Day 73 The Old Store

Day 73 - Thursday, June 25th, 2009
- Start: Winnett, MT
- ATW: Mosby, Sand Springs
- End: Jordan, MT
- Day Miles: 75
Got riding just after sun up. Spent the day riding the hills. No place to get out of the sun and our snail’s pace really was a challenge. Made it to Sand Springs, or what is left of it. The town was booming in the later 1800’s to early 1900’s but the depression drove some people out. Not all. A church, school and store remain. For now. We talked with the owner of the store, an 85 year old lady who still runs to get the phone. She moved to the area at 8 years old. She and her husband bought the store in the 1950’s after a stint at ranching. Her husband passed away in the 90’s and she is ready to let the store go because there isn’t the traffic to keep it open. Our oasis for the day wouldn’t be there for much longer.

When we walked in we asked about buying ice cream. One of their fridge’s had thawed the day before and we were offered free previously melted ice cream bars. We weren’t picky. Heather had three, Dave had seven. Then we ate two refrozen pizzas that weren’t bad at all. Heather laid her head down on the table and managed to catch a 20 minute nap in the semi-cool air of the shop, right up till the phone rang and the clump clump clump of orthopedic shoes woke her.

Before leaving and finishing our attempt to get to Jordan we soaked ourselves completely. It started with a bandana on the head, then why not the shirt, heck why not put on another shirt and soak that one too? Pretty soon we were water logged and pedaling away up the next hill. It didn’t last long though. They heat and lack of humidity evaporated the water off of us before we were ready for it. A few more stops along the way saw us using up some of the water on the bike to cool off again.

20 miles or so out of Jordan the headwind shifted to a cross wind then died off. Heather looked in the side view mirror and noticed a growing darkness. The day had started to cool as a storm came up behind us. Heather looked off to the north into a field of grass standing completely still. The grass quickly bent flat as a blast of air rushed past knocking us off the road a little. Over head the clouds began to stretch out like fingers about to grab us. We’d always dreamed about a tail wind that could push us up hills little did we ever expect to get one, but we sailed the remaining miles into Jordan with the least amount of effort ever put forth to climb a hill. Luckily we made it to town before the rain and found the city park a welcoming sight.

Also in Jordan we found an awesome grocery store. We stocked up for a few days of goods and a couple of souvenir ball caps from Ed. The caps came in handy because we were now in bug season. It’d been too cold for mosquitoes until that night. We donned the new ball caps under our head nets and slept in comfort. Dave had a tickle in his throat but didn’t think too much of it. Must have been the dust we inhaled on the trip.


June 24 - Lewis & Clark trip.

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Day 72 Sunny & Hot

Day 72 - Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
- Start: Lewistown, MT
- ATW: Grassrange
- End: Winnet, MT
- Day Miles: 55
Left later morning from our friends house. Reluctant to leave but did it anyway. We slowly pedaled up “the divide” for about nine miles. Once we crested we coasted for five miles down the back side. It was practically downhill the whole way to Grassrange. Refilled our water in Grassrange at the post office and started out again. Reached Winnett and stayed in the town park next to the pool. Snatched up some free showers from the pool house. Plan to start super early tomorrow because it’s supposed to be 100 degrees.


Day 71+ Start of Return Trip

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Day 71

Three weeks ago we stopped riding in Rapid City, South Dakota. Tomorrow we ride out of Lewistown, Montana. Now that we've visited with friends and let our bodies recuperate we'll start fresh with only the aches and pains that are associated with throwing frisbee, huluhooping and general overexertion from attempting to keep up with children. Bicycling is great and a lot of fun but the absence of an upper body workout is quite obvious after a marathon game of catch. I'm sure if we were truly worried while on a trip we could do push ups or curls with cans of beans. But am I that dedicated? Somehow I don't think so.

From Lewistown we head east having decided a long time ago that we weren't going to make it to Oregon, Idaho or Washington on this trip. With not enough time to complete the loop we'd imagined and not enough strength or desire to haul our 500+ pounds of bike and bikers over the Rockies we made the choice to cut off a few thousand miles and start our return trip now. We'll work our way back to Ohio some which way that we don't know yet. The road will lead and we'll just ramble; from here on we think it will be more of the trip we'd hoped for.

This next segment of our ride we view as a separate bike trip. Our first tour consisted of mashing out the miles, days of fighting our way as far as we could and only stopping when something broke. We spent time learning along the way what worked, what didn't and what was just plain crazy to attempt. Now we're seasoned veterans... right. At least from here on we know more of what we're getting into... right. Perhaps what I'm trying to say is that we're ready for our next adventure and we get to ride back to where we came from unless something better stops us along the way. We'll see...


Fish Hatchery...

A couple pics from our trip to Big Springs Fish Hatchery... The spring that this hatchery is set at also provides Lewistown with their water supply without filtration or treatment.

Big Sky...

A series from the return trip of our day at the mine...
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Yogo Sapphires

Our friends in Montana own a claim at the sapphire mine in Yogo Gulch. We spent Thursday of last week touring the mine area and sorting through some ore that was harvested the previous year. Ore is harvested and allowed to freeze over the winter so that it will split apart when it is tossed into the tumbler. Once tumbled and screened the sapphires are heavier than most of the surrounding rocks and will sink to the bottom and rest on the screen. The screen is then flipped and the sapphires sparkle in the sunlight as they lay on top of the rock pile... Well, if you shake the screen just right and then flip just right and have ore that actually has sapphires in it they will sparkle in the sun. We learned the techniques and found a few sparkles; but mostly we had fun.

Dave tumbles the ore and pours it onto the screen for sifting

Then we look...

and look...

and look some more...

The fruits of our labor... we ended up with one tiny stone large enough to cut but the rest were chips. The only value the chips have is as a novelty or, being a 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness (diamonds are a 10), the sapphire chips once had value in the industrial market as an abrasive.
A few websites that have some information about the Yogo Gulch and the sapphires: http://www.geo.utexas.edu/courses/347K/redesign/gem_notes/Corundum/corundum_triple_frame.htm

Photos from Montana...

Here's a few shots of us bummin' around the Lewistown area...

Heather and Joan back together again...

Dave entertaining himself while the girls talk...

Scenes from the local mountain top, don't ask me where it is exactly, all I know is that we went up a road our bike couldn't pedal nor our commen sense would normally allow us to venture. But a great view...

Hunting for "Montana Diamonds" on the roadside ledge...

Our first Saturday back from our trip to Yellowstone we enjoyed a day of ease at a local warm spring. Gigantic Warm Springs bubbles up from the ground into a large pond full of lovely growing things that tickle your feet. From there it pours over a border of rocks and into the surrounding terrain. The spring's located on a private ranch and was a couple of bucks to get in for the day. Once there we swam, sat in the shade, ate, and played a few games of volley ball.


Flashback: Day 30

This was a nice lookout with the Mississippi River below. The trees were very thick and we wouldn't have had such a nice view. Incidentally this couple experienced their ninth anniversary on Friday.

Flashback: Dave's Journal Entry June 3rd

This photo was taken in Wasta. It is after we had a rear tire blow out going 25mph. It's the only picture we have for June 3rd. Dave is seen adjusting the recycled umbrella material, helmet cover/seat cover, because rain is collecting underneath the bill and empties on his face when he looks up.


Day 58 - Postcard from Old Faithful Geyser

Postcard from Day 51 - Wall, South Dakota

Postcard for Wall, South Dakota
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
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