending tonight in Dillon, population 4,500, and in the morning will need to get food and water to last us for two days. The Continental Divide has loomed in the distance as we’ve cycled south for the past week, but we are about to turn west and head over our first of three mountain passes. It will take two days before we reach the next town with supplies. We won’t have Internet access, so my next blog update will probably be on Friday, Aug 2.
Here are some pics:
Our cloudy day
Sho and Saya at the lookout near Beaverhead rock
Sho trying to capture a photo of an eagle soaring away
The Continental Divide looming...