Monday, June 30, 2008

"Proof that there isn't a loving god: mosquitos" - Day 7

The alarm I had set for this morning was on vibrate only, so we didn't wake up until Travis' alarm went off at 7. We hurriedly packed the tent with few mosquitos pestering us and had Pop Tarts for breakfast. After refilling on water, we set off on the 70 miles towards Butte. Initially we were doing really well, averaging about 15 mph. With about 15 miles to go, we both tired considerably but still made it to Subway before our goal of 2 pm. We needed to restock on power bars and Gatorade powder, so we went to a Safeway in Butte. Butte was a depressing mining town and neither Travis or I were very impressed. I flatted again leaving Safeway, bringing my trip total to three flats.
We knew that we had the continental divide coming today, but it ended up being easier than expected, with only about 4 miles of climb out of Butte. We of course took a picture at the summit and rejoiced that it would be all downhill from here. Unfortunately, that is not the case, but it still feels good to have the divide behind us, even if 80% of the continent is still in front of us.
Crossing the continental divide

At mile marker 247, a peace loving, friendly and hospitable Montana driver opted to discard a full cup of Coke in my direction. Travis was a ways in front of me and I didn't get their license plate number, unfortunately. It as decidedly disheartening that somebody would do that and I was damn fortunate that it didn't hit me.

We stopped for ice cream at the A&W in Whitehall before pushing the 7 miles to Cardwell. On the approach, we saw the dreaded sign "Chain-up area ahead," meaning an arduous uphill in our future. Sure enough, as we rounded the curve there was a dauntingly large hill in front of us. But the sun was setting, so we stopped in Cardwell, leaving the hill for tomorrow.

We made a makeshift dinner at the bar/lounge/casino/convenience store/campground and were delighted to find that it was only $10 for camping, laundry, and showers for the both of us. We even got our first round of beers free, and had another before venturing outside to set up camp. There we were swarmed by mosquitos like I have never seen before. Travis bravely stayed outside attempting to set up the tent, while I ran back to the store to invest in some bug spray. Unfortunately, they were all out, but Dawn, the bartender/waitress/clerk/campground hostess let me use some of her own personal supply. With the mosquitos temporarily at bay, we got the tent up and inside of it with very few joining us. I opted not to take a shower in the hopes that the bug spray would last until morning when we would have to break camp, but Travis decided to do laundry and take a shower.
It wasn't very intelligent to come without bug spray and I am not looking forward to the mosquito feast tomorrow morning. Nonetheless, we got some solid miles in today and will hopefully stay with Travis' friend Kyle tomorrow in Big Timber.


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