So I made it to butte. I was pretty glad to be here. I had gotten to a point where I didn't want to ride anymore, right up to when I actually got on the bike, and then I felt at home. At home is not a feeling I have very often, so that was nice.
After all those states (5) and all those miles (1,234), I finally encountered rain, and thunder, and (gasp!) lightening! I'm very superstitious about riding a bicycle or motorcycle during lightning. Something about the quick death... Anyway, I pulled off the road and looked for a place to set up my tent to get out of the weather. A place eventually turned up but by the time I planted the second (of 6) stakes in the ground, the rain was barely noticeable. The thunder (and presumably, the lightning) was moving away. And I was less than 15 miles from my destination. Pack it up!
The break while I fooled around with my tent had been enough to give me a second wind and I resumed what had been about 17 miles of uphill. Amazingly, I was less than a mile from the summit. There I stopped to read a sign about the trails and struck up a conversation with a cool guy who was getting ready for a trip of his own. He's going to ride the Al-Can highway with some friends as soon as he works out the logistics. Makes me feel like a poser.
From the summit to the end of this first half of my ride was almost entirely downhill. An awesome finish to a tough day.
And good timing too. The next day Butte had sun in the morning but rain after that. And snow forecasted the following day (snowing starts as I write this). Sure, I'm tough as nails and everything, but who really wants to ride in the snow?
Anyway, here's the stats:
1,234 miles ridden, 19 days on the bike, 6 days off, averaged 65 miles per day. Climbed 49,387 feet uphill.
After a break in Butte, I'll be heading back south, this time following the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.
That'll be 2000 miles to the Mexican border. Read about it here.