June 30, 2001

6/30/01 Jackson, MT

77.4 miles

Had a few beers last night at the Blue Anchor Bar with Allen and Maggie. They are such nice people. They are a refreshing change for this lonely cyclist. Kind of gives me some much needed confidence for the next few weeks after Missoula.

The mosquitoes do seem to be getting worse the farther north we go. They chased us into our tents early after dinner and, even with the cooler temps this morning, I was still being attacked.

Even though the road was a steady incline, I felt good on the road. Took a break at Beaverhead Rock, named by Lewis & Clark on their expedition. After that, I think I spent as much time talking to other cyclists as I did riding.

Finally met the east-bound Adventure Cycling group, one of which is Jim Fogle, a friend of mine from Kansas City. They seemed like a good group, especially their group leader. Then it was Lenny and Lorraine, headed for Boston, I think. Another Jim was having a great time, having just retired last year. Ed is English, and this is his first trip to the States. Also camped with us tonight are two younger guys, John and Chris. I think my future days will be much the same for the next couple of weeks.

Stopped in Dillon for a late breakfast sandwich, and started talking to Randy. He drives a truck for Safeway, but liked the idea of taking a leave of absence to do some biking. Grabbed some take-out lunch to eat later before heading out of town. It was slow climbing at first through the farmed plain. I just didn't seem to be going anywhere. I think it might have been the heat. The route took us from 5,000 feet in Dillon, over Badger Pass (6,760 feet), then Big Hole Pass (7,360 feet). The fourteen miles from town took me over 2 hours. I was glad to take a break when I reached the top. Not much shade, so I had lunch on a rock outcropping.

These mountain valleys here in Montana are breathtaking. You can see for miles, but always surrounding you are mountain peaks, most with snow still on them. I think Nancy would have liked it here. It seems as if there are as many dogs and horses here as people.

By the time I finally reached the second pass, I was almost out of water and pretty tired. Even though it was a higher pass, the downhill on the other side was disappointing. Came into Jackson about 6 P.M., a late arrival for me.

Got a tent spot at the Jackson Hot Springs Lodge, while waiting for Allen and Maggie to get here. Decided against eating in the lodge because nothing was cheaper than $15, and the only other café was closed today because it was "Abigail's birthday." Still, it was hard to cook and eat with all these mosquitoes.

Trying to get to sleep, but a lot of people are setting off fireworks. Guess we have to put up with that this week. And here poor Maggie wanted to get to bed early.