A mixed bag - The Adventures of Garfield and Tango - CycleBlaze

September 5, 2021

A mixed bag

Butte loop

Another chilly morning here in the mountains, so we putzed around inside the trailer for a few hours. By 9:30 Don said it was time to go, even though it was only in the 40's. 

He said he was plenty warm in his shorts, short sleeves and bare feet, but I literally had on every layer could think of! Long underwear, merino wool shirt over a turtleneck and additional heavy weight jersey, 2 pairs of socks, jacket, balaclava, ear band and gloves. Well, you get the picture! I guess Don has more of a fat layer than me. Ha, ha!

As I was helping get the bike ready, I noticed a strong odor of sewage emanating from the big bus parked next to us. Apparantly the owner (new to RV'ing) had neglected to hook up his black water waste line properly into the connection in the ground. 

He admited to Don that sewage had filled the compartment below the floor with waste and he was hosing the crap (literally!) out onto the ground of his site. 

Well, that's really stupid and very inconsiderate on his part! Not to mention a tad illegal. But he was leaving today and I guess didn't care what he did. Sheesh! We left as quickly as we could as the smell was gagging us. 

Our route today took us east through a neighborhood filled with modest homes. The fancy Victorian ones are all near downtown Butte. These had to be miner's homes.

We wandered a bit until we found a road located at the base of the mountains and turned south through more of a ranching area with homes on large lots. There was not much of a shoulder, but traffic was light.

Although the sun was out, it was very hazy and we would get a whiff of smoke once in a while. Even the mountains were hazy and we couldn't make out the statue of the Lady of the Mountain located at the top of one peak. 

I was comfortable in my layers until we reached our turn around spot on a side road. It was probably in the 60's now and much too warm for long johns!

We stopped at a mail box located by a new housing development where I was able to do a quick strip tease and take off some of the base layes. Ahhh....that helped a lot!

Don turned the bike bike back toward Butte as the haze was getting worse and the smoke was back big time. Bummer, both of us felt strong enough to bike further, but it wasn't good to be outside. Some of the side roads in this part of the valley looked interesting, but not today.

We retraced our route except for a brief exploration of a bike trail located near the campground. It ran along the Silver Bow Creek but looked like it was fairly short. More of walking trail than much of a bike path. It was pretty cracked and rough for us to ride so we turned around and headed back home. 

It was sure nice to get inside the trailer and escape the smoke. 

After lunch, we drove into the downtown area, checking out the homes and buildings. We also drove over to the overlook for the Berkley Copper Mine, but they wanted $3 to enter the area. No thanks! I wasn't paying even $3 to take a picture that wasn't going to turn out vey well because of the haze. 

We finished our errands by getting the truck gassed up and stopping by Safeway to see they had something I was looking for (they didn't). 

Then we returned to camp to take showers and do more laundry. I wanted to catch up all of our laundry while we had it easily asscessible. The smoke is so thick now that we can't even see the outlines of the mountains around here! No dancing tonight:(

We're leaving tomorrow and headed to Heyburn SP in Idaho which is located by Lake Coeur d'Alene. We sure are crossing our fingers and toes that they don't have smoke!

A quilt garage!
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This caught our eyes. It is an organization that helps build "resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strenthens self-reliance and potects natural resources. They work with sustainable energy (solar), farm energy, sustainable agriculture and information technology. Their staff engineers perform energy audits for farms and food processing operations, reducing energy used in heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation in dairy barns, etc. They assess irrigation systems. They can also administer grants for a variety of clients. Sounds interesting!
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Butte has these banners all over town. Guess they're hoping to entice people to get vaccinated. We were vaccinated months ago when they weren't having these monetary give aways. Colorado was giving away a million dollars!!
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We saw this oval on our route today. It's an Olympic sized speed skating rink! In 1987, Butte built this track in order to host the speedskating World Cup, a primer for the Calgary Olympics a few months late. It was supposed to become a 400 meter ice oval, a hockey and figure skating rink, a cycling track, a roller skating oval and home to a sports medicine division and an athletic testing facility. During fundraising it was advertised that "Outside the Soviet Union, this High Altitude Sports Center would offer complete high atitude training programs for speedskaters and other winter Olympic athletes." Butte had been called the "Center of Winter Sports" in Montana as early as 1930. It had the elements needed for a winning team - clean air, low humidity, lack of wind, clear water , low temperatures and an altitude of nearly 6000 ft. Unfortunately they were never able to secure the millions of dollars to put in a refrigerated track and other facilities so a temporary track was put in. A final World Cup was held in the early 2000''s but it never reached the excitement that the inaugural cup did. Indoor facilities became the standard as the cost of running Butte's oval became hard to fund. Nowdays, the track is used for kids learning to speed skate and is no longer a focus of international skating.
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This is a Serbian orthodox church. The parish was founded in 1897 under the auspices of the Russian Mission to Alaska and the US. Because of the mining in the area, Butte attracted people from all over the world. The original building was demolished due to structural damage caused by underground mining. This new church was built in 1965. Just as we passed by, they started ringing the VERY loud bells!!
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Hmmmm - didn't you see the sign, Don?! We didn't get too far on this trail as it truly was baricaded and closed.
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Today's ride: 19 miles (31 km)
Total: 257 miles (414 km)

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Gregory GarceauI'd liked to have smooshed that guy's face into the sewage he was dumping on his site.

You never know what you'll get in Butte. A few years ago, my wife and I walked around their truly historic downtown area on a warm September evening. Early the next morning, there was 6" of snow on our car outside our motel. By 10:00 a.m. every bit of it was melted and we were able to resume our trip.

Usually we see the mountains surrounding Butte as clear as can be. Last year, we encountered heavy smoke as you did.

I've ridden my bike several times in Butte. Most of the rides have been pretty nice. One of the times, however, I tackled that road up to the old mining operation on the ridge. It was a major lung-buster, but I made it.

One time we had one of the worst meals ever in Butte, but since then we discovered the only pasty shop west of the Mississippi River that we know of (Joe's Pasty Shop) and now we make an extra effort to eat there every year we drive out to Spokane to visit my wife's family.

Oh, speaking of smoke, just as I'm getting ready for my bike tour, smoke has moved into Spokane, which is only 40 miles from Couer d' Alene. Thus far the Air Quality Index is only 153, which is considered dangerous for people with health issues. Luckily I have no health issues, so I'm still ready to go. I hope it doesn't get much worse in the next two days.

I'm still hoping our paths cross in the next couple weeks.
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2 weeks ago
marilyn swettTo Gregory GarceauOh bummer! We missed the pasty shop! We love pasties. Good on you for being able to ride up to the top of that ridge in Butte. We drove up there yesterday and one hill we went up was probably a 12-14% grade. I'm sure we would have been walking. There was a nice view of the town below us but it was too bad it was so hazy. We hadn't really planned to even be here on this trip, let alone stay several days. But the KOA was one of the few places that had space on this Labor Day holiday. So here we landed. We leave this morning for Heyburn SP. The air quality index you mentioned for Spokane isn't good. We're spending a week at the state park and really, really hope to get in some nice rides. Maybe even try kayaking again.
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2 weeks ago