Sleep ‘til noon!

“He will sleep ‘til noon/but before it’s dark/he’ll have every picnic basket/that’s in Jellystone Park.”

We can sleep in Friday. We don’t load the trailer until 6:45. We have our shortest day yet scheduled – 64 miles. On the other hand, the forecast is for thundershowers all day along our route, with temperatures in the 40s and low 50s.

We’re just outside of Yellowstone. On our own for dinner and breakfast. Dad gave us our allowance last night in Ennis. Here is the link I wanted to add yesterday. We’re now at 6666 feet.


As most of you know, Yogi Bear is a paean to the great Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, who taught me that “you can observe a lot just by watching.”

On the topic of Hanna-Barbera cartoons, have y’all noticed that The Flintstones is The Honeymooners set in an earlier time? Fred Flintstone is a dead ringer for Ralph Kramden.

Thursday’s ride was a gorgeous trip from Ennis to West Yellowstone. It was a chilly start but I was properly dressed. I was finally able to delaminate after lunch. It was windy, but we all know that when the going gets tough, the half-fast go for a beer.

We passed the Blue Moon Saloon early; not to be confused with the Blue Moon a few blocks from the hospital, where surgeons stop for a quick one to steady their hands before a long day in the OR.64472540-2CBC-43EC-8DC1-385ABFD95C48Next up was Sphinx Mountain. Recognizing it is kinda like recognizing constellations – it helps to have someone point it out, and it helps to have a good imagination. The wilderness doesn’t come with big signs pointing out the attractions.E2F2D1E7-5E5F-4E0D-9825-6F92E156C9CDWe rode on to Earthquake Lake which, like Lord Voldemort, is “great…terrible, but great”. Earthquake Lake was formed by a great quake in 1959, which caused a huge landslide and rerouted a river, inundating a valley and wiping out a campground. It struck in the middle of the night. There were no survivors.

The last ten miles were into a headwind, which seems to be a theme. The end of several days has been about making it in. To add insult to injury, Ally changed clothes and went for a run.

To paraphrase Commander Cody, “She was riding up Grapvine Hill/passing bikes like they were standing still.”

I’ve been thinking about road signs. We were lied to all day today. Signs kept saying “Bisons on roadway”. I never saw any bisons. At the first sign I asked Ally to scout ahead for bison. She said, “that’s what Corey is for”. He was ahead of us at the time.

We spent a couple of days riding through country with signs saying “Watch for bighorn sheep”. I watched but never saw any. Maybe the sheep have signs saying “Watch for humans” or “Hide!”.

That made me wonder about those signs that say “Deer Crossing Next 4 Miles”, with a pictogram of a leaping deer. Do the deer have the same sort of signs in the woods so they know where to cross? At the end of the 4 miles is there another sign with a pictogram of a dead deer on the roadside so they know not to cross there?

Since I seem to be having success uploading photos  (4 bars here), I’ll add a few of those I described earlier.

The view from Flesher Pass (continental divide) and your correspondent at the divide.

The Canyon Creek Store (and Victor Allen K-cups).450FD7E1-EDF7-4451-B680-3EF095F1535DAs the former host of “Rutabaga World News” on WORT-FM, I couldn’t resist this one. This tune was my theme song. The live version here (at a 40th reunion concert) goes on for a while and includes a duck call solo.

While we’re at it, I’ll throw in a couple of pictures from Ennis, known chiefly as a fly fishing destination. The number of great trout streams around here makes me wish I were reading “Troutfishing in America” by Richard Brautigan again. Horse and rider statue, two views of fly fisher, full moon over campsite.

Going up!

We’re starting to gain altitude, moving toward the continental divide later in the week.

We’ll actually cross the divide tomorrow, then again going into West Yellowstone. The divide is not a straight line, nor is our route. We’ll be headed south most of this week.

Arriving in Boston is sort of the icing on the cake. If we just wanted to get to the Atlantic Ocean, there are shorter ways to do it. We will ride >4300 miles. (See below.)

If you want to get technical, there is more than one continental divide. Everything west of this one drains to the Pacific, east of here drains to the Gulf of Mexico, east of the next divide drains to the Atlantic – but then there’s the divide for the area that drains north to the Arctic.

We’re in Lincoln, MT, at about 4500 feet if my altimeter is to be believed. (I just checked, and we are at 4541 ft.)  We didn’t so much climb today as gain altitude. By my seat of the pants calculations we were going up about 1% for much of the day – enough to make you feel weaker than you really are, if you don’t realize you are going up.

We started the day with a visit to  Adventure Cycling.8E3AD824-6030-4A8C-8F05-734FBF5E84CC

They started as “Bikecentennial”, to encourage people to bike across the US in 1976. They have remained in Missoula but morphed into Adventure Cycling. They still promote self-contained transcontinental rides but have expanded from their one initial route to multiple routes and a couple of north-south rides.

You can buy paper (Tyvek) maps or online maps from them and choose your own adventure.

They also do advocacy work and work with international cycling groups. They sponsor some supported tours, but the focus is still on DIY.

They have historical bikes displayed (e.g. their cartographer’s first bike, the first bike to explore their transcontinental route, bikes built by a local frame builder which have made the trek).

They also have a “wall of fame” where they post the photos of transcontinental riders who stop in to visit on the way. I discovered you can’t escape folks from Wisconsin when I met these two:3524D139-3C5B-4FCB-9C14-720008F10F5C

We left Missoula in the cool of the morning. I kept arm warmers on until after 10. It was a leisurely start, as we were asked not to arrive in Lincoln before 2:30.

We rode upstream all day, following the Blackfoot River. We seem to do a lot of riding upstream. 727F9599-CC4E-442F-8BC3-2EBAA998066C

We rode along the southern edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, part of the second largest contiguous wilderness area in the lower 48. Bob Marshall advocated for setting aside wilderness areas in the 1930’s. Here is the historical marker in his honor:360CEDF6-61BD-4D9F-AB72-39FBA656FBF6.jpeg

Marshall worked for the US Forest Service and was a co-founder of The Wilderness Society.

While we’re honoring people, I happened upon a church in Missoula. If you recall the book and movie “A River Runs Through it” (with Robert Redford), this was the church of the man who inspired the book.63207778-7569-454D-AADE-DC0F6C92144A

The Tour Divide is a mountain bike race the length of the continental divide, and passes through Lincoln. From their live map, it appears that one rider is approaching town now. There are riders who have finished (at the US-Mexico border) and there are riders still in Canada.

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and they will be the big things”  – Kurt Vonnegut, as quoted on a sign in the high school gym here in Lincoln. A school gym that quotes Vonnegut can’t be all bad.  And this is the “below” I wanted you to see. It is the little things that will make this journey, not the arrival at the east coast.

You should know, dear reader, that I passed up a beer in town with other riders in order to write this. Such is my dedication to this duty;)