Wednesday July 1: Hardin to Sheridan

85.5 Miles, 60 miles of incline and 25 of mostly decline and small hills

Ro's Phrase(s) Of The Day:

Well, we rode for a while following the railroad tracks, over a easy incline along fields. It was a great morning, even though there was a headwind it was still cool. Ro is smiling at how nice it was. We then entered the Crow Agency and passed the Little Big Horn Battlefield just before Pit 1, which was at Garryowen. Garryowen isn't two people, it's originally a marching song. The Garryowen stop was great; it's a museum which holds many many photographs by D. B. Barry (I think that's right) of many of the prominent Indian and American figures at that time (1876 and later). We also got a history talk inside and just behind the museum, which sits on what was Sitting Bull's camp before the battle. It was very, very informative and in some portions, astonishing (mostly at obvious demonstrations of exactly how low the white soldier's regard was for the capabilities and abilities of the Indian tribes gathered in the valley).

However, while we were doing the tour, the bugs came out. Mostly gnats and mosquitos. I was covered in them by about 11am. The terrain continued to incline, but the headwind was actually much more of a problem. This was the first day that we started wondering when exactly the Ride organizers determined that there were just *no* services around -- apparently if there's one supermarket and a church in town, and no place to eat right close by, that it still counts as "limited services". We ended up standing in the shade near the church, and eventually sitting down on it's steps (until the ants got too annoying for me).

The road started to get more differentiated about this point -- first we paralleled a river for a while (many bikers had taken the opportunity to cool their feet in the river), and just before the rolling hills really started we passed the town of Wyola, about 12 miles before pit 3. Lynn and Tom passed us at that point, so we caught up to them and by the time we reached the Wyoming border, we were really pushing towards pit 3 over the hills.

Pit 3 was at this place called the Parkman Bar one of the few places I had no desire to go inside and check out. No good reason -- I was probably just tired and really ready to get to camp. Pit 3 was out of drinking water for a short while after we got there, but they were able to refill from the bar until resupplies arrived. However, the next part was pretty nice (regardless of the headwind) -- 10 miles of downhill (or rollers where the net elevation gain was a negative value) which really bumped up our average speed calculations. We then had about 6 miles of flat roads with a stronger headwind, jumped on I-90E for just under 2 miles, and exited just before Sheridan. At the top of the exit was the first incarnation of the Incognito Lounge, a welcome water stop. At this point we were only 9 miles out of camp, but the city was still invisible, as you can see by the barns and fields still rolling by.

One accident occured on the way to camp -- we passed a lady who'd slipped on the high volume of shoulder junk while avoiding a car in the first few blocks we'd been on the main business street in Sheridan. She was okay, but her arm had chunks of gravel embedded in it. There was another hill up to the camp, but my granny gear made it.

We got up there mere minutes before it started raining, and as we were passing bike parking, looking for open spots, we noticed a bit of a refugee camp starting to appear under the stadium seats (the stadium was nice, solid, cement -- better than a rainfly!). We made it no further towards out designated spots; we set up right there. It was a good choice; the night was warm and we could leave the rainfly off. It did start raining after dinner, but stopped within 20 minutes, leaving us with the most amazing and bright double full rainbows. Sure, we tried to take pictures, but they just don't show the whole rainbow or the brightness as well. But here they are: right half, and left half. Later it thundered and lightninged again -- we were next to the generators, so it was loud under the stands, but it sure was dry, and the strong wind just helped dry the clothes on the line we'd strung between support pillars!

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