Monday, July 2, 2012

Day 15, How big is Montana anyway? (Hardin)

BEST: The short 54 mile ride (when did 54 miles of riding become considered short?)

WORST: KOA campground is right next to highway. I can throw a water bottle from my tent and hit a car.

MOST UNEXPECTED: Played in the KOA pool with other riders a game of keep away. No broken noses were received.

Pretty minimal day of riding today through a more interesting landscape than our last day of riding. One of the pictures below shows a view from a climb looking back to Billings. We got to Hardin around 10:00 and while most of the riders I was with went to a coffee shop, I went across the street to a small (teeny tiny) grocery store to buy a 3 musketeers candy bar. I had a great conversation with the workers inside and snapped a picture of a dad with his two kids inside. One thing I am really enjoying on this ride is talking to people who live in the area. I can appear normal for this small amount of time, and all of the residents have been exceptionally nice and informative.

I went across the street back to the coffee shop where the other riders were enjoying coffee (ugh) and pastry (yum). I got a bite of the cinnamon roll which was exceptional. I guess from my postings that you may have guessed one of my favorite food groups. We rolled into the exciting KOA Hardin campground around 11:30 knowing we would have to wait for the gear truck which had a flat tire. It showed up at around 11:45 with our ever popular lunch. Several of us went back to town to the Dairy Queen for food.

Dinner is going to be a big deal as we are having the same caterer as we had in Billings for the steak dinner. This time I will figure out what knife to use. For the steak dinner, I used a plastic knife when there were real steel steak knifes available making my cutting of the meat a little challenging.

After the DQ experience, it was back to KOA for a swim, and blog.

It is interesting to try to find a balance in this ride between speed, and experiences along the way. I am sure all of the riders believe they have found the right balance, but of course mine is the best. Too much speed and you miss some of the attractions, too slow and you spend too much time on the bike with the butt taking the brunt of it. There certainly is no correct answer. I think all of the riders are maximizing their experience based on their priorities, and nobody has expressed second thoughts about how they are crossing the country. I do know that with the expected high temperatures we are expecting the next several days that my strategy will be to minimize my time on the road to avoid the heat buildup during the day. Tomorrow includes going close to the Little Bighorn site, and I certainly will be taking time to check it out, but I will not be stopping at any coffee shops along the way so I can get to the next thrilling KOA campground before I go up in flames.

My new saddle worked for the ride today, but tomorrow will be more of a test, with the following 112 mile day (twice the distance of todays ride as you probably figured out) the true test. My voice is no higher than when I left so there is still some hope.


  1. Been enjoying your comments about the MT scenery. You have some beautiful country as you ride to Sheridan. Can't wait to hear your take on Gillette and Newcastle!

  2. really, who knew Montana was so large. we love Missoula and glad you got to stay on campus. guess you didn't feel inclined to hike to the top of the "M".