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Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

May 18, 2007      Miles 48      Total miles 1097


One thing I didn't mention about my ride yesterday was as I was coming down the Continental Divide I was going fast and came upon a large herd of Elk. There must have been at least 20 of them and they were no more than 300' from me. I tried to slow my bike without spooking them but my brakes squealed and they all ran up the mountain and into the woods. I was hoping so badly to get a good picture of them.

Something else I haven't mentioned is nearly every eating place I have been in has all kinds of animal heads hanging on the wall. These people are really into hunting and fishing.
I ate another Montana size breakfast this morning because I had a couple more passes to go over. At this point they don't intimidate me at all. I take a look at them now and figure it will take me two hours or three hours to get to the top and then I just go do it. After breakfast my waitress told me that bad weather was coming into the valley. I talked to the guy who got the report and he told me the same thing. My guide book says east of the Divide thunderstorms and hailstorms are always a threat and can develop very rapidly. So, off I went trying to get ahead of any ominous storms.
I rode hard up Big Hole Pass (7,360') and made a fun descent into the valley when I met Phillip Cottingham coming from the east. Phillip is from 30 miles south of London England. He has been riding the same route I will follow and he has been riding for over 50 days and has ridden 3,200 miles.
Phillip has three sons ranging in age from 16 to 25. The oldest son lives with him and is looking after the homeplace while Phillip is on the road. When he gets back to England he is going on a holiday with two of his sons to cycle in the Alps. He just turned 52 and took a day off for his birthday and watched the Kentucky Derby and saw the queen. He says his ride has been fantastic and he particularly liked the plains of Kansas.
I haven't seen as many of these dilapidated buildings in Montana as I did in Oregon and Idaho. Montana is one of the cleanest states I recall. There is absolutely NO trash on the roadsides.
I have seen these signs all over Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. What they mean to a cyclist is ... you are fixin' to do some serious climbing. Also, this type fence is very common in this area.
Here are a couple of pretty tough climbs.

These next two pictures I took side by side to give you sort of a panarama of this ranch. The little dots are cattle.

Here are a couple more of the same ranch. Too bad I didn't do a better job lining them up.

These were taken at the University of Montana Western in Dillon, Montana.

I had one of the best Mexican meals in this diner that I have ever eaten.