June 7 - 19: Idaho and Montana (and Idaho again)

6/10 - Ennis (71 miles 2901.5 total)
i've never ridden so far so fast with so little effort. the guide for our yellowstone tour yesterday told us we'd probably encounter winds as we left the madison river canyon at about 30 miles today, & we did. but they were tailwinds. they pushed us the last 41 miles to ennis, even pushed us uphill, tho' there were few uphills. much of the route was downhill. even on the level, we could move along at 19-20 mph without peddling. plus the scenery was spectacular & the skies, for the most part, gorgeous. how could a day be nicer than that??
back to the morning. it was about 40 degrees as we left w.yellowstone. before long we reached the shores of hebgen lake; we cycled along its shore for miles. a string of mountain peaks lined the opposite shore. snow covered many of the peaks. a fluffy layer of white clouds hung just below them. we were in awe of the beauty as we cycled along. at one point sari said, "i know where i am----norway."
at about mile 16 we stopped at a turnout on the road where a few other riders had gathered. here's a picture of them all with that awesome scenery in the background. from left are debby, lee, sari, judy, patty fainer, & anne.
sari & i stopped at the first gas station we came upon; we weren't sure it was open. as we drew closer we found the door was open & a young fellow was inside. evidently he's just starting up the station/store. he was glad to let us use the restroom. as we left we chatted with an older fellow outside. he told us about a very good little cafe at campfire lodge another 3 miles down the road where the breakfasts were excellent. we peddled on in that direction.
becky drove the subaru today; she was parked at the turnoff to that cafe. we rode down a little dirt road maybe 1/4 mile 'til we came upon the cutest little red clapboard cafe nestled in the tall pines. it was encircled by bikes; we added ours to the collection. the riders inside who had already eaten raved about the pancakes, the best they'd had on the trip. sari & i asked about pie; there was a fresh blueberry just out of the oven. it was delicious.
here's coreen, the newest member of our group; she joined us in w.yellowstone for the ride to the coast. you can see that she's quickly joined the breakfast club. to coreen's right is patty fainer enjoying biscuits & gravy; she orders them at most breakfast places. some versions she likes lots better than others. notice also the view; that's the madison river rushing along just outside those windows with a forest of pines beyond it.
not much past the cafe we rode along earthquake lake. in 1957 (i think), an earthquake in this area brought much of the mountain down & created the lake. there are many dead tree trunks protruding from the lake, killed when the water inundated them.
as we left quake lake we rode out of the madison river canyon into a valley ringed by mountains. the green velvet on the floor of the valley crept partway up the side of the mountains. we biked along the edge of that valley for the rest of the day. it couldn't have been prettier.
tho actually, there were 2 less pretty aspects of the afternoon. midday the lovely white fluffy clouds overhead started turning dark. then we noticed sheets of what appeared to be rain falling onto some of the mountains behind us. sari & i bagged our cameras & started riding even faster on north in hopes of outrunning the storm. we later found out that we probably succeeded; a group that was riding behind us got showered upon.
the other less perfect aspect of this afternoon was a 6-mile stretch of road construction. the road surface was hard-packed but extremely rocky & bumpy with lots of loose gravel. some riders sagged over this area; 3 got flat tires from trying to ride it.
here's a photo of me standing alongside that stretch. notice the dark clouds overhead. but the colors were pretty....the beige of the mounded earth along the unfinished road, green of the grassy stretch leading up to the ominous, dark mountains, then the gray & white clouds along the top.
sari & i survived the bumpy ride & 6 miles later wheeled into ennis. what a cute little western town. we're staying at el western lodge. we're in lovely little log cabins. the madison river flows along in back of our cabins. near the back of the cabin i'm in there's a water wheel in the river.
here's a picture of lin & darleene alongside the river & the water wheel. notice the buffalo painted on the cabin walls. most all the cabins have such decorations.
once sari & i got settled in our cabins we checked with the staff to find out the location of the dairy queen, then peddled on downtown in its direction. we found it quickly & enjoyed our respective favorite flavors of blizzards. sari has heath & i have georgia mud....both made with chocolate DQ.
plus we had another mission. yesterday doug, our yellowstone tour guide, not only told us there was a DQ in ennis, he said it was next door to a meat shop that sells the world's best beef jerky. i'm not a big beef jerky fan or even a meat fan, but i wanted to taste the world's best anyway. so sari & i went in to restvedt's meat shop for a sample. what a great place. the restvedt family has been selling meat since 1906, at this location since the early 50's. the place is immaculate. the folks behind the counter were from different generations of the restvedt family.
here's al, the fellow currently in charge. in that meat counter were 15 varieties of sausage amongst many other things.
sari & i got a sample of the jerky. my it IS good. we bought a half pound to snack on while biking over the next few days. by the way, the restvedts were reluctant to let me photograph them for this web site; they don't want any more business. they'd like to keep their operation its current, manageable, family-run size. so when you go there, don't tell them where you heard about their shop.
patty the chef is back!!! we're in 7th heaven. we're glad she had a nice little vacation from the demands of our group, but we need her! tonight she fixed mediterranean chicken. it was fantastic.
tomorrow we ride 72 miles to dillon. we're promised a long 7% climb within the first 10-15 miles. the days of coasting from one overnight town to the other are finished.
Higher quality versions of the pictures from my trip are available here. If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, or if you would like text-only versions of these daily reports e-mailed to you, feel free to e-mail my son Mark with your request. Stay tuned....

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