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Elkhorn Hot Springs to Jackson, Wyoming (368 miles)

September 21, 2007

Biked Sept 12th – 20th, 105 biking days, 3730 Miles to-date!!!

We spent a day off at Elkhorn Hot Springs and soaked most of the day in their 108 degree  indoor hot water sauna and two outdoor pools at 101 and 104 degrees. Great little rustic place to relax that looks the same as it did 14 years ago when we were there last.

Our friend, Mark, is still with us, and hopefully he will live through the trip.  He sure enjoyed taking a day off after biking 6 days straight with us.  His bootcamp with Ralph has included 3 days of soaking in Hot Springs already which Pat says is not fair.  She had to bike 3315 miles before her first hot springs!!!  Mark has gotten to cross the Continental Divide with us at least 6 times to date and share some of the steepest climbs uphill and fastest descents of our whole trip!   We have seen some of the most remote and scenic areas in all of Montana in the last 8 days.  We were in the SW corner of the state (south of Butte and west of W. Yellowstone).

We left Elkhorn Hot Springs aon Sept. 12th and biked south to another Ghost Town, Bannock.  Bannock was the site of Montana’s first gold rush.  Ralph and Mark walked around the graveyard from the 1800’s while Pat stayed outside the gate with the warning sign, “BEWARE OF RATTLESNAKES”!!  The town had many old buildings still standing and in pretty good repair, with wallpaper still on the walls.

We left Bannock (and I think civilization as we know it) heading south into the remote southwest corner of Montana, riding thru broad grassy ranchland valleys with grass covered mountains on either side and more distant tree covered peaks beyond, classic Montana ranchland.  It was starting to get dark so we were forced to set up camp in the open cow pastures without a tree in sight.  Mark and Ralph ran down to the stream to bathe with the rattlesnakes and cow pies, while Pat stayed at camp and decided there would probably not be bears out here where you could see for miles and miles with no trees!  The next morning, we met the Rancher who lived only 5 miles from our camp, and he told us a bear had gotten 3 of his sheep last night!!!!  (Guess we’ll keep sleeping with the bear mace in our tent, along with our whistles!)  (Don’t worry Mom, we don’t keep the food in the tent!).  We then made our way east thru narrow Big Sheep Creek canyon to Lima, home of killer coconut cream pie and a motel with a very frindly and accomodating owner.

From Lima we headed east thru the Centennial Valley, thru more remote ranchland to a beautiful lakeshore campsite on Upper Red Rock Lake.  It’s part of a wildlife refuge and there had to have been about 10 thousand ducks on the lake, it sounded like a huge waterfall when they would all started to take flight.  (My brother, Dennis would love it here!)   The next day took us over Red Rock Pass into Idaho, for about 25 miles, then on an abandoned railroad grade back into Montana and West Yellowstone.

We took a couple of days off in W. Yellowstone.  Paul, a college friend of ours from MSU, who still lives in Bozeman area drove up to visit us.  It was great to catch up on each others lives.

We had the coldest night to date in West Yellowstone, we woke up to 28 degrees and 1/4″ of ice on the picnic tables and would quickly find the heated coffee room at the RV park!

We rode thru Yellowstone Park, stopping at lots of paint pots and geisers, watched Old Faithful blow, sat a while in front of the massive fireplace at the impressive Old Faithful Inn, then on thru Grand Teton National Park, along Jackson Lake with the towering Tetons to the right.

Jackson is just as conjested as any other hip mountain town, but still a georgeous place to visit this time of year with all the fall colors!  Flowers are still blooming here and they have not had frost yet at 6250′.  Was great camping here with no dew or frost to wake up to!

Mark is planning on leaving tomorrow and will catch a bus back to Seely Lake, where he met up with us, to get his motorcycle and head back home.  As for us, we will leave tomorrow also, after some bike repairs and head for Steamboat Springs, Colorado!!

Sorry, you may see some typos here, but this computer is not cooperating today!!!

Until then—–Bikin’ On——Ralph and Pat

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