Sent: Tuesday, 8/05/03
To: Friends and Family
Subject: Bannack State Park to Upper Lake
Monday, August 4 - Bannack State Park to Lima (56 miles, 1860 feet)
Due to recent evening rainstorms, we modified today's route to avoid a section of road that becomes mucky when wet. Because of that modification, we rode on a lot of pavement and combined two days riding into one. I'm getting used to pavement, although I'll never be a road biker. The traffic in this part of Montana is generally very light, even on the interstate highways. At times on I-15, several minutes passed between cars.
Jim and I like riding with the BOB Boys. They stop at all the historical markers, photo opportunities, and cafes. Caley and Evan raced ahead of us, took a short cut, and ending up waiting several hours for the group to catch up to them.
Tuesday, August 5 - Lima to Upper Lake Campground (56 miles, 2460 feet)
Today's ride was long and easy, except for some long stretches of wash-boarded roads that had everyone complaining. In spite of the bumpy roads, I loved this ride since Caley and I rode together and talked most of the way. My niece is a remarkable young woman!
Up until today, we've been lucky to have only a drop or two of rain during daylight hours. I'm sorry to say we broke that lucky streak on the night when I invited the whole group over for dinner. With all the conveniences of the motor home, I've been making some pretty good meals for our group while the BOB Boys and the Brothers made do with freeze dried food and bean burritos. Just as the group was gathering for a dinner of pork tenderloin, lemon rice pilaf, corn on the cob, and salad, the monsoons came. This was the first night since the start of our trip that we couldn't eat outside.
All 14 of us squeezed into our 24-foot motor home. From left to right, Greg and Bob (the Brothers), Evan, Jeff Olson (a BOB Boy), Tom (brother-in-law and driver), Ray (a BOB Boy), Norm (father of the Brothers), Robert (a BOB Boy), and Jim. The other 5 of us are squeezed in the back. In spite of this inconvenience, a good time was had by all. When dinner was done, so was the rain.
Our campground is in Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, which is supposedly home to 400 trumpeter swans year round and the population swells to 2000 in the winter. We were all excited to see these beautiful big birds with a wingspan of over 8 feet. Way over on the other side of the lake we saw some white specks that eventually flew away. I guess we saw some trumpeter swans, but it wasn't the thrill we were hoping for.
Perhaps it was the large hunk of beef Kurt had for dinner last night, but something fired up his dormant racing mentality. He got a burst of energy that pushed him to the finish line. When Evan realized he had a challenger, he took off to catch him. When Kurt ran out of water, Evan was able to close the gap. Evan also had the advantage of having a nearly empty BOB while Kurt's was fully loaded. Regardless of the outcome, they both proved their strength on the trail today.
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