Day 16: Tuesday, June 11, 2015
Stop to Stop: Lewistown, MT to Fort Benton, MT
Underway: 6:50 am Off Bike: 4:40 pm Ride Time: 8:00 hrs Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 105.3 Total Miles: 1,124.3 Weather: Sunny, warm, calm/S breeze
First Things First: First snow capped peak sighted; First century (100 mile) bike ride.
Mile to Mile: Thankfully, that wasn’t the temperature today. I completed my first century – 100+ mile – bike ride today. It was something on my bucket list for this trip and I was surprised it worked out today and not somewhere back on the plains. Although there were some decent climbs today they were rewarded with some satisfying and fun downhills. Most of the terrain was flat since the route took me through the Judith Valley. The scenery was spectacular – especially this morning. Low fog hung over the peaks on the horizon making for some surreal scenes especially backlit by the low morning sun. It burned off quick making for a sunny, warm and perfect biking day.
My 100 mile day wasn’t totally by choice. There was a good camping option at 40 miles in Denton but I got there by 10:30 am so stopping for the day with perfect conditions was not really an option. (I did stop to refuel, though, at the Denton Café where I enjoyed an au jus sandwich, fries and a strawberry shake). The next known camping option was in Fort Benton. I probably could have found a piece of grass in Geraldine but, by that point, I “only” had 26 miles to go to Fort Benton. These are the choices we make on the road every day. I started to feel the wear and tear at about 90 miles – just about the time a headwind showed up to test me again. Thankfully the last 5 miles to the campsite was mostly downhill helping me keep my sanity.
It was fun to visit with another biker again today. I had just come flying down the best downhill of the day – he was going to be just starting a big climb. Hank is from the Netherlands and is traveling from Seattle to Minneapolis along the Northern Tier Route. He biked from Maine to Minneapolis last year so he will complete his cross country journey soon. Call if you need a place to stay Hank.
After some setting up camp right next to the Missouri River, doing some bike maintenance and taking a long cool shower (while simultaneously washing out some clothes), I felt as good as new (almost). I did get a little cooked today and my rear end really started feeling the miles. Just as I was finishing this post a couple deer wandered by to visit – a nice way to end a special day.
In Passing: Denton, Coyote Creek, Gigantic Warm Springs, Indian Grave Butte, North Mocassin Mtns, Coffee Creek, Geraldine, Hatstack Butte, Mud Spring Coulée, Round Top