Day 19 – June 19 – Townsend, MT to Bozeman, MT – 65 miles

Sleep was rather difficult last night.

After the local riff-raff from the bar finished wandering the park and exchanging their “goods” (around 11:30 p.m.) I figured the rest of the night I’d be able to sleep easy.

The water sprinklers at 3:22 a.m. proved me wrong. Two sprinklers in particular had a direct spray on the tent every time they spun around. It would have been worse if I placed the tent over the top of one, which would have meant certain soaking, but the tent held up formidably, and all belongings stayed dry.

Other than that and the four trains that passed through the night two blocks away, I was able to sleep.

Laughing about the previous night, my eyes set sights on Bozeman. Three Forks, the halfway mark, offered a Subway that I utilized for lunch.

It was here in Three Forks that I began journeying on interstate 90. The faster traffic, flat roads, and wider shoulder provided a faster, easier means of cycling, but at the price of much less picturesque landscape to lay one’s eyes upon.

I utilized the facilities at the rest area near Bozeman and spent some time in the shade working on this blog until the rain clouds began approaching. I hurried off to get to my host’s house.

Thankfully he was off work early today, as my arrival was premature of the agreed on time. He showed me the fully furnished guest house where I could spend the night and suggested a co-op down the road in town for dinner. After showering, while a brief shower passed outside as well, food was priority.

I usually tend to listen to the locals when it comes to places to eat and routes to take. Listening to the co-op suggestion paid dividends. This place on the main drag in downtown Bozeman (one of my favorite cities) offers many different organic food and fresh food options. Today, Asian food was a special where you could fill your plate and pay by the pound. They also offered a deli and sandwich options. All of this was at a surprisingly good value.

The rest of the evening consisted of watching hockey, working on the blog, and conversing with my great host, who had been a park ranger for the National Park Service for over 20 years.

To me, Bozeman is one of those great cities I would like to live in. Maybe some day I will.

Not much to see today:

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Day 18 – June 18 – Helena, MT to Townsend, MT – 34 miles

After a free, pleasant breakfast, a long but gradual climb out of Helena and a brutal 15-25 mph constant slap in the face of a headwind created a nightmare. 34 miles is all I could bear today.

Slow climb out of Helena:

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Nothing has irked me more than the incessant ESE wind that I’ve been battling with for 3 days now. Today was by far the worst. Going on flat road east of Helena, and even downhill as I passed Winston in sight of Canyon Ferry lake toward Townsend, coasting at all was unthinkable. Cycling in a slight breeze is one thing, but on a touring bike with 35+ pounds of gear, extra wind resistance, and a 20 mph wind in your face, not to mention 90 degree temperatures, going any measurable distance is brutal.

North end of Canyon Ferry lake in the distance:

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Arriving in Townsend and locating a park, I ate to replenish my energy supply and sat down to consider my options. 35 miles remained to get to the next town of Three Forks. That would match the distance today plus add an uphill climb as the route follows the Missouri River upstream. Noticing clouds building in the sky, wind continuing, I checked the radar on my phone to discover the area was in a thunderstorm watch.

That was the final straw. I decided to hunker down for the rest if the day and night. An elderly lady walked by as I sat in the shade of a tree on a park bench and asked if I would be camping the night at the park. Not knowing if that was commonplace, she went on to say that people often camp in Colonial Park. 10 minutes later I had my place for the night after calling the city office and verifying it was okay.

I feel financially this may work out better as I would have had to pay at my intended destination (Missouri Headwaters State Park) and I’ll still be able to make it to Bozeman tomorrow where I contacted and confirmed a host.

As I finished eating my chili and noodles in the park, two boys from town biked over to inquire my situation. They were intrigued at the thought of going hundreds of miles by bike. Our interesting conversation was cut short as their friend was anxious to get to their favorite pond by the river to catch snakes, a rather popular activity for the youth here.

Not long after, some members of the Rotary Club brought tables on trailers to the park. I decided to offer some assistance. They were grateful for the help, and I was glad that the leather work gloves my mother suggested I bring along finally found some use on the trip. Thanks mom!

One of the Rotarians turned out to be from Richmond, MN, little more than 10 miles from where I’ve grown up. We talked for a little while. It was nice to get some sense of home while still being 900 miles away.

Evening arrived and I found myself writing these words and charging my phone when an older couple walked from the gas station with some food. They sat at a table near to me. Before I knew it, I was once again telling the story of my adventure and cause. The couple, from Bozeman, found it fascinating and took down my blog site. They then left, but not before giving me the last two peices of chicken they had.

I set up camp as darkness settled over the park, ready for a night of sleep. Little did I know that’s not what was in store.

Very wide open around the west side of Canyon Ferry lake by the town of Silos:

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