Day 16 - Helena to Skidway - C2C - from Westport, Washington to Sandy Hook, New Jersey - CycleBlaze

June 18, 2016

Day 16 - Helena to Skidway

Thunderstorm before sunrise, but only light rain. I was up and gone before the sun came up.

Rode through Helena in the quiet of the early morning. It's funny how different a city is when there is no traffic - and nice when you are on a bicycle. I did the McD's for breakfast in hopes of a WiFi connection. It was worse than dial-up. Meh!

Since it was still early, I decided to do US 287 on the west side of the reservoir rather than Highway 284. Shorter, plus I had the perfect direction of a light tailwind. Years back the road did not have a shoulder all the way and was pretty scary - given the traffic. They have a three-foot shoulder now in that section - but with a rumble strip taking up the middle. Although the traffic was fairly light, I had to concentrate to ride the bee-line to the right of the rumble strip.

Got into Townsend by 10:00 in the morning and proceeded to while away the entire day there. How can it be 28F yesterday morning and 94F this afternoon? I want a good answer to that. Anyway, right coming into town there is a WiFi rest stop. Imagine that - no decent WiFi at McD's, but great WiFi at a small town rest stop. So I got caught up on things when Dr. Trapp pulled up and gave me $2 for a coffee at the coffee barn next door. We talked cycling and small towns. See - - that's one of the reasons to go on bike trips.

Then it was how to while away a day in little Townsend. First up, the grocery store and lunch. They have a lovely, green park right next to the town grocery - how convenient for cyclists. Some folks from Bozeman joined me under the picnic shelter and gave me a giant, homemade everything cookie. Then some locals came along and we talked about how foolish I was.

Then it was time to go to the library and write dissertations. Actually, I was only able barely to keep my eyes open as I browsed internet schlock. But the librarian was great. I was her only customer most of the time I was there. She was originally from Michigan - so we talked about how beautiful Lake Superior is.

Then it was time for a milk shake downtown. A giant chocolate milkshake at the Mint Cafe with it perfect, retro counter. I added a plate of french fried - but don't tell anybody. Then back to the park for an hour nap as the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up. It was gusting up to 60 mph and I wasn't going anywhere.

Finally it seemed to die down a bit. With the clouds, the temperature had dropped. Plus the wind seemed somewhat in my favor. The climb out of town is steep, but after that it dropped into the Deep Creek Valley with its small ranches. Then the valley narrowed into a canyon - with the narrow highway right next to the creek for miles. Almost no traffic, cloudy and cool, and a tailwind all the way up the mountain.

The Cathedral of St. Helena in the Early Morning Light
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Abandoned Stone House
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Crossing the Wide Missouri - Oh, Shenandoah
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Downtown Townsend - A Friendly Town for Cyclists
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The Picture-Perfect Counter at the Mint Cafe
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Small Ranches Are the Heart of Rural Montana
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Photos Don't Do Justice to the Splash of the Creek for Miles
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Today's ride: 57 miles (92 km)
Total: 872 miles (1,403 km)

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