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Week #2 – Ike on Her Bike

Every second is of infinite value.”  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.  It will never fail you.”  Frank Lloyd Wright
Sunday, we had a relaxing day off between week one and two in the quiet, big town, little city of Missoula, Montana, home of Adventure Cycling, where you can see many bicycles of every style, color and size all over the streets.  We walked the town, heard some music at a summer fair, saw the carousel, watched some white water kayakers preparing for competition next week.  It was easy to fit it all in the day because it was light out until 10:30 pm! 
We are headed for Lincoln, then Townsend, followed by Ennis, West Yellowstone is next, back into Idaho to Ashton, and ending in Jackson, WY.  It is difficult to keep track of days and places where we go each day!  Most of these places are very small, without internet connection for me to update.  I have no idea what is going on in the world.
We were ready to ride again Monday morning.  It was an easy route.  Now, we had to share the road with motorcycles, tractor trailers and rv/mobilehomes.  Those are the ones to watch for on the road!  They don’t know the size of their vehicles or side mirrors!  They are unwilling or unable to move over six inches to the left – and we all know how much is six inches – in order to pass the CMT3.  The truckers zoom along in Montana where the speed limit is 70 mph and where speeding tickets do not exist – or so I am told - you may get an emissions inefficiency ticket that does not go on your driving record.  The whole drafting thing is not what it is cracked up to be.  They know the size of their rigs and can maneuver them well, but depending on the space between it and you, the draft pushes you sideways more often than it pulls you forward and you have to be prepared to hold on to the bars at that point!
Tuesday, we had to contend with some wet weather again.  There was some rain in the morning and afternoon.  I was a couple miles from camp when the wind starting blowing things sideways.  We aren’t in Kansas any more!  (No, I never was on this trip)  The sag wagon came along to pick people up, but there was no lightning, so I persevered.  The wheels were all over the place.  I had to follow the little, yellow arrows marking the route.  I pushed forward a mile, watching out for ruts, gravel and debris, oh my, when the weather cleared.  I pulled into the site and saw all the tents that had been set up were blown down the field.  A good guess is that the wind was blowing at least fifty miles an hour.  There was a little rain and sunshine for awhile and two complete, rainbows, one on top of the other, over the site afterwards!
Wednesday, still in Montana, the weather seemed to clear up.  But, by afternoon, I passed a herd of cows where many were lieing down, a sign of inclement weather coming by.  I was back in camp by the time the hailstorm came down.  Others claimed that there were marble sized to golf ball sized hail.
The wind can be wonderful and keep you cool and keep the bugs from flying in your face.  The wind can be cold and brutal and push you around.  Thursday, we had a nice route to ride, had it not been for the constant wind beating me up for 60  of the 74 miles.  It was a battle to move forward.  Yesterday, I went down hill at 41.5 mph.  Today, I could barely go 10 mph downhill!  We passed antelope playing in the field and an authentic cattle drive.  The calves were moving about 8 mph according to my triopometer.  I had to go faster than them to not get caught in the pass.  Really, I think that riding 75 miles a day or more is enough exercise without going any faster! These head winds blow from every which way.  I am still waiting to feel tailwinds!!!  
I have my share of goofy tan lines.  My helmet straps have cut a line across my cheeks.  Others have polka dot hands from their riding gloves.  My hands are tan, creased and dry, like leather, old leather!
We are staying in the town of West Yellowstone, home of Yogi and Boo Boo.  There are an awful lot of tree stumps that look like bears!  I didn’t see them, but I did see Old Faithful late at night.  Spurting upward about fifty feet every hour didn’t compare to the geyser I saw in Iceland several years ago which shot sky high every five minutes.  Look what happened there a few months ago…
I had been anticipating going over Teton Pass from ID into WY all week.  We received our cue sheets of the route with mileage and grade on it for our last day of riding this week before our rest day in Jackson.  I have to stop calling these ‘hills’.  They are mountains!  This Pass was about ten miles long, and really, only the last two’n'half miles were tough, steep!  I made good time because I was trying to catch Bob to tell him about a time change for his bike drop off.  I never would have gone that fast, otherwise.  I was also encouraged that my friend, Arne, who had planned to meet us in Jackson, was driving by the Pass at the same time that we were heading up it; so I knew that Bob would make it to the store on time.  They took the bike apart, sent it and returned to the summit just after I reached the top.  It was a nice view that you can hardly notice when you are huffing and puffing up it.  I try to pace myself and concentrate on my pedling, my knees, my back and breathing.  I keep an eye on the tripometer and wonder if it is working because it hasn’t moved a tenth of a  mile and I know that I moved ahead at least five inches in the last minute, ha!!!
We arrived in Jackson and headed out to see the sights shortly after unloading everything.  It was a beautiful, sunny day as we walked 2 miles around the base of the Grand Teton Mtn range.  We ate at the Mangy Moose, heard some local music outdoors, saw some antique cars and my favorite, fireworks!  It was a great spot to see them, dark outside, nothing to interrupt the view and a nice display.