Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 22 – Aug. 10, 2009 – Sula, MT – 38 miles

Trying to lighten up a tense day...

Montana flag at our lunch stop in Darby

Our new friends Penny and Steve

Old time picture viewer seen at museum in Darby

We think these are marmots. We caught them playing around near their burrow just off the highway.

Tons of turkeys

Trapper Peak

Golf clubs for mini golf at our cabin in Sula

Gregory the Golfer

Today was one of those days when I felt like if someone looked at me wrong I was going to lose it. I felt a lot of pent up frustration and thought at any minute I might yell, “ You know you aren’t the only one who is struggling here. My knees hurt, my back hurts and I have a saddle sore the size of a marble in a very delicate area! I know we have a brutal head wind and we are only travelling 7 miles per hour but I’m pedaling as hard as I can!”

Fairly often Mike will ask for a little extra effort, or he’ll say, “Give me all ya got.” Another often heard phrase is, “Kick it in!” When he is really struggling or having a bad time of it we’ll just hear, “PEDAL!” Today he got a “PEDAL!” right back in his ear because I was tired of being told to pedal harder when I felt like I was giving it my all. Then I just shut down for miles and it was silence. I was trying to teach Gregory something when I was so rudely interrupted and I was mad. (I know Mike feels like when we are talking that we aren’t working hard enough and he can feel it in our pedal strokes. I’m sure he is right some of the time, but it still made me mad.) Gregory and I know that the general rule on an uphill is no talking or singing. Today was fairly flat with a headwind. I guess the same rule applies!

The wind was just killing us today. We had to fight for every inch and it was such a shame because the elevation gain was gradual and their was this amazing view of Trapper’s Peak (the highest peak in the Bitterroot Range) and for the second half of the ride we could enjoy the sights and sounds of the Bitterroot River. It is a good thing because there wasn’t very much talking going on.

We spent half the afternoon in Darby. Mike rested in the grass and Gregory and I looked around in the museum and did some reading in the library. Gregory also spent some time on the play equipment. All the while we watched the unsightly direction the flag was blowing in the wind.

While in the library Gregory and I read a book about the most disgusting jobs. We just plucked it off the shelf and it was fitting too because one of the jobs was the guy who has to clean up the road kill! Today we must have seen, and smelled, at least a dozen “road kill” deer. They smell really nasty too (disgust-er-ous as Gregory would say) especially if they’ve been hit recently. To top things off we were just 300 feet behind a vehicle when we heard this loud THUD and saw a deer fly across the road in to oncoming traffic. Many a doe went jumping off the sides of the road in every direction and traffic came to a halt, except for the guy who hit the deer. He kept on going. We had to pedal through the car debris and see that poor doe lying their in the road. By this time we’d seen plenty on the side of the road but it is different when you see it happen.

Despite everything we did survive the day and we are still speaking to one another. Mike got a kiss for hanging in there with a bum knee and a strong headwind and there were high-fives all around. We pulled into the Sula Country Store just 15 minutes before it closed for the night. We set up camp, took hot showers and met up with our new tandem friends Penny and Steve who rented a cabin for the evening. The restaurant was closed so we pooled our resources and shared a campfire and a meal of navy bean soup, hot dogs, pork and beans and the rest of our smores fixings left over from Missoula. The Hershey bars were a little melted but they still tasted just as good. It turned out to be a very enjoyable evening. I almost forgot to mention that as a bonus miniature golf was thrown in for free (usually a $4.00 fee per person). So there you have it!

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