August 29, 2001

8/29/01 Madison Junction

15.9 / 6882 miles

Had a hard time going to sleep last night. Could have been the huge Mexican dinner I had at Texas Rose, or that fourth liter of Coke I drank, but maybe it was that pint of cookie dough ice cream. Michael and I talked a bit. When I asked him how does German TV compare to here, he said "We have a lot of commercials too." He's getting a degree in tourism. I wonder if they have that at any schools here in the US.

A little chilly walking to the laundromat this morning. The town seems very quiet compared to when I was here in June. One shop owner said the summer season ends earlier now because so many schools begin as early as mid-August. Business will pick up soon with the serious fishermen, then it will be snow-mobiling and cross-country skiing this winter.

Had a cinnamon roll and a cheese danish at Jocee's Baking Company. I wandered into Madison River Outfitters (which opened at 7AM for that serious fisherman) and one guy working ended up being from the St Louis area. When I told him about my first visit there near Webster Grove, he recommended Big Sky Restaurant if I ever get back there. By the time I was finished packing, it was time to check email at the library.

Liz was there for her last day and a going-away luncheon. After updating my website, I joined most of the building staff for Chinese food. Like most small towns, the library is located in the same building as all the other municipal offices. So, we all spread out in Judge Lewis Stewart's courtroom to give Liz a good send off. Liz told me a little about her plan to start a local paper. She hopes to be up and running by spring. I wished her great success.

Here come's the judge

Mary & Liz

The rest of the day was just hanging out. Washed the bike at the car-wash then headed over to Freeheel & Wheel. Melissa was cool just to talk to and tell her about the ups and downs of the trip. She said the entire staff at the bike shop are women except for one male. "Too much estrogen is a bad thing." she grinned. I later found out she had been a dominant competitor in Missoula mountain biking a few years ago.

Melissa highly recommended Wild West Pizza for something to eat before I headed off into the park (Yellowstone National Park) tonight. Erin opened the place three years ago, making dough fresh each day along with only fresh vegetables. Very good stuff! I wish I had tried his calzone to see how it compares to Minsky's in KC. Erin had to run a few errands, so I spent some time talking to his dad who comes out from Vallejo, CA, every summer to help out. Erin came out here to be a guide but he wanted something of his own. He said the gang at the bike shop did a lot to help him get started.

Decided it was time to leave town if I wanted to get a campsite at Madison Junction before it got too dark. Entering the park at dusk was a lot different than leaving at dawn three months ago. The setting sun gave everything a pale color (or maybe the vegetation was pale because it was so dry?). As I rounded a bend near the campground, I saw ahead of me a herd of buffalo on the road with a ranger vehicle followed by at least a hundred cars and RV's. At first I pulled over and tried to be very still, just like the other day with the cattle drive. But I quickly realized that these wild animals were going to walk right over me. Decision - I need to be somewhere else! I turned around and headed back the way I had just rode from. But when it seemed that the 20 or so bison started to move faster in my direction, I laid the bike down and put a few trees between me and the road. The ranger tried to get his truck between the herd and me but a few got past him because they were starting to string out. People in a few of the lead cars saw me come out from behind the protection of the trees and smiled. "Exciting, wasn't it!" one girl yelled. Yeah!

Here come some buffalo...

...just a little too close for comfort

Now, that's a safer distance