Imagine if you put a cat in a paper bag, placed it close to your head, then tried to go to sleep. Rustling, flapping, beating…. That is what our night was like! The winds whipped the tent ALL….NIGHT…..LONG! And, we woke up to more cold temperatures. The CGY folks told us that the wind was predicted to remain fierce all day, with gusts to 50 mph. As I have said before, riding in the wind is no good. Cycle Greater Yellowstone knew that many riders were exhausted and would not want to attempt the last day in the high winds, so they arranged for transportation to Red Lodge for those wishing to forgo the day. We signed up!
We arrived in Red Lodge before our luggage, which allowed us time to walk around town and sight-see. After our luggage arrived, we loaded up our things and headed back toward Georgia. We took a cross-country route via US-14 Alternate through the Big Horn National Forest. It was a beautiful road and we recommend it if you happen to travel in that area.
Cyclists were asked not to leave camp until 7:30 AM due in an effort to avoid congestion as vans carried workers to the Stillwater Mine. I LOVE a later start-time! Riders could take a longer route today, all the way to Nye, then back to Absarokee and on to Red Lodge. The ride to Nye was an out-and-back. We had heard that it was a beautiful ride and decided to do the full ride.
We stopped for a quick rest-stop in Fishtail, then headed to Nye; all uphill. There was a headwind for most of the morning which is never terribly fun. Headwinds make me have to pedal harder and I have more trouble relaxing to enjoy to surrounding beauty. We also had to contend with big, big trucks going to the mine. Thankfully, the trucks were informed of our presence and were courteous and usually gave us room on the road.
In Nye, our rest-stop was at their one-room school-house. We had the best cookies and lemonade from a sweet girl raising money for her 4-H club! The school has less than ten students and the teacher lives in a little house behind school. I cannot imagine what it would be like to teach in a school like this; it is still the frontier in this area of the country! (Notice the old merry-go-round in the school-yard.)
I am sure that you’ve wondered what happened to us! I have neglected this blog, partly trying to figure out how to write about our most recent adventure. In August, we cycled in Wyoming and Montana with Cycle Greater Yellowstone. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition organizes the tour as a fundraiser. Their mission is to protect the ecosystem surrounding Yellowstone National park to ensure its wildness for us and for future generations. They advertise the trip as “a wonderful and economical way to spend a rewarding week experiencing one of the most extraordinary landscapes on earth.” There is no question about the extraordinary landscapes, but the “rewarding”-part is what I have struggled to think about and explain.
We participated in Cycle Greater Yellowstone tour last year when it began on the western side of Yellowstone in Jackson Hole, WY. It was a hard ride, with a couple of days of really, really cold and nasty weather. The scenery was spectacular and we loved meeting the interesting people from all over the country. The ride was extremely well-organized, with great support, wonderful food, and nice overnight stops.