Saturday June 27: Townsend to Harlowton

SAG DAY!! But, as it turns out, it didn't need to be...waaaah...

We woke up and there were huge dark clouds in the sky, and scattered raindrops while we were getting ready -- so I decided, as I'd figured last night, that if we could confirm the height of the pass for this day, that I'd sag, and maybe Ro would too. Well, we picked up a route map and sure enough, it says that the pass is 1200 feet higher than McDonald pass. Decision made: we Sag.

What this means is that we take a bus directly to camp, where depending upon your inclination, you either hang out until your gear arrives, or you crew until you do get a chance to get your stuff or until you are ready to stop. We chose the latter. After Ro had demonstrated the wind's (and his, of course!) Superman-like abilities! It was really really strong -- I don't have a number for the gusts, but it certainly knocked me off-balance several times.

So first we helped put out tent-space markers (8 foot intervals); we finished off F and did all of G, after the lines had been marked out by the guy with the tape. That finished, we noticed the gear trucks had arrived, so we helped empty then -- something done more quickly than normal because the trucks needed to be freed up to sag bikes, and we were expecting lots of bikes. Not as many as the 300 taken off the mountain yesterday, but still a lot. So we both slung bags around, putting them everywhere and anywhere within the general baggage area, until all the trucks we had were empty. At that very moment, Paul (one of the crew managers?) hollered out that they needed a few co-pilots for the sag/gear vehicles (Ryder Vans) which were going out to pit1 and pit2 to pick up bikes. We volunteered -- I got sent out immediately to pit 2 with Jose, and Ro got put "on call" but apparently soon ended up heading towards pit 3.

This was great -- a chance to see the country when it *wasn't* raining! I took several pictures, of course -- one in town outside of Pit 2, and a bouncy scenery shot. We got to Pit 2, found that all the bikes could fit in the other truck, and were sent off to Pit 1 to pick up more bikes there. Upon arriving we found one full truck and about 30 more bikes to go in ours; Jason and Lindsey (the two in the full truck) helped load the bikes, and we were off -- to get gas back towards pit 2, and then to pit 3 to make sure that there were no more bikes there. I did manage to get a good picture of Mary and (Molly? Andrea?), as they pedal over a hill; they're in a cross between a tandem and a recumbent; Mary uses her arms in the front and Molly?? uses her legs as stoker in the back. A very nice pair, those too. Mary's husband Joe was sagging with us, actually; we'd met him on the bus. The snow-covered mountains don't show up as well in these shots, but they're there, surrounding the valley.

We pulled into Pit 3 late in the afternoon, as the clouds were thinning (somewhat!). It was turning into a beautiful day! There were several bikes in the pit, but only 2 to be sagged -- by this time they'd made it past the really nasty cross-winds part and had had a tailwind for the last 10 miles or so, and would continue to have it pretty much into camp. And Ro was there! whoo-hoo! We climbed up on the stacked hay rolls, where Jason and Lindsey and Arturo had already staked out their resting spots. I think I'll have hay in my clothes for days, but it was wonderful. Ro got a picture of me making some profound point or another, and I got one of Ro and Arturo looming overhead. Oh yeah, and another scenery shot!

I also got a picture of Scott the safety motorcycle rider out the window of the truck as we were leaving Pit 3, and yet another scenery shot, before we got into camp. We're in Chief Joseph something-or-other Park, a fairly nice site just 5 blocks or so from downtown Harlowton.

We had an all-hands meeting tonight -- kind of a townhouse meeting -- that was really well received and was actually really needed. Issues were raised, some were dealt with, and the ride goes on. We're 1/4 the way done!

Well, time to shower now, and get some rest...we have another long day tommorrow. It should be about 92 miles or so to Billings...

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