Saturday, July 4, 2015

Friends in Wise River

I took two shortcuts today. I took the I-15 alternate that follows an old railroad grade. Then I got on the Interstate, crossed the Continental Divide at Elk Park Pass and screamed downhill into Butte. Got some lube at the Outdoorsman, a shop owned by this guy's brother. Ate lunch at Great Harvest and stocked on groceries at Safeway and was on my way to cross the Divide again. Fortunately, Butte is at a pretty high elevation, so the climb to the crossing wasn't too bad (relative to what I've been doing). Saw a neat trestle.



Trestle on climb
At the top, I made a decision I knew I was going to make. I was going to take another alternate, the Divide Alternate. It was about the same distance as the main route, but avoids some crazy climbs and descents around Fleecer Ridge. The map says that the easiest way to come down off the mountain is to get off your bike, push off the trail and weave between the trees. That seemed like no fun. So I rode into Wise River.

High Alpine Meadows

Crossing the Continental Divide south of Butte, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route crosses paths with the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. #uyridesdivide   #surlybikes #biketour #greatdivide #gdmr #cdt
In Wise River, the first person I met was Cheryl. She hooked me up with $5 camping at the hotel and $6 for a shower. She asked about Fleecer Ridge. I told her I skipped it and she said that everyone who comes down looks so pitiful afterwards, confirming my decision.

The second person I met was Dylan, Cheryl's husband. He was wearing a Western Carolina shirt and I asked where he got that. He said he was from Asheville. Small world! He had worked at the Admiral and some other places and they wanted to travel and hold jobs where they would see each other. This job they found on the Coolwerks website and they needed a cook and manager. That's how they ended up in Wise River, Montana.

After shower and setting up camp, I came into the bar to eat. The couple there asked me to sit next to them. They passed me on the road and said I looked tired, so they were buying me a drink! They were from the Quad Cities, Iowa and came out here to fish. We talked a while, before they left. They recommended the Ribeye, and at $28 it was more than I normally pay for food-- but when in Montana, right? And it was delicious! One of the best steaks I've ever had.

When it was time to settle up, Cheryl told me that the couple not only bought my drink, but my entire dinner! I hadn't paid for my camping yet, and she tried to give that to me for free but I couldn't get off that easy. Again, the people I meet are so kind, generous and amazing. I came exhausted and hungry and left with new friends.

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