Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 11 X Asia/Africa= (Crossing the continental divide)

BEST: Riding along the road and getting the railroad engineer to blow the horn (obviously a courtesy from one engineer to another). Not a big deal in itself, but hearing the horn when I wanted instead of in the wee hours of the night was cool.

WORST: Climbing up McDonald Pass to the Continental Divide only to find the descent was on fresh chip seal meaning we had to follow a pace car.

MOST UNEXPECTED: Left my Black North Face Bag out last night, and this morning it was no longer black but white.

We crossed the Continental Divide today! It is all downhill from here.

We got an extra hour of sleep today because of the short ride (60 miles) and because it was feckin cold. Great breakfast prepared by the ladies of the Avon Family Cafe who were extremely nice. I had gotten chummy with them when we stopped at the cafe yesterday for my chocolate malt, and made sure to let them know I loved pie. So at last nights dinner, they took care of me by putting a piece of blueberry pie and pecan pie with whipped cream on a plate before serving the other riders. The highlight for me today at breakfast was the fresh made cinnamon rolls which was absolute heaven.

We rolled out at 7:30 a.m. for an 11 mile climb up the McDonald Pass including 4 miles of 6%+ grade at the top. I was excited to take a picture showing the Continental Divide sign, but of course the paving contractor had removed it, so feast your eyes on the picture of me with my arms spread showing which way the water flows from that spot, Pacific to my left, and Atlantic to my right. We would have had an awesome descent of 11 miles but as I noted, it was freshly chipsealed so we convoyed down being careful not to overheat our rims. Pictures show the chipseal descent and the view off the side of the road as I kept one hand on the brake, the other holding the camera, and the third hand steering. Of course the day would not be complete without an awesome headwind. It was strong, but not like days 3 and 4 where it was a HEADWIND. At one of our rest stops we were at a Montana subdivision which I tried to capture on the image below. I pictured the ad for the area stating something like 'Come to the big Sky Country where you can have your little piece of Heaven' and the picture showing established trees, log cabins, and the perfect family out in front. The reality was some tract houses on bare ground with a lot of wind.

We went slightly off track to see the Montana Capitol in Helena, but didn't see any mounties. Oh wait, that is is Canada.

One of the pictures below shows one of our riders trying to entice a horse to come closer to eat the grass in his hand. As you may have noticed, there was a lot of grass already on the ground, and suprisingly the horse did not come any closer.

A bright spot came for me at the lunch stop today which if you recall has not been my favorite meal. The ladies of Avon had baked extra cinnamon rolls which made it to the stop, and you might guess what I had for lunch. Sorry Clif bars, you were trumped today. @o windy miles after the lunch stop, we made it to Townsend after passing over the Missouri river, yeah thats right, THE Missouri river. After checking in at the local high school where I am writing this blog in the library using their free wifi, we went into town and ate at a cafe. Tonight we are at leisure and were given $12 for a dinner at a local cafe. Tomorrow, 102 miles, and if there is another headwind, I will probably hide on the truck and pop out at the final rest stop.

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