First off, Helena is the state capital (Montana you do remember don’t you?). It has a population of 29000 (for reference West Bromwich has a population of 76000). The city started in 1864 with gold being found in Last Chance Gulch (which coincidentally is the name of the road our motel is in). It is pronounced like you say the girls name. This is our destination today.
How about that a blog post starting without me telling you what time we started out, it was 8.30 by the way for those of you nostalgic about the old post era.
It took longer as the tent had to be dried with that rain last night.
Within 1 mile we came across Robin, a lady doing part of the route solo (also happy birthday), and Tom who had not made the pass, just 1 more mile, he was suitably insulted for his lack of commitment. It did prove useful as Robin had booked into Budget Inn Express for $50 a night, it sounded just right so that is where we would aim for as well.
Leaving them behind the climb started in earnest, the rain had made the track surface “squishy” but there was very little surface water (it just goes to show just how dry it had been here, that the rain had little impact).
The highest point was 6480 ft, where a well earned egg break occurred (hard boiled eggs, these are the best ever trail food).
The egg stop
When we packed up this morning there was a slight problem, a lack of water, it seems as though someone switched off the supply to the taps including the toilets (a good job we were in there first!). For some reason the sprinkler system made one tap work so all was good.
I had tried the warmshowers site for a place to stop in Helena, there is no campground near the centre of town. It is looking like a motel then, oh the thought of an actual bed for the first time in nearly 4 weeks.
Once out of Lincoln we got onto, go on guess what type of road a) Paved, b) carpeted or c) gravel. This was a steady 12 miles uphill going to 5000 ft.
Ooh look clouds!
We did manage an early start today, leaving by 7.40, it made a big difference to the day, as we were straight in to the climb. With a little coolness (that is Martin always trying to appear cool) and a reasonable track we made rapid (taking the meaning of rapid to be anything greater that slow, with slow being a litle faster than very slow which in turn is faster than a snail’s pace. How snails pace is another matter altogether) progress.
You remember what an early start is? well we didn’t, so it was gone 10.00 before we left. There is an excuse though, in fact several.
Later last night a young Danish couple turned up, they are travelling south to north and have been doing so for 2 months. The have been cycling a lot of miles every day, wake up, cycle, eat, sleep repeat. As a result they were jaded and looking forward to finishing soon. They did give us quite a few hints for later on (like hire a car!). Continue reading
A very late start, as we had to wait for the supermarket to open. We saw “the crew” from the last few days and said what was actually farewell as our day will be shorter today.
We left about the same time as Gary and Tom, they both saddled up and wearing a holstered gun each, one of the 3 horses a pack horse and off they go.
Definitely an early start, the heat is paralysing (that was Janet’s excuse for her legs not working anyway). The obligatory 1 mile uphill start went without comment. We were off (and you could also use the word ripe, or just smelly).
We packed up quickly and got off about the same time as Jerry, Alan, Rita and Puis. It was a 3.75 mile uphill just to get back on to our route, past last nights burger experience.
Ate a flathead monster here last night
A social breakfast with Peter, Anne, David and Rob then they all begin preparing for a days toil on their cycles. Peter like a greased weasel away first the others much more leisurely. Then all of a sudden we are alone (this is the part you go ahhh).
The campers nightmare today, waking to the pitter patter of rain on the tent, pitter patter sounds lively but it means wet wet wet (worst than the band too).
Packing up from the inside out but including probably two kilograms of additional water with the tent.