Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Day 25--Bannack State Park Sure Was Nice!

Too bad we didn't stay there.

This is how cold it was this morning.
Those are my frozen shorts that I washed last night.

Fred was with us again last night. He has the Taj Mahal of tents.

Since the first bunch of miles were pavement, and climbing, I left at 8:40, about 20 minutes ahead of Derik and Connor. I managed to stay ahead of them for the first 1 1/2 hours. I even took a couple of photos.
Sharp pointy mountains over there.
Comet mountain

When I got to Crystal Park, I saw that it was a place where people can dig for rocks. That would be interesting for the rock collector. Shortly after that, the guys caught up to me. That was near the top, so I was able to stay with them through the nice fast descent. I don't know if it was that one, or the next one, but at some point I got up to 42.6mph. Going down, we were taking turns drafting, then passing. MC rolls pretty fast downhill, and I could pass Connor and Derik while coasting (I was going too fast to pedal anyway). Then we had an uphill and they were gone. I didn't catch up to them until they stopped in Polaris. There, Connor and I changed to the next map. We've now gone through 2 maps.

The guys pulled ahead from Polaris to the highway. They had decided we would have lunch at Bannack State Park. Because I was leading on the highway to the turnoff to Bannack, we stayed together. We managed to arrive at the park together too. That never happens! We rode into the park at 12:30 after 36ish miles. That's the most miles we've done before lunch. Of course it helps that it was all pavement.

Bannack State Park was really nice. The weather was sunny and warm. 
The trees were pretty, and there was even a teepee.
The book had Bannack listed as today's stop. Unfortunately, we had decided to do more miles. I would have been perfectly happy to stay there! It was such a nice place. And they had a hiker/biker site too! But, alas, we restocked water (Derik even filled his two one gallon dromedary bags), and headed down the road. 

The area we are in now is mostly sagebrush. Quite a difference from the wooded mountains. From Bannack we were on gravel/hard pack dirt for the next 12 miles. We didn't gain much elevation, but it was somewhat rollercoastery. I was very thankful that the road was dry. If it had been wet, it would have been a muddy mess. 
Pretty much nothing here.

We came back to a highway, but just before it, I took this photo at Cross Ranch.
Nice one, huh?

We were back on a highway for a couple miles. Connor was leading this time (for a change). We got back onto gravel on Medicine Lodge Rd. The guys soon got ahead of me. We were 50 miles in for the day, and it was warm. I was getting tired. We didn't have an exact place where we were going to camp, just somewhere around 60 miles. It seemed like I rode and rode. Every time I'd crest a hill, I would hope to see the guys, but they were too far ahead of me. This is usually the case, but today it was frustrating for me because I was not able to contribute to the conversation of where to stop. I just had to keep going until they had decided to stop, and I caught up to them. They, apparently, don't ever need to take a break (except lunch). The only time they stop is if there is a turn. Then they wait for me to catch up. If there are no turns, they don't stop. Consequently, I get further and further behind because I can't go that long without a break. When I finally caught up to them, I was hopping mad. I told Derik they need to stop and let me catch up once in awhile, especially when we don't have a specific campground in mind. There was a nice farmhouse that I would have been happy to ask if we could camp on their lawn, but the guys were already long gone. So, anyway, we are camped alongside the road in the middle of nowhere.

After dinner, Derik went across the road. He motioned for us to come over. Down in the valley below there was a bull moose.
This one was pretty good (zoomed in). A guy went by in a pickup. He said there is three cows and two bulls that hang out there.

Tomorrow we have less miles to get to Lima--about 41 or so. We'll meet up with Fred for one more night before he heads home.

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