Toughest and Nicest Day Yet

Today was character-building. In other words, it kicked my butt.

Combination heat, serious headwinds, and two big passes made today the most challenging 47 miles I’ve ever done. Best day possible for coming across a hot springs oasis at the end of the day! It’s a lodge/beautiful campground with showers, nice restaurant, bar, giant tv, even larger
couches, and a pool-sized hot tub from the all natural spring in this valley. Yay for geothermal activity!

So I got here, collapsed on the grass in exhaustion and exasperation with two goals in mind: dinner and hot springs. While I was recovering from fatigue, a guy from Seattle started asking about my tour and soon offered to buy me dinner because he knows what a difference it makes to hungry cyclists. And let me tell you- it absolutely makes a difference. I had heard from other bike travelers that people offer you meals and places to stay all the time, but this is the first time it had been offered to me (unless you count being given bottles of water by passing drivers). Thanks, Paul! So dinner was fantastic and I was even more ravenous than I thought.

Paul also mentioned that there was a group of Boy Scout cyclists camping down the street at the local school. I was pretty psyched about this since I had heard about this group two towns ago from another cyclist I encountered a few days ago. They’re doing full TransAm- Maryland to Oregon, so they’re biking legs are much more in tune than mine, but I went and chatted with them and may go camp with them tonight since its nicer to camp with a group than alone! (I’m the only camper at the lodge right now)

Through them and others, I’ve been realizing that the thing to do is stay at schools or churches or libraries along the way. Camp ground costs add up very quickly! The Spanish brothers I met in Yellowstone roll into a town’s sherif’s office and find a free place to stay from there. For future reference! But as a solo girl traveler, I’m happy with the conventional camp site thus far (for a longer tour, it’d be a different story). That said, I will be staying with a host, if not tomorrow then definitely the next night, so that should be yet another great new experience!

Man, it’s been a jam packed day that has ended VERY well.

The view from the 1 1/2 foot wide area of shade I found under a sign to each lunch. My map said no services for 46 miles, but I figured there would be a few ‘services’ since I now consider trees a major service on hot July afternoons for their shade. But no, there really were no services for 46 miles today!

Hot springs in Jackson, Montana! (Population 38) So very very welcomed today.

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