Big Sky Country

Big Sky Country

posted in: Montana | 24

This is a 2nd post in the same day… so if you think you missed a few days then you’re probably right.  I snuck two blog posts in to spare you from blog overload.

Day 89, July 27th – Wibaux, MT to Circle, MT

After several loud train passings during the night we finally convinced ourselves to crawl out of “bed” and get the day going.  Cooler temps and much calmer winds today.  The first 30 miles of the ride pretty much had to be by interstate since the alternative nearly doubled the riding distance.  It only took a couple hours to ride to Glendive, MT where I met up with pops for an early lunch.  I was able to syphon some wi-fi off from the nearby laundry mat and restock the podcasts.

From Glendive, I pedaled on to Lindsay and then to Circle.  Things are getting pretty dry out here.  Large grass and wheat fields the extend almost as far as the eye can see. Occasionally badlands like landscapes pop out of the ground or appear on the backsides of a climb.  In the town Circle, Dad had already found a spot we could camp at in the fairgrounds so I met him there.  We made some pretty elaborate burritos and got some more cribbage matches in (I’m hanging on by one game in this series).  Winds picked up out of the east before bed.  Hopefully they continue tomorrow.

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IMG_7658Right along one of the main streets of Circle.  Love the little guy sitting along between the rows of big rigs.

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IMG_7666Big Sky IPA and cribbage!

Summary
Miles:  81
Acts of Kindness: 2 – Offered a ride up a hill by a driver today; Groceries picked up by Dad;

Day 90, July 28th – Circle, MT to Fort Peck

I took my time this morning… the winds from last night had disappeared.  My dad and I were getting some reading in before packing things up.  The water from the nearby spigots were a little sketchy and had a weird taste so we decided to filter a bunch for the long days ride.  It was 75 miles to the next town with my planned “shortcut”.  My route plan for the day cut 10 mile of any of the other route options that google and the ACA suggested.  Granted I knew there would be some gravel and things would be even more remote – I was up for the adventure (and an adventure it was!).  On my way out of town I bought a vitamin water and some fig newtons to get me through the alternative route.

About 11 mile into my ride the gravel began and shortly after civilization disappeared.  The landscape soon became an arid and exposed.  The road I was following soon went from gravel to dirt and a few soft/sandy spots had me walking my bike for short sections.  With a rear tire drifting side to side as I descended loose hills, it sometimes felt more like slalom skiing by bike.  After 30 miles without seeing a single soul I finally made it back on pavement.  A few miles down the road I found some of the only trees in miles next to the road.  Here I hung out waiting for my dad to pull up in big blue and have lunch.  Good thing he was around because I was on my last water bottle (of 5 and 1/2) by this time with 30 miles to go.  We set up chairs and enjoyed some lunch out of the back of the car in the shade before knocking off the last miles of the day.

Cruising out of the high desert / badlands-like landscape and down into Fort Peck was Fort Peck Lake, which is the result of a huge earth dam holding up the Missouri River.  It’s the 5th largest dam in the U.S.  Our camping spot for the evening was just below the dam.  I was definitely thankful that they had showers today!  Another good dinner and our nightly cribbage match (I lost the series) for the evening.

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IMG_7678Shade!  Ahhhhh yes.

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IMG_7697It seems the adventures begin when you pass the cattle guards.

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IMG_7709Just me, my bike, and the soft crunch of my tires on the dirt road.

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IMG_7726Feeling thirsty yet?

IMG_7734Sagebrush dots the land.

IMG_7738When the sand begins…

IMG_7736So does the drifting.

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IMG_7752Back to the road!

IMG_7755Even back on the road, the landscape is still pretty desolate.

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IMG_7760Shade stop #2, Dad caught up and we had lunch.

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IMG_7786An impressive spillway from Fort Peck Lake.

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IMG_7797I’ve been riding in the Chacos recently.  No clips but so comfy.

IMG_7798Sooo tasty.

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Summary
Miles: 75
Acts of Kindness: 2 – Water and lunch stop with Dad… he scouted out the camping and picked up the bill too!

Day 91, July 29th – Fort Peck to Malt (in progress)

Another hot one again today and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.  I am currently in Glasgow, MT with some miles to put in yet, but finally updating the blog.  Today marks my 26th birthday… half way through my 20’s!!  How’d that happen already?  Well, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing on my birthday.  Glad my dad has been along for the past week.  The trip continues to be an amazing experience and I can’t thank my family and friends (and strangers turned friends along the way) enough for all the support!

So with that… if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go ride my bike. 🙂

IMG_7800Funniest card ever!  Totally appropriate for my gps experiences.  Thanks Dad.IMG_7802I met Nick and Lulu on my way into Glasgow this morning.  I dig the rig!  On his way back to Kentucky before moving to Northern California.

24 Responses

  1. Tom Jakab

    Happy birthday Brad!
    You are still eating better than me. Lol.

    • Thanks Tom! Eating especially good now that my dad has been carrying some of the food 🙂

  2. Joni Joy

    Happy Birthday from all of us! Safe travels!

  3. In all my years I’ve never put macaroni and cheese in a burrito. Guess I’ve lived a shelter life.

    Geez, you weren’t kidding about the lack of trees! I’d never have guessed that was Montana. I can’t believe Lulu is really enjoying that mode of travel, but…

    Happy birthday on this thread, too!

    • That’s just cheese! No cheese grater so that’s just chopped up cheese. So guess we are all living a sheltered life.

      • Really? I stand corrected. I looked twice, convinced it was mac & cheese.

        • Tom Jakab

          Eric, you’re a genius!! I’m so doing that sometime soon!!

          • Bradley

            Hey I’m sure it’s good. Cheesy carbs in your burrito… heck I might try it 🙂

  4. Happy Birthday, Brad!! I’m glad to hear that your dad’s been keeping you company for a bit.

  5. Gramma & Grampa K

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY (AGAIN) BRAD……HAVING A HARD TIME CATCHING UP TO TELL YOU…
    ENJOYED YOUR BLOG AND GLAD YOUR DAD IS ABLE TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH YOU…..LOVE TO YOU BOTH…..

  6. Keith Short

    Nice grasshopper in “when the sand begins”. Good shots.

    When I saw the photos of the spillway on the Ft. Peck Dam, I remembered a novel I read 20 years ago that was situated in the shanty town that sprang up during the dam’s construction. The dam was a major project in the late 1930’s. The part you show is a tiny part of the dam. The book was Bucking the Sun by Ivan Doig.

    A final note, the prize money from the photo contest was used today to provide bagels to celebrate your birthday. Happy Birthday!

    • I was wondering if anyone would see the grasshopper… I suppose I should have figured you would notice! I remember my dad mention a bunch of stats from the dam when he was reading something from his phone. The dam itself is huge! It’s a hydraulic earth dam that they some how fed silt from upstream to form the dam itself.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes! Hope the bagels were delicious!

  7. Erik Lewinski

    Happy Birthday!! Love your trip photos! They brighten my days.

    • Maybe you’ll make the photo roll again when you fly out to Seattle for work!

  8. Elyn (DeCook) Simmons

    Brad! This is so awesome-what a great travel experience! Your blog is fresh and a delight to read as you go along your journey. The Acts of Kindness shout outs are always a great end to a day and blog-never forget those who provide help/support/smiles along the way~keep it up :o)

  9. Jean Ryan

    (3rd picture) Your dad certainly has aged since I last saw him Ha! Great pictures, Brad, and a captivating narrative. Thanks for taking us all along with you. It’s been good to be able to follow you from an air conditioned house with a bed. I guess you have to be a true ‘prairie person’ to enjoy living in that kind of solitude.
    Happy birthday!!

    • Haha yea except my dad’s in a car! 😛 That guy was headed to main. That’s about all I remember from him. I’d consider myself a mountain man given the current beard status, but the solitude was broken by some evening feasts with Dad so I didn’t have a mental snap… yet. 🙂

  10. Jeff Iverson

    Brad,

    Sue and I have been following your blog since Sue ran into your mom in town. We think it is awesome you are taking this trip…. you’re living a dream of mine to go coast to coast. We’ll keep checking on you as you go…. Good luck. PS photography is great.
    Jeff

    • Jeff! Long time no see! Cool to hear from you on the blog. Never too late to do the trip that’s for sure! I’ve met travelers from every age group on this trip and everyone seems to be loving it… so I recommend you go for it! 🙂 Thanks for commenting! Hope all is well. Tell Sue I said hi!
      Brad

  11. Natalie Byrne

    Happy Birthday, Brad!

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