Looking at the map, I realized that I am already forgetting where I slept each night.
I spent last night and I’ll spend tonight in a cheap, very decent motel in West Yellowstone, Montana. Factors converged yesterday: The weather, in the form of temperatures in the 20s and ice and snow; a very sore throat that turned out to be strep throat; and a bad crash down into an unusually large cattle guard left me feeling dead and miserable by the time I got here. I decided to hole up in this motel, get medical help, rest, and regroup.
It has been a very good call. A nice doctor spent a lot of time with me, diagnosed the problem, and scripted me with what seems to be a wonderfully powerful antibiotic. She was wonderful.
The day before I had intended to ride from Virginia City to West Yellowstone. I made it about 35 miles or so when my throat, the fever and malaise that went with it, and a sudden storm from over a peak made me pedal half a mile up a closed forestry road (nothing is closed when you’re on a bike) to a primitive camp area. That was a good call. By the time I got the tent pitched and the bike under my Tyvek tarp, the rain and ice was on me.
Although I was starting to get wet, I floundered trying to decide what to do with my aromatic food: cheese, peanut butter, turkey. I am very experienced at hanging food in bear country, but I was getting very cold and finding a tree with an appropriate branch and going through all the time-consuming and difficult gyrations of actually getting a line over the branch, etc., would have taken at least ten minutes. In a moment of good judgment, I decided to sacrifice the food by trashing it all in the steel bear box that was there. I was all alone a half mile off the road in a primitive camp area that was as yet blocked off from access. It was no one but me and the bears.
In brief: I spent about 20 hours in my tiny tent as rain, ice, and snow came down. My throat was torturing me. I was fevered: chills and sweat.
The next morning I crawled out of my snow covered tent, packed up lethargically, and soldiered toward West Yellowstone.
On the way, I crashed into the huge cattle guard.
I got to W. Yellowstone, got this room, went to the local clinic, and slept in a bed most of the day and night.
Today I washed all my garments, dried all my gear, repaired the mirror and brake that broke in the crash…
Tomorrow I ride into Wyoming. After the Madison campground (14 miles from here), the road has not yet opened this year. It opens Friday. I’m glad I’ll be forced to make it a short day.
But this is about where I’ver been sleeping:
Day 23: This motel
Day 22: The old community center gym in Virginia City.
Day 21: The bathroom of the rest area between Ennis and Earthquake Lake. Storms were predicted, but none occurred. It was warm, clean, and wonderful. I brought the bike inside.
Day 20: Twin Bridges park, in the bike cabin. It was great. I stayed there two days due to wind.
Day 19:That cabin
Day 18: Behind the saloon in Glen in my tent. Glen is a saloon, some residences, and a name on the map. The folks of Glen are very kind and friendly. Two young mothers from Denver were on the deck of the saloon as they enjoyed the relaxation of visiting their Glen relatives. I complimented them on the way they disciplined their happy, energetic little children who were running around and playing freely. John ( a grandpa to the children, I think) gave me coffee in the morning. Glen is a terrific, magical little place.
Day 17: Behind the saloon in Wise River. I’ve found out over decades of low-budget (sleeping on the ground) travel that a saloon will almost always let you pitch your tent in the area behind the building. Saloons often have cheeseburgers and fries, and some of them even have beer.
Day 16: A campground in Sula. Sula is nothing but a store/campground. It had a nice bathroom with a heater, so I hung all my things in it to dry. Two other people were staying there: a man in a trailer who is the campground host up at Lost Trail Pass which had not opened yet for the season; and a melancholy lady who stayed in one of the small cabins and was on the cabin porch when I spoke with her. She is a widow, and her son is blind. She was very nice.
The wild geese and beautiful landscape were soothing as I contemplated crossing Lost Trail Pass/Chief Joseph Pass the next morning.
Day 15: Darby, in a cheap motel. Darby is a wonderful little Western town. There is Montana’s smallest micro-brewery in Darby. I was staging to hit Lost Trail Pass the next day.