July 24

24 07 2009

Day 47:

Today was an unplanned half day. We started the trek heading west with the notion that we would be in Cardston, Alberta tonight. What we thought would be a nice 100 mile run turned into a slow crawl as we began our ride. We had expected easterly winds to push us up the mountains but we ran into exactly the opposite. After making it 16 miles we felt the rain coming (very dark clouds in the west) and with the wind so fierce we were forced to stop on the side of the road. Moving all our bikes together in a circle we created a barricade like structure where we took shelter for a while. Dad, Maggie and Jake even took out their sleeping bags and made themselves comfortable. When the rain started pouring we took out our tent ground sheets and tarps and quickly went to work constructing a ceiling. We spent the rest of the storm in the comfort of our make shift fort… sitting 10 feet away from the highway. When the storm finally passed we made our way into Cut Bank where we saw the rocky mountains equipped with snow and all for the first time this trip, and the first time ever for most of us. The wind today is too much to handle and on top of that we are all pretty tired. Once in Cutbank, the team took our lunch and during this time we decided to stay the night. There is a 73 mile stretch of NOTHING on the climb to Cardston so making any further progress today was out of the question. Tomorrow we begin our adventure into the rocky mountains! For me this is the most exciting part of the trip as the landscape thus far has been rather dull (speak for yourself zach!) Mom and Dad are stocking up at the grocery store for our long day tomorrow as we won’t have any services until we reach Cardston, and the rest of us are watching TV, reviewing the maps, and uploading our pictures.

Cheers
Zach





July 23

24 07 2009

Day 46:

Sleeping under the stars, without the rain fly was a great idea! With the cool breeze, we enjoyed a great night’s sleep, especially those of us who managed to sleep through the train whistles. We woke up to the sun rising beside our tents, and quickly packed up our gear alongside Sue, who was doing the same. She headed back to Mike’s Bar for breakfast, and we followed soon after. After polishing off some microwaveable breakfast sandwiches while sharing info with Sue, we headed off in opposite directions. It was nice to get an early start to the day but after just twelve miles the heat and the sun had caught up once again. We found a small bar in Inverness to refuel on drinks and snacks, and get out of the hot morning sun. The wind began to shift to the North (crosswinds for us) late in the morning and we made better time along highway two until reaching Chester for lunch after twenty-six miles. We enjoyed our Subway lunch and stocked up on drinks for the next forty miles, through small towns with no services. Though another hot afternoon, we were thankful for the diminishing wind, and managed to cruise along in the afternoon. After another twelve miles, Zach and I found shade beside some large farm silos where we waited for the others to arrive. When you’re really hot and need some shade you realize that there are absolutely no trees here in Montana. I guess that why they call their “gophers” ground squirrels. After another ten miles a small maintenance shop was a very nice surprise, for cold drinks and cool AC. Anxious to get to our destination we made good time on the last twenty miles. There were plenty of trains to keep it interesting and even some nice downhill stretches. Coasting was a nice change from working against the wind on the down hills. Finally we made a long descent into Shelby, MT where we headed through town to the Comfort Inn…which is of course is at the top of a hill! Showers, laundry, and dinner down the hill, finished off a seventy-mile day. With northeasterly winds forecasted for tomorrow, we will try to take advantage of the tailwind and log some bigger miles. We are hoping for great weather as we approach Glacier National Park in the next few days!

Maggie