Day 85, to Twin Bridges: Over the mountain and through historic towns, to bicycle camp we go - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

July 16, 2022

Day 85, to Twin Bridges: Over the mountain and through historic towns, to bicycle camp we go

Montana 287 North leads to Twin Bridges, with gently sloped mountains in the distance on either side.
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Saturday stats

Start: Ennis State Park/Fishing Access, Ennis, Mont.

End: Bike Camp, Twin Bridges, Mont.

The Daily Progress: 44.3 miles

Climb: 2270 feet

Descent: 2601 feet

Elevation at endpoint: 4667 feet

Ice cream flavors: Huckleberry fudge

Food expenses: $48 in Twin Bridges, $19 for breakfast in Ennis 

Lodging expenses: $20 donation

Dani's daily digest

Blue got a flat in the night. Chris fixed it without uttering any curse words, which is impressive.

Our first stop of the day was On The Fly Espresso. We got coffee, biscotti, and breakfast burritos. 

The ride today was pretty straightforward. We would spend the first 10 miles climbing 2000 feet, and then we would shed those 2000 feet over the next thirty miles.

The climb was fine, though it did make me regret the breakfast burrito. 

On the road near the horizon, Dani pedals toward the end of our long climb. Far behind her, a blue mountain ridge creates a second horizon behind the green one closer up.
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The next leg of the trip took us through Alder Gulch, which seemed like the historical origination for every old west trope. Gold was discovered in the river bed, and soon, a 14-mile-long boomtown sprang into existence. Many of the original buildings still exist in Virginia City and Nevada City. These looked like interesting places to stop and explore, but we were in the initial moments of whizzing down the pass we just climbed and in no mood for stopping. 

Anyway, back to the saga of Alder Gulch. The Gulch produced enough gold to be worth 40 billion in today's currency, so naturally some nefarious characters sought to get a piece of the wealth. One band of bandits, who called themselves The Innocents, would hole up at a roadhouse known locally at Robber's Roost and scope out targets to hold up on the highway. Now I know what you are thinking, you're thinking "we need a man of the law to clean up this mess." BUT THE SHERIFF WAS THE LEADER OF OUTLAW GANG! The chaos didn't end until a vigilante group, who called themselves The Vigilantes, killed off the members of The Innocents, including the sheriff. 

You see what I mean? The story is too cliche for Hollywood!

Beyond Alder Gulch there was a short stint on a shady bench in front of stately stone church that was too plagued by mosquitoes to qualify as a break and a visit to Walter's Family Foods in Sheridan. Walter's was easily the best small-town grocer I have yet encountered on this trip. 

It was pretty hot by this time (this western sun is BRUTAL). Luckily, the last 11 miles to Twin Bridges were sharply downhill and very easy.

Twin Bridges has an awesome amenity for long-distance cyclists: a "Bike Camp" in their city park! There's an enclosed shelter, a toilet, some picnic tables, many electrical outlets, and a sink that produces both VERY hot and VERY cold water. There's a shower, too, but the shower door is protected by a code, and we did not get the code despite calling the numbers listed hours ago. Oh! And we're right on the riverfront. 

The one-room building on the left has a sign above the door that says "BIKE CAMP." On the roof is a bicycle with something in the spokes to make the wheels turn in the wind. To the right is a tree, a walking path and a river.
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After checking out the bike camp, we went into town for salads, pizza, ice cream, and grocery items, but I spent most of the afternoon just lolling in the shade of a tree and enjoying the breeze. 

Tomorrow and the next day promise to be more challenging. Longer miles, uphill, headwind. I'm trying not to think about them. They will be what they will be, and there's no reason to stop enjoying where I am right now.  

Today's ride: 44 miles (71 km)
Total: 3,159 miles (5,084 km)

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Scott AndersonI’ve never heard of Alder Gulch before but this makes me want to go see what remains of it.
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3 weeks ago
George HallI'm reliving my Transam experience (7 years ago) through your journal - I recognize most of the roadway scenery photos and find myself longing to ride this route again. Maybe someday I will. You have a lot of interesting travel remaining and I'm looking forward to reading about it.
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3 weeks ago