Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lander, WY

Day 43: Sunday, June 30, 2013
Dubois to Lander: 78 miles

Posts over the next few days will be mercifully short, as I am very tardy in posting them, and am relying on photos, my expense records, and hazy memory. Every time I sit down to write a blog entry, I end up horizontal within a few minutes. Tonight, I'm going to try to break that pattern, as I'm in Pueblo and didn't go anywhere today, except around town.

log church
I noticed this log church on the way out of Dubois.

Wyoming is starting to look the same as the day before. And, not surprisingly, the same as it did back in 1981. The same red rocks. The same barren prairie.

more sandstone cliffs
More red sandstone cliffs.
I don't know what the crop was.

I stopped at a small store in Crowheart and bought some much-needed protein (cheese and lunchmeat), and shared it with Jordan, Israel, and Natalee when they pulled in.

trial lawyer school
Isn't this an interesting juxtaposition of signs?

even more red sandstone cliffs
Even more red sandstone cliffs

We tried to outrun a storm cell that was chasing us, but didn't make it. While we were stopped at a convenience store on the Shoshone reservation, it caught up with us, giving us an excuse to stop for 45 minutes. About 15 minutes after that, there was no sign that it had rained.

cumulus mammatus
These cumulus mammatus clouds bore out their threat.

Matt and Sarah were the first to arrive in Lander. The city park looked very familiar - Jack and I had stayed there back in 1981. Back then, we had paid $2 (for all four of us!) and were not impressed with the facilities. Today, it's a very nice park, with real restrooms and running water, and there's no charge. Jordan, Israel, and Natalee pulled in around sunset, and ended up cooking their supper in the dark.

Some locals, and other cyclists who were camping there, told us about some road construction coming up, and warned us to avoid it if at all possible. But, when you're following a map that shows little more than the route you're bicycling, it's hard to avoid stuff like that.

I've started seeing some roadside markers that I've never seen before. They're about the same size as the mileage markers. It took me a while to figure out what they meant. Can you?

roadside markers
Can you divine the meaning of these roadside markers?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dubois, WY

Day 42: Saturday, June 29, 2013
Hatchet Campground to Dubois: 49 miles

After an unsatisfactory breakfast at the lodge that just happened to be next to the campground (the omelets were about half the size we expected), the first order of business was conquering Togwatee (TOE-guh-tee) Pass. It wasn't particularly difficult, but it was long, and took up the rest of the morning.

Tetons from Togwatee
Goodbye to the Tetons from Togwatee Pass

The fun part of the climb occurred only half a mile short of the summit, where I met the most amazing family coming down. Mark and Erica are biking with their three kids and 80-pound black Lab, and you can see their heavy-duty setup and unusual configuration in the photograph and in detail photos on their website. The two girls, aged around four or five, can usually be found in the trailer with the dog, although Erica is also towing a Trail-A-Bike in case one of the girls wants to pedal. And, of course, Erica has the little one on her back. I don't know if it was typical, but everyone, including the girls, was cheerful and talkative. We shared stories and then were off, happy to enjoy the downhill side of pass.

the family ride
This family really rides together!

The descent from the pass and the ride to Dubois (DU-boys) were marked by striking rock formations and a half a chicken, barbecued, which I ate for lunch at a roadside bar and grill. And a headwind. We expected wind - after all, we're following the Wind River. Back in 1981, we had a tailwind. Oh, well.

Wyoming ridge
We saw this impressive ridge on the descent from Togwatee Pass.

red striated sandstone
This red striated sandstone looked just about the same in 1981.

It was another KOA night. This one was not as accommodating as Bald Bob's in Dillon, MT, having a ridiculous pricing structure. Matt tried arguing with them, but it was no use. Jordan, Israel, and Natalee found another tenting spot elsewhere - I think it was free. But at least we got our laundry done, and we had wi-fi.

I think this is the same campground we stayed in back in 1981. But this time, we didn't spook any horses.

To cap off the evening, we dined at the Cowboy Cafe, which was extremely busy and had excellent food. And I had my second beer of the trip!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hatchet Campground, Moran Junction, WY

Day 41: Friday, June 28, 2013
Grant Village to Hatchet Campground (8 miles past Moran Junction): 61 miles

Before I get going on today's adventure, I gotta tell you about what was probably the coolest part of the day yesterday, that I completely forgot about (because I'm actually writing this five days later).

We six cyclists were assigned a campsite in the group camping area. There were several other groups there: I noticed Boy Scouts, a church group, and a Backroads group.

If you've been to Bike Expo or you read any cycling publications, you're probably familiar with Backroads Bicycle Touring. They offer deluxe tours, ranging from a weekend to several weeks. Eighty percent of their business is bicycle touring, but they also offer multi-modal tours like biking/kayaking/horseback riding. One of those tours happened to be at the campground. The staff were cleaning up after having served supper to their clientele, and there was a lot of food left over. So they were going around, offering it to other bicyclists. We were fortunate that "other bicyclists" was mainly us. We glommed onto that right away! The menu was build-it-yourself tacos or something with marinated chicken, steak, and veggies, with cheese, beans, and rice. But there weren't any taco shells or tortillas left over. So we just dumped everything into a couple of pots, fired up our campstoves, and had a delicious supper, courtesy of the Backroads people. Many thanks, especially, to Brant Haflich, our primary Backroads contact and benefactor.

Brant told us to come back at 9:15 in the morning for more leftovers. We gave some thought to changing our itinerary, and just following them around to collect free meals. But we didn't want to wear out our welcome. We did go back over there this morning. Today's offerings were the leftovers from the sandwich-building party the clients had before setting out on their adventure: shaved beef and turkey, veggies, cookies. Not exactly breakfast food, but we made out like bandits again!

Jordan, Israel, and Natalee decided to explore Yellowstone a little more; Matt, Sarah, and I decided to move on. Shortly after hitting the road, we crossed the Continental Divide for the fourth time (we had done #2 and #3 on the way into camp last night). Today's route took us south along the Lewis River canyon, out of Yellowstone Park, and along Jackson Lake, across which we could see the Grand Tetons in all their magnificence.

Lewis River Canyon.
The Old Coot isn't impressed by the Lewis River Canyon.

The Grand Tetons
The Grand Tetons are probably the most magnificent mountains in the country.

Matt, Sarah, and I stopped at Colter Bay Village for lunch and to stock up on supplies. But I missed them entirely, and didn't see them until we met at tonight's camping spot.

It was good to be out of the park: although the traffic was slow, it was dense, and shoulders there were narrow or non-existent.

Name these flowers!
Name these flowers!

At Moran Junction, the route turns east, heading for another pass. There was not a cloud in the sky - except for two dramatically towering cumulus systems. Hatchet campground, eight miles from the junction, was overrun with mosquitoes, had running water and pit toilets. I don't think it was worth the $10 fee, even if the three of us did split it.

towering cumulus 1
These two towering cumulus were the only clouds in the sky.

towering cumulus 2
The warm moist air cooled as it rose
until it no longer had the energy to rise further.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Grant Village, Yellowstone Park, WY

Day 40: Thursday, June 27, 2013
West Yellowstone to Grant Village: 53 miles

Phil was up and packing for the road at 6:30. I crawled out of bed long enough to photograph him carrying his loaded bike downstairs, then flopped back into the bunk. I was awakened at 9:20 by the cleaning lady. So much for an early start.

Phil carrying bike
Phil carries his bike downstairs.

The former Union Pacific depot was across the street from the hotel. It's now a museum dealing mainly with the parts the railroads played in Yellowstone Park tourism. I'll do a separate writeup on that.

After touring the museum, I had some breakfast that I'd bought the night before - plums and yogurt - and, since it was now lunchtime - went across the street to a McDonald's. But one look at their prices - $4 for a cheeseburger - drove me back to the Taco Bus for another macho burrito. And then it was off to Yellowstone.

I was here in 1954, 1967, and 1981, so have already seen a lot of the usual tourist stuff. And I didn't have time for the real backwoods adventures, so my goal this time was to make it through the park without seeing any wildlife. I came close: two scruffy-looking bison ambling slowly across the road held up traffic for a mile. And I saw an elk waiting patiently at the side of the road for cars to stop so she could cross safely. I did take the time to observe a few bubbling geysers, but no Old Faithful.

fly fisherman
Here in the park, as well as on the ride from Ennis,
we saw many fly fishermen along the Madison River.

vintage Yellowstone buses
You can tour Yellowstone park
in a bus from the 1950s or the 1930s.

Yellowstone flowers
Yellowstone flowers

token geysers
Okay, here's your token shot of geysers.

Grant Village is a camping area on the way out the south side of the park. While I was in the store there, some fellow cyclists hailed me. It was Jordan, Israel, and Natalee, three cyclists who had spent a night at the warmshowers jazz house back in Missoula. They had met another couple, Matt and Sarah, and we all shared a campsite at Grant Village campground in Yellowstone.

camping in Yellowstone
Camping in Yellowstone

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

West Yellowstone, MT

Day 39: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Ennis or thereabouts to West Yellowstone: 57 miles

After one heck of a lot of sleep, waiting for the wind and rain to stop, we arose early for a change, and decided to hit the road without eating breakfast, to take advantage of the calm. As usual, the Chicago Three soon left me behind. And skipping breakfast was a mistake. The wind resumed earlier than I had expected, and that, combined with the up-river grade and the light-headedness caused by an empty stomach, made for a bit of a slog. The empty stomach was cured by a stop at an RV park - the restaurant was closed, but the park hostess fixed me a "gourmet" hot dog. I don't remember seeing anything memorable, except for a bunch of fly fishermen and that rock in the river, until reaching West Yellowstone.

rock in Madison River
How many thousands of years has that rock been there?

Some of the Wounded Warrior riders were congregated at a bike shop, and I went in to ask if Nik had been there - his bike had needed some adjustments. I said, "He cycles in cutoffs and flip-flops." The shop owner said, "Oh, the guy with the gun! Yeah, you missed him by maybe half an hour." Nik is carrying a gun in a holster on this trip - looked like a 45, but then I don't know guns. I never got up the nerve to talk with him about it.

West Yellowstone is, of course, a tourist town, being right outside the west gate to Yellowstone Park; and it has, of course, a western theme.

elk burger sign
Getcher elk burgers here!

There's a sort of hostel in town, in the Madison Hotel, which is over 100 years old. Actually, "hostel" means there are small rooms with three beds, and showers are down the hall. I shared a room with Phil, an Australian somewhere around my age who had bought a Co-Motion for his touring.

Madison Hotel
The Madison Hotel - authentic vintage western.

Madison Hotel door
The bear ate my flag...

small hotel rooms
Three bunks to a small room--
it would have been cozy.

Although we could have had a bison burger or elk burger for supper, the hotel clerk said that we should visit the Taco Bus, which served loaded plates at a reasonable price. It sounded good to us - although Phil was surprised to find that it was an actual bus! We followed that with ice cream, of course. I had a root beer float made with huckleberry ice cream. This is the first time I'd ever been told "If you run out of root beer, just come back and we'll fill it up again!"

taco bus
Are all taco buses white?

I stayed up until 2:30 am, trying to catch up on my blogging. As you can tell, it didn't work. And it had the expected effect in the morning.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ennis, MT

Day 38: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Virginia City to 19 miles past Ennis: 33 miles

Wind. Rain. That was yesterday. I shouldn't have bothered mentioning them. Today was a doozy.

The Chicago Three and I pulled out of the Virginia City campground around ten. That was our first mistake of the day. Of course, it was nice that we were already a quarter of the way up to the first pass. Just three miles to the top, and it was a steep one. But the view from the top was great, and the downhill into Ennis was steep and fast. In spite of that, the slow Old Coot was left behind.

the downhill to Ennis
Ennis is down there somewhere.
Photos like this never do justice to the magnificent view.

Ennis is one more town with an old-timey western-themed main street. But before I made it that far, I spied the Pit Stop Pizzeria. They served excellent calzones, handmade, with handmade crust. Other cyclists had their pizza, and declared it equally good.

calzone in Ennis
Lunch: a delicious calzone in Ennis

From Ennis, it's a slow ascent along the Madison River valley the entire 50 miles to West Yellowstone. The Chicago Three caught up with me on the way out of town (their lunches are longer than mine), and we thought we could come close to making that distance. We didn't count on the wind. I should have read my 1981 trip notes.

The Madison Valley is known for its excellent flyfishing and its strong down-river winds. Soon after we left Ennis, we were fighting 30-mph headwinds. After four hours of doing battle, we had made only 19 miles headway, and we were bushed. The map led us to a campground which was posted No Camping (we should have checked the map addendum), but we camped there anyway. Our intention was to wait until the wind died down, then do some night riding. In the strong wind, I didn't bother setting up the tent: I just laid it out, stuffed my sleeping bag in through the doorway, and slithered inside. Mistake number two.

dinner alee the latrine
The Chicago Three enjoy dinner alee the latrine

Well, we would have tried some night riding, but it began to rain. And stayed raining pretty much all night. I found that my tent isn't very waterproof when it's used like a bivvy sack.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Virginia City, MT

Day 37: Monday, June 24, 2013
Dillon to Virginia City: 73 miles

Today's ride should have been an easy one: a run through one valley to Twin Bridges, and a run through another to Virginia City. But there was the wind. And rain.

The Chicago Three and New Hampshire Two were on the road by 10:00 - late enough in itself - but I stuck around to try to catch up on my blog. Yup, KOAs have wi-fi connections.

If you looked up beaver slides, you found that their original name was Beaverhead County Slide Stacker. Beaverhead County is named after Beaverhead Rock, a distinctive rock formation, whose name in turn dates back hundreds (if not thousands) of years, courtesy of Native American tribes in the region. I think it looks more like an Anaconda head. But then, anacondas were not native to these parts.

Beaverhead Rock
Beaverhead Rock

The run up the Beaverhead River valley from Dillon passes right by Beaverhead Rock. I was so engrossed by it that I didn't pay much attention to the huge thundercloud sneaking up behind me until it was too late. I tried to outrun it, but it was no use. This darn wide-open country offers precious little shelter close to the road. But there was a cemetery! As I pulled in and hurriedly parked my bike under cover of some huge trees, the wind sprang up something fierce. I ran for the cover of the caretaker's shack; it was locked, but at least I could stand alee of it. The birds, sailing to and fro, seemed to be enjoying the buffeting. And that's pretty much all it turned out to be. The bulk of the storm passed a mile or so to the east. But it made for a pretty good show.

Any port in a storm

Tyler and Katie were having lunch in Twin Bridges when I arrived there. They had decided to stop there for the day (pretty short trip!), then go on to Bozeman and then, by whatever path, to New Hampshire. After lunch with them, I said goodbye and started working on the second leg, to Virginia City.

school and church
Just an interesting school and church building in a small town

After Twin Bridges came Sheridan (where I talked with Howard, who wore a cycling T-shirt and just happened to cross the street in front of me) and then Alder, where the occupants of the saloon seemed to live there. Don't jump to conclusions - the saloonkeeper also ran the RV park. What with my late start, the thunderstorm, and now headwinds, I wasn't sure I would make it to Virginia City. But the camping facilities were not impressive. And it was an hour earlier than I thought. So on to Virginia City, via Alder Gulch, playing cat-and-mouse with more rainclouds.

Alder Gulch, like the Sumpter Valley, had been turned upside down by dredges searching for gold. It is said that much of the gold removed from Alder Gulch financed Harvard University. It also financed any number of road agents, who, as it turned out, were under the control of the local sheriff. They were eventually caught by a group of citizens who called themselves the Vigilantes and, after due deliberation, dispatched via the rope.

Alder Gulch gold dredge
This Alder Gulch gold dredge
is nowhere near the size of the one in Sumpter.

Alder Gulch, some fourteen miles long, is now filled with tailings from the dredges. Both Nevada City and Virginia City, at the top of Alder Gulch, sprang up in the gold rush. Today, they're parks, essentially manufactured ghost towns that contain not only their own preserved buildings, but others that have been brought in from other ghost towns. They're fascinating, and I wish I could have spent more time there. The towns are little changed from when I passed through in 1981.

Nevada City business district
The Nevada City business district

Nevada City historic district
The Nevada City historic district

Virginia City
Virginia City

In Virginia City, I spied the Chicago Three enjoying supper in the Bale of Hay saloon. I joined them, and ordered a pasty smothered in gravy, and an Amber Jack - my first beer of the trip. Both went down nice and smooth. But the beer might not have been a wise decision. The campground was almost a mile past town - and about a quarter of the way up one more pass. Ugh!

cycling to camp after dinner
Cycling up to camp after dinner at the Bale of Hay Saloon

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Rainbow Gatherings

Day 36: Sunday, June 23, 2013
The Rainbow Gathering in Big Hole

As the Wikipedia article puts it, "Rainbow Gatherings are temporary intentional communities, typically held in outdoor settings, and espousing and practicing ideals of peace, love, harmony, freedom and community, as a consciously expressed alternative to mainstream popular culture, consumerism, capitalism and mass media."

The unofficial Rainbow site contains very little concrete information. If you've been reading the papers, you probably know more than what they say there.

Rainbow gatherings are held, usually annually, in various places around the world. In the United States, a location on U. S. Forest Service land is located by scouts in the weeks preceding the event, and word is distributed. Usually, 25,000 to 45,000 people can be expected to attend the U. S. event.

As opposed to an event like Burning Man, there is little structure and internal control to these gatherings. There is no charge to attend, although attendees are encouraged to provide food for the kitchens; "security"; health and sanitation assistance, etc. Because there is no charge, these events seem to attract a fair number of people who are themselves poor and whose main purpose is to further their own ends via theft, scamming, and other forms of misbehavior. Because of this, residents of communities surrounding the chosen site usually react with displeasure to the gathering. Governmental bodies (the Forest Service, local/county/state police, and others) which are tasked with keeping order incur considerable costs connected with monitoring a gathering and maintaining order when necessary.

As you may have gathered from my other posts, an area in the Big Hole was chosen as the site of this year's gathering. In Wisdom, we witnessed a brawl that appeared to be tenuously related to the gathering. One of our cyclists was told by a Safeway employee that Rainbow people had come to the store and asked for donations of food; when they were refused, they urinated on merchandise in the store. Bald Bob has a sign clearly posted at his KOA that Rainbow people are not welcome.

On the other hand, locals do not like the high police presence. We talked with several county deputies and state patrolmen. While they are very sociable to us (at the top of a pass, I had a long conversation with a state patrolman about our trip), they seem to have little to do beyond zipping back and forth and responding to the odd problem. So (perhaps to meet quotas), they set up road traps and end up picking on locals. One resident of Jackson told us that they had issued tickets to friends and family for items such as cracked windshields, burned-out taillights, tailgates or mudflaps too high, missing front license plates, etc. So there's not a lot of warmth there. The communities feel trapped between both sides.

While the Rainbow people espouse some worthy ideals, I can't say I agree with their methods. There are better ways of showing peace, love, and so on than by (whether intentionally or unintentionally) causing the problems that seem to be an inescapable part of these gatherings.

Dillon, MT

Day 36: Sunday, June 23, 2013
Wisdom to Dillon: 73 miles

We awoke to low-flying clouds and dew that had frozen into little globules, courtesy of the 28-degree fog that had settled in overnight. Most of the Wounded Warrior riders didn't wait for the fog to lift, but some of us decided to play it safe.

dew globules on tent
Frozen dew in the morning

Angus rides off
Angus rides off into the mist.

It was a short ride down the valley to Jackson, home to 45 people and to the Jackson Lodge and Hot Springs (which, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, we and other cyclists were squeezed out of). A couple of kids (maybe 20 years old) were hanging out on the porch of the cafe. They were quite interested in the cyclists, and me especially, because of my advanced age (!) and the amount of weight I'm carrying. They were very polite. It turned out that they had hitchhiked in, bringing 80 pounds of rice and beans, to be a part of the Rainbow Gathering. They went to pains to point out that they weren't Rainbow Kids (huh?), but were just curious and wanted to be a part of it as part of their life experience.

A sheriff's deputy pulled up, leaned out the window, and said, "I bet you're from Nova Scotia!" "Nope," I replied, "but there's another cyclist inside who might be the one you're after." It turned out that he was just keeping an eye on the Wounded Warrior riders.

After Jackson comes Big Hole Pass, the one that I cussed my way up back in 1981. Without the water jug, it wasn't really that bad a climb. In 1981, we had camped at the top of the pass, a little way off the road, and had a fantastic evening. Now, everything's fenced off. Oh, I suppose we could have found a place to set up tents, but it was only lunchtime.

mountain, homestead, gate
Gate, homestead, mountain

Back in 1981, I had photographed some interesting structures in the Big Hole. I had no idea what they were, but surmised that they had something to do with the huge haystacks we had seen. Yup. They're called beaver slides. See the contemporary pic below. Despite their size, they're actually portable, and can be moved anywhere a haystack is needed. Hay is loaded onto a platform at the bottom of the incline. Horses (or tractors, nowadays) pull the platform up the incline, and the hay is flopped onto the top of the stack. It was invented by a Big Hole rancher over 100 years ago, and I suppose you could call it a gigantic primitive front-end loader. For more (and interesting!) info, just do a web search for "beaver slide". Wikipedia has a good article on it.

beaver slides
Beaver slides are still used, although less frequently.
Although large haystacks are better at preserving nutritional content,
modern baling techniques are replacing them.

Dillon's an interesting town. It has a beautiful railroad station, which is now a museum, with an outdoor museum alongside it. When the Chicago Three, the New Hampshire Two, and I pulled into town, there was a vintage Chevrolet rally and show there. We wanted to check it out, but just didn't have time for it. Instead, we stocked up on supplies and headed for the KOA. (The Metlin Hotel also looked interesting, but not all of us are on hotel budgets.)

Dillon railroad station
The Dillon railroad station, now a museum

The Hotel Metlin
Dillon's Hotel Metlin looks like an interesting place to stay.

And now a good word for KOAs. Back in 1981, we used a few of them. But we tried to avoid them. They seemed to be pretty much a plot of dirt divided up into RV spots. Not very exciting at all.

This one wasn't like that at all. It's almost like a home away from home (at least for the RVers). Jovial Bald Bob takes pride in his KOA, and takes good care of it. And he gave us a good price. Even on Pepsi.

Bald Bob
Bald Bob hugs his bear

Chicago three at supper
The Chicago Three sit down to supper

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Wisdom, MT

Day 35: Saturday, June 22, 2013
Chief Joseph Pass to Wisdom: 19 miles

It rained all night. And it was cold. I didn't want to get out of bed.

And so I didn't. The rain finally let up around eleven. Wet gloves (the second pair), wet shoes, wet tent. Even with the sun peeking through the clouds, I didn't feel like getting on the road just yet. A hearty breakfast of taco soup (Bear Creek dehydrated, rehydrated) warmed my innards, and the dishwater warmed my fingers. After that, it was all downhill.

Literally. The road descends from the pass all the way to Wisdom in the Big Hole valley. Even with a late start, I figured I could make it to the top of Big Hole Pass and camp up there - where, in 1981, we had had the best night of the trip. But plans have a way of changing.

The Big Hole Battlefield, a national historical site and interpretive center that tells the story of the Nez Perce and the battle they fought there, and their subsequent flight, was only a few miles down the road. I stopped and ended up staying there over an hour. The half-hour movie is really outstanding, and the displays are very informative and bring home the story of how white man's greed decimated the native lands.

On the way out, I bumped into five other cyclists who were just arriving. Tyler and Katie are from New Hampshire, and are cycling back there from the west coast. Nik, Ruth, and Meredith (R&M are sisters) are from the Chicago area and are headed back there and then on to Maine, generally via the Northern Tier route; but they're on the TransAmerica Trail for a while. And they range from 1/4 to 1/3 my age. (Well, that's stretching it a bit, but it sounds good and it's almost true.)

I arrived in Wisdom (a whole 16 miles downhill), and, after that wet night, was darn ready for a hot lunch. Tyler and Katie were there, so I joined them for what turned out to be supper - after all, what with stopping at the interpretive center, it was already after 5:00. Then the Chicago Three cycled in. Everybody else was ready to stop for the night. Companions are always enjoyable, so I decided to stay. We (most of us) headed for the American Legion Park, and ended up in the midst of 17 cyclists: 11 doing a Wounded Warrior ride to raise funds for disabled veterans, a Brit named Simon riding a beautiful Dawes Galaxy, and a Thai from Maryland named Angus riding east-to-west.

One more reason our plans changed: the Rainbow Gathering. The others had planned to stay in Jackson, at the lodge/hot springs. That would have been a wonderful experience - see Dennis and Becky's blog, especially the photos to see what we missed, thanks to the Montana Highway Patrol. The presence of the Rainbow people forced a change in our plans. At this point, I'll assume you know who and what they are; if not, wait a few days and I'll explain more. The lodge was booked solid for three weeks by county and state police. So that was a very good reason to stay in Wisdom.

Wisdom, while not the center of Rainbow activity, was not immune to the fallout. After we had had supper, a fight started on the main drag, and a bottle was thrown through the window of the grocery store. Apparently someone had picked up a hitchhiker, and one party tried to rip the other off, and the fight began. It didn't take long before the place was swarming with cops.

Sunlit dandelions in the Big Hole

I'm glad I didn't go on to camp on top of the pass. Storm clouds threatened, and we heard stories of snow up there just the day before. In spite of Wisdom's legendary mosquitoes (see my 1981 journal entry!), we had a great evening, enjoying both an outstanding Big Hole sunset and a monster moon: the full moon in perigee.

stile at sundet
Nik and a Wounded Warrior rider enjoy the sunset.
The stile permits access to a stream for fishermen.

Monster moon over Wisdom
Monster moon over Wisdom

pump at sunset
The pump provided the campground's water.

moon and bike
Moon over my ami