Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day #14: Contrasts

Today's Route: Greenbough, MT to Condon, MT (53 miles)
Total Trip Miles: 574

The following photos can do far better than words to summarize my morning.





Ah, yes! Some delicious yoga stretches in a tree-hugged sunny field. This field was right next to the picnic pavilion that I made into my home last night. My makeshift campsite at The Lubrecht Experimental Forest is, by a long shot, the best camping I've had on this trip. It was me, all alone, in a beautiful forest. 'Twas very Thoreau-like, minus maybe the yoga.

I survived the night slumbering in my sleeping bag atop a picnic table. I slept like a baby and managed to go the entire night with not even a mosquito or spider bite.

Or an encounter with a bear. Eric refers to slumbering in just a sleeping bag in bear country as "being a bear burrito." Admittedly, I did sleep with my pot and lid next to me so that I could make ruckus if need be. But the need did not be.

As I saw my first "Be Aware of Bears" sign today on the side of the road, perhaps last night wasn't truly a bear burrito night.

All in all, I feel quite accomplished having slept in my first undesignated campsite. Furthermore, having slept without using my tent. Woohoo!

Did some shopping today, trying to narrow down my options for which cabin will fulfill my dreams. Here are three possibilities from today's ride:

A cute little cabin on Salmon Lake.

A tiny house in front of the Mission Mountains.

An awesome cabin (note the porch and flower baskets) in front of the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

The forests on the side of the roads today were quite thin and manicured. I saw a lot of signs warning residences to have ample defensive zones around their homes in case of fire.

Forests filled with Western Turkeybeard (aka Beargrass, but let's not mention bears unnecessarily).

As I get further north, I'm starting to see more and more snow-topped peaks.

The snow-topped mountains behind Summit Lake.

Somewhere along the route, I heard this awful sound in my chain. I looked down at my drivetrain, and I noticed that my chain was having a hard time staying on the middle chainring. I got off the bike right away, and I noticed that a thin, crimped wire had become entangled in my chain.

Look closely, and you'll see a crimped wire sticking out from the chain.

I pulled out the wire, and all was well. As I continued on my way, I noticed hundreds of these little wires along the route. I'm not sure what they are from. Perhaps they are shed brush wires from the shoulder sweeper? It's interesting that one of these wires was able to jump up and wrestle with my chain. I'm just glad all the other wires along the shoulder were too lazy for wrestling.

The campsite tonight is quite a contrast from last night's camp. Tonight's campsite is, undoubtedly, the worst campsite thus far. I'm camped next to a run-down grocery/hardware/automotive joint in there's-nothing-worthwhile-here-Condon, Montana.

It's been pretty darn hot today, and I had the sun beating down on my tent. I went inside the tent, laid down, and took an hour-long nap. I think I'm still recovering from the late nights spent socializing in Missoula.

I didn't realize the showers closed at 6pm. The last shower I took was Sunday morning, and I don't anticipate a shower at tomorrow's camp, so I washed my hair in the sink, using my bowl to pour water over my head.

I thought about including a photo of where I'm camping, but I don't want to be reminded of this place. Without a photo, I'm hoping my memory of Condon will fade more quickly.

I read some more stories from my anthology book, including an interesting description of embalming. If you're considering being embalmed, I'd highly recommend reading Jessica Mitford's "Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain." Then again, if you know someone near-and-dear who has been embalmed, I'd highly recommend avoiding this story. At all costs.

When I left Portland, Jake handed me an envelope. He told me, "Take one a day. It will be obvious when you look inside." He wanted to give me a little something that was lightweight and that would remind me of him (and us) while I was away.

Yes, some notes have been purposely omitted. :)

What a great idea! I've read over these a number of times in the last two weeks. I can't believe I only have four little notes left before I meet up with Jake in Minneapolis!


  1. Yep, street sweeper brushes. Glad it was in your chain and not, say, in your tire!

    1. Yeah, Dave, that crossed my mind, too. Fortunately, the Schwalbe Marathon Pluses are kickin' butt so far. :)

  2. I'm looking forward to playing a lot of "which house is going to be mine" winding my way through the Adirondack hills.

    This blog is going great! I really hope we get to meet up on Saturday. I'll tell the conductor to step on it!

  3. Ah, you're going to love your trip, my friend! All fingers and toes are crossed for a timely Amtrak arrival. Looking forward too seeing you for a Minneapolis breakfast!

  4. OK I am trying not to comment on every post. I don't wanna be 'that lady who comments on every post!' But those little daily notes are super sweet and really romantic!! Just sayin'

  5. Hey Lady who Comments on Every Post ~ I agree about the notes! And, btw, the more posts the merrier!


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