Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Day 23--A Two Parter Day

Part one of today started with a tour of old Butte's underground. Yes, that's right, just like Seattle has an underground, so does Butte, Montana. The reason is different, though. Due to the gold, then silver, then copper booms, Butte was at one time bigger than New York City. In order to accommodate all the people, they built buildings on top of buildings, and buildings below buildings. They are still discovering underground buildings they didn't know existed. We started our tour with Bob telling us some of the history of Butte. 
All sorts of memorabilia in this antique shop.

Then we started the tour by going downstairs in the building we were in.
It used to be a ladder to get downstairs.
Although this was not a barber shop, the flooring and many of the artifacts came from the underground 
Barber shop, not including the chairs (the original chairs were destroyed). Up in the ceiling, there were sort of skylights that let in natural light from the building above. Sometimes, the glass blocks that let in light were part of the sidewalk. Unlike Seattle, the buildings were all in use at the same time. They just dug out the basement, and had an entrance that came down from the street level. 

After this part, we went back upstairs, and out onto the street. Down below the old city hall was the jail. The police force of Butte was very corrupt. The Feds finally came in and closed the jail and classified it as a dungeon.
This was the women's jail cell.
The toilet in the women's cell.

Because the buildings were heated by steam plants, and the pipes ran under the floors of the building above, the jail was kept at a balmy 100+ degrees. In the winter, it was even warmer. Evil Knieval was even incarcerated in the jail a couple of times.

After the jail, we went back outside and around the building to Main Steet. We went in through a door at street level where the entry way was all marble. It was a very expensive building. Down the stairs, and into a small room, women would hang their fur coats, fix their makeup in the mirror, then knock on the door of the Speakeasy. This was, of course, during Prohibition. This speakeasy was discovered completely intact in 2004.
The bar is mahogany. The door had been covered over, and the mirror was discovered to be a two-way mirror. They wondered what was behind the mirror, and found this room.

That was the end of the tour. It was really pretty cool. I wonder if there are still other undiscovered businesses?

Part two of the day was, of course, the ride. Derik's friend, Fred, met us outside the tour place. He was riding his motorcycle to meet up with us. He knew where we were going to be camping tonight, and would meet us there. He picked up water for us so we wouldn't have to filter water. You don't know how nice that is! Especially since we didn't leave Butte until almost noon, and we had 40 miles to go.

We left Butte by riding by the Berkeley Pit. That is the huge superfund site.
It is still an active mine.

There up on top is The Lady of the Rockies.

Just before entering Thompson Park, we stopped at a picnic spot for some lunch. We had ridden about 11 miles, and we were still on pavement. Riding through Thompson Park (you can probably Google the history of this park if you are interested), we started climbing, still on pavement, up to a "rural neighborhood". It was a substantial climb. At the top we finally hit the dirt. We continued climbing toward our 6th Continental Divide crossing. There were some good views of the Butte watershed, Berkeley Pit, and Butte itself.
Already 19 miles from Butte.

I finally caught up to the guys at the Divide crossing. It was a really great view.
MC made it!
Looking up to the Highland Lookout tower (fortunately, we didn't have to go that way).

From the Dived crossing, we kind of rode parallel to the Divide, so didn't lose much elevation. It was mostly a roller coaster. But, the views were great.
Wide open
The Fall colors are here!

This was the beginning of the big descent of the day down to I-15. 
The freeway is down below in about the middle of the photo.

So, I started going down, but was quickly passed by Connor and Derik. But, just a bit further, I passed Connor as he had, once again, gone off the road (don't worry, he didn't crash). I was laughing so hard, I could barely concentrate on riding down the hill! Then he flew past me again. I had to stop at one point as I was just about to lose my map from its clip. I stowed it, and continued down.

At the bottom, we rode under the freeway, onto a brief section of pavement, then started the climb toward Fleecer Ridge, which we will finish tomorrow. As I was slogging my way up the final 4 miles, I was thinking at least I wouldn't have to do this part tomorrow. I finally made it to Beaverdam CG where the guys and Fred were waiting. 

We are at about 6500 ft, and it is cold tonight. I have the water jugs in my tent in hopes that they won't freeze. I think I'll be sleeping with my jacket on...with the hood up...over a wool buff. Yikes!

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