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

6/12 - Jackson (48 miles 3021.5 total)
it was very cloudy in dillon this morning, but at least that meant the temps were a bit warmer than yesterday. we had the continental breakfast the motel provided, with a few additions by patty. sari & i pedalled out of town around 6:15....behind most everyone else.
it wasn't long before the clouds got darker & droplets of rain started falling. that's the way it was most of the day. that's also why there are so few pictures with this report. i didn't want to get my camera wet.
i've been meaning to mention that, during these days of biking in montana, i have a hitchhiker riding on my back bike bag....my good friend marilyn hedges. marilyn & i got to know each other when i first joined the staff of the provost's office at the u of iowa in 1989. all of her friends knew that she dreamed of visiting montana. for special occasions we'd give her photo calendars or picture books full of gorgeous montana scenes. circumstances conspired to deny marilyn her dream of visiting montana, the main one being a recurrence of breast cancer that took her life in 1995. it's been fun for me to imagine, as i ride through this spectacularly beautiful state, that marilyn & i are sharing every gorgeous eyeful.
back to this morning: sari & i began the climb to the top of badger pass at about mile 10 of today's ride. we finally went over the top at mile 20. then it was down into a beautiful valley for less than 10 miles before we started climbing again. we got up to within 2 miles of the top of big hole pass when we ran into a stretch of road construction. debby was there with the subaru to replenish our water supplies & offer snacks. she reported that the construction went on for about 5 miles & that the surface consisted of hard-packed rocks with a sprinkling of gravel on top. she said it was very bumpy, especially on the down side. she had already sagged some riders over the torn-up road. she said that several of the riders who biked over the construction zone walked their bikes on the down side because the extreme bumpiness wasn't safe on a steep descent.
sari & i decided to venture out onto the rocky road. patty fainer & lee were right behind us. in her dogged little way, sari biked all the way to the top, bumps & all. i walked about half of the distance to the top. i couldn't seem to get a "grip" on the road riding so slowly so steeply on such a rough surface.
the rain subsided for a bit, so i quickly got out my camera & took this shot backwards down the hill toward lee & patty. you can see what a dreary day it was.
as if the bumps & gravel weren't enuf of a challenge over the top of the pass, there were spells of more numerous raindrops & of stronger headwinds. we decided this was one of those experiences that qualifies as the adventure aspect of this trip.
sari & i decided to walk down from the pass...for a couple of miles. when the road flattened out we got on our bikes & jolted along. at one point we glanced out to the left to what we thot was a large pond in a grassy pasture. it turned out to be a beautiful patch of deep blue wildflowers. it brightened up a very dreary afternoon.
it was about 8 miles from the end of the construction zone to our overnight town, jackson. we got the heaviest rains of the whole day during that stretch. we were glad to pull into town & seek cover. this town consists of a few buildings a couple of blocks long along both sides of the highway, as far as i can tell. we're fortunate to have very nice accommodations at the jackson hot springs lodge. shortly after we got here we went to the restaurant in the big main lodge for soup....very tasty split pea with ham. the rest of the afternoon has meant lots of relaxing for most everyone, except the card-players, who played a cutthroat game of hand-&-foot in the lodge.
the lodge provided our supper tonight so patty has a day off from cooking. it was a spaghetti & salad buffet. it would've been tastier if we weren't so spoiled by patty's cuisine. this evening the weather has cleared up a bit & we even saw some sunshine during supper. sure hope we've had our rain for a while.
tomorrrow it's 90.5 miles to hamilton. somewhere around mile 40 we'll arrive at the top of the chief joseph pass/continental divide (7,241 feet). on the way down from that we cross over another pass--lost trail pass, 6,990 feet. that's what i like--a pass you don't have to climb up to. then supposedly it's pretty much downhill from there for the rest of the day. a few tailwinds would be nice, too. we'll be glad for any help we can get on a 90-mile day.
oh, since i have only one picture from the road today, i'll throw in a couple of my collection of dog pictures. (i warned you that you'd see these on slow-news days.) both were taken in breckenridge. people love walking their dogs in that town.
the first is a pair of newfoundlands.
the second canine shot is of a couple of st. bernards. i don't know what that smaller dog is....tho' it probably wouldn't look so small if it didn't hang out with those st. bernards.
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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