Day 43 - July 19th
Total: 1705.2 miles
Moving Avg: 8.9 mph
Overall Avg: 6.1 mph
This morning Ville made us pancakes. Since the Waters Man Cave had a griddle and mix, he felt compelled to cook for us. Besides we had pretty much flat miles today, so we were not in any serious rush to get moving, the miles would come easy.
We made the relatively small climb over Red Rocks pass, entering into Montana at the top of the pass. The Cenntenial Mountains towered over the broad flat valley that contained the remainder of the days journey.
Along the way, we met about eight southbound touring cyclists. They all complained about the draining head wind they had been experiencing the last three days. They said that the travels should be easier for us.
We, however, didn't seem to have the experience promised to us. While it wasn't a headwind all day, the wide open valley had an abundance of wind to battle. There was a two mile stretch heading directly into the wind. It also pointed us at the Centennial Mountains which loomed 3000ft above the valley floor. It was hard to look at them, as putting our heads up increased wind drag. So we hunkered down and pushed forward.
Eventually the road turned west and the wind became a side wind. It did swirl frontward at times, but at least now we could look up and admire the rocky peaks to our left with their vertical faces.
Several miles later, we found ourselves having lunch at the visitors center for the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge was created as a means to help the decaying population of a specific type of crane (if I remember correctly) which used to be abundant in the area. Since the creation of the wildlife refuge, population of the bird has been restored.
We pushed twenty miles further to a location marked as dispersed camping. Unfortunately, it was a dismal site. In fact, I believe it was mislabeled, because there doesn't seem to be any thing resembling a site here. The river was agricultural runoff, dirty beyond comfortable levels to filter. The landscape was deep grass with no suitable tent sites.
We pushed half a mile to the next creek, hoping for cleaner water and better tent sites. The creek was much cleaner, but tent sites were dismal at best. We searched around and finally settled on a flat patch of grass ten feet off the gravel road. Fortunately the road is very quiet. Unfortunately we have solid wind, and no shade.
We were moping and groaning about the quality of the site, and whether we should push 18 miles to the next site with water and camping.
"Guys, guys, guys, guys," Ville interjected. "Don't get sad, we have whiskey."
And suddenly all was well.
Live life at a slower place.