Day 7: Unplanned rest day in Red Lodge - Yellowstone and Grand Tetons 2004 - CycleBlaze

September 3, 2004

Day 7: Unplanned rest day in Red Lodge

It was 41F and raining when I woke up in the morning. If it's 41F and raining here, it must be snowing on the upper parts of the Beartooth highway.

I walked 6 blocks in the rain to have a big breakfast at a downtown cafe. Even in the rainy gloom I could tell that Red Lodge is a very charming town. Kind of touristy, but it's a genuine 19th century frontier town that was founded near coal mines that fed locomotives on the Northern Pacific Railroad. The 5-block long downtown business district is surprisingly large and prosperous for an area population of only 2500 people (2nd largest town on this tour!). Several people told me that I would really like Red Lodge Montana. They were right.

After breakfast I walked in the rain back to the motel and inquired about the weather forecast - cold and rainy all day. So I paid for another night in the room. It's a good thing I did that early in the day because I got the last available room for the night (Friday night). She switched on the "no vacancy" sign after I paid for the room. I went back to the room and washed clothes, read, watched TV, and soaked in the motel's hot tub. The chain needed oiling but I never got motivated to do any bike maintenance.

Later I walked back to downtown to have a huge lunch at Bogart's Mexican Restaurant (strange name for a Mexican restaurant). I also found the supermarket and stocked up on groceries. And I had fun browsing the Montana Candy Emporium which had a mind-boggling variety of hard candy in bushel baskets. Customers fill a paper bag with whatever they want and pay by the pound.

Red Lodge, Montana.
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I ate lunch at Bogart's Mexican Food.
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Red Lodge, Montana.
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I spent the remainder of the afternoon just resting and watching TV. At 6 PM I was getting cabin fever so I took another walk to the downtown area. The rain had stopped by then but the clouds were still very low and gloomy. I cooked dinner on the balcony, had another soak in the hot tub, and packed up all my stuff to help me get an early departure in the morning. The high temperature was 45F and the clouds started to break up around sunset.

Of all the places I could be stranded for a day on this tour, Red Lodge is probably the best place. I feel like I was lucky to be able to sit out the rain/snow in a motel room in a charming town. I'm not very far behind schedule because of the extra distance I did yesterday. And I really needed a rest after yesterday's extreme ride. Tomorrow I should be able to make it across Beartooth Pass and get back on schedule. But I don't expect to have time or energy to hike the High Lakes Trail because there is 6000 feet of climbing to get across the Beartooth Highway. It will be interesting to find out how much snow is up there after today's storm.

Distance: 0 miles

Walking: about 5 miles

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