Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day 46: West Yellowstone, MT to Ennis, MT (74 Miles)

I got a late start this morning. I looked over the elevation chart and was relieved to find that today's ride was going to be non-taxing on my body. There was a gradual decline of 2,000 feet down to Ennis, my final destination. In theory, this would be an almost effortless day of cycling. This, obviously, turned out not to be... but I'll get to that later. I spent the majority of the morning updating the last of the blogs and eating "complimentary" breakfast foods. I finally got out of the room by 10:00AM and was on the road shortly thereafter. The ride out of West Yellowstone was nice enough, albeit colder than I expected from a mid-August day. The highs never got over 60 today, therefore I was bundled up pretty well. About 10 miles into my journey, I noticed an absurd amount of Montana highway patrol cars driving by at high speeds. I then spotted a collection of people waiting on the side of the highway. I stopped and asked a few guys what was going down. They informed me that President Obama's secret service/motorcade was coming through. It was only minutes when the fast moving black SUVs filled with bald guys with glasses came rolling through. They drove in an interesting/impressive zig-zag formation. I was only able to snap this uninteresting photo:

After the motorcade passed through, I chatted with the guys and they believed Obama was being flown into the local airport by helicopter and these cars just obtained his entourage. They then joked about the overt amount of police in the area and commented that they should be "back east, robbing every bank they could find." I wished them luck and turned left onto route 287. It was then I faced a headwind that would stay with me to the final destination of the day. My plan for a leisurely ride went out the window in that very moment.

I rode against the wind and stopped at RV park store for a Heath bar and some potato chips. Today was going to be another snacking day, with no planned stops for lunch or dinner. I then continued on up the Madison River and rode over the Hebgen Dam. Riding down into the Missouri Flats, I was hit with winds that almost sent me off my bike.

The feeling of having to push yourself down a hill is the worst feeling a cyclist could ever have... well, I guess saddle sores are worse. Anyways, I kept pushing and found a rest stop to give my legs a break. I sat down at a picnic table next to two motorcyclists, a father and son from Utah, and began chatting with them about the wind. They explained that the wind even pushes them around, especially when riding by trucks. We talked for a while and decided to get back on the road again and back into the wind.

My last stopping point was going to be the small town of Cameron, which turned out not to be a town at all... just a post office and a closed restaurant. About five miles out from the town, I began noticing dark and ominous clouds coming over the mountains to the West. It was only moments later when it began to rain, then hail. These hail pieces were only the sizeCheck Spelling of small pebbles, but man-oh-man... did they hurt. It was like being pelted by paint balls, except very cold paint balls. The hailstorm only lasted about 10 minutes, but it felt like an eternity. I spent the whole time slowly riding with my head titled down at the road. The hail really stung my face, especially my nose... so it was not easy riding. The hail then turned back into cold rain and I pressed on to my final destination.

Ennis is a nice little town at the base of a 3,000 foot climb I must face in the morning. I could have rode over this and ended the day in Virginia City, but the wind definitely changed my mind on this. The scenery today was not any less spectacular than prior days; however, my appreciation for these settings was dwindled due to the abysmal elements I had to face. I think I've been spoiled by the near-perfect weather I've had during this trip. Sure, the wind has not been friendly... but I couldn't complain about anything else. If I had to ride in the rain for the rest of the trip, I'd say it would be fair enough. Alright, the Subway dude just gave me a look that said: "Dude, this not a library and/or Internet Cafe," so I should go! Peace, peace, and chain grease.


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