Bicycling the TransAmerica Trail

Cycling Across the US, Coast to Coast

Bicycling Adventure #3

54 days, 3,783 miles, Jul-Aug 2010

Ray Jardine

2010-07-28Montana page 14 of 54

Day 14, Montana

From Hamilton to stealth camp in the sagebrush.

As usual, I got up at first light. The tarp was soaking wet on the outside from a heavy dew, so I gave it several hearty shakes, but I still carried a wet tarp all day. Ed had not yet stirred, so I set off down the hill alone. The air temperature was quite cold so I wore my shells, and the temps got even colder going 30 mph downhill. After awhile the slope eased, but it was still downhill. Along the way I had gorgeous views of the valley covered in fog. It looked like a lake. Then I got down there and went into the fog. It seemed bizarre to be cycling in dense fog in the middle of high sagebrush country. Unfortunately, it was too early to take pictures.

After 15 miles I finally got my first bit of sunshine. I thought of Ed, and how he prefers to camp on the east side of a hill, he said, for the morning's warmth. And here am I, pedaling 15 miles in the morning's chill. Different styles, for different folks. On such trips I enjoy making miles more than I would a comfortable morning's bed. I can have that at home (But never do. I'm a workaholic at home, and a pedalaholic or a hikeaholic outside.) That's it. I'm a funaholic at work or play. (that is, I enjoy my work also).

I kept expecting to reach a town called Dillon, but it seemed like the road took forever to get there. I wondered: Did I miss it somehow? But then I came to it, and was surprised how large it was. It would have been hard to miss something like that.

Interestingly, it was the first town on this trip where I did not feel entirely comfortable. I say this based on the behavior of the drivers going into town, and driving around town itself. Behavior wise, the people seemed impatient and somewhat discourteous. (I would be running into much more of that in the eastern states.)

On the far side of Dillon were several motels and gas station/convenience stores (c-stores), and I stopped at three of them looking for insect repellent. But no, all three had sold out. "The mosquitoes are fierce," a clerk said.

I set off into the hills again and eventually reached Twin Bridges. Here I stopped for a good meal in a café. This town had a nicer feel to it. Next came Sheridan, then Alder, and by now the sky was darkened with rain clouds. I looked around for some kind of shelter to get under while the storm passed. I sat there for ten minutes, but still the sky hadn't cut loose quite yet, and the next town of Nevada City was only eight miles distant. So I decided to go for it. Sure enough, I got about half way there, and the cold rain hit. I pedaled another few miles soaking wet, thinking the storm would surely pass fairly soon. But no; so I hauled off the road and traipsed down the hill thirty feet, and made a quick stealth camp among the sagebrush. Crawling into the spitfire, under the tarp, sure felt good. I was soaking wet, but under my quilt I began to warm, and before long my clothes had dried.

I had stopped early, about 5:00 pm. I fell asleep listening to some sandhill cranes. They sounded like they were about forty feet away, but well hidden in the brush.

Miles pedaled today: 94.

The story has 54 pages. This is page 14.
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