Date: Aug. 13, 2009
From: Bannack State Park – A Ghost Town
To: Dillon, Montana
Route: Hwy. 278 S. to Frontage Rd.
Passes: Badger Pass (6,760’)
Miles: 28 Miles
Top Speed: 47.7 mph
Weather: Sunny with cloudy cover. Perfect temperature.
Our new friends Michael, Vivian, Max and Lulu invited us for egg sandwiches this morning. Gregory and Max hit it off right away last night and were off exploring first thing this morning. We had a great time visiting with this family that shares our passion for travel. They recently spent 3 months in New Zealand and 3 months in Australia so we were able to get some travel tips from them. We hope to stay in touch and meet up again some day. They gave us a hearty farewell that was a bright start to our day.
The climb over Badger Pass today took some time but it wasn’t too steep and we were pleased that we were able to cycle the entire way. Our slow pace left plenty of time for these pesky bugs to annoy us, especially Gregory. He was batting away at them and expressing his frustrations verbally all the way up the pass. We tried to tell him they were no big deal but he insisted they were biting him. We managed to make it to the top without digging out the bug spray but it was so very called for. (Something else we need to make more accessible!) We had 14 miles after of downhill after our climb and a pleasant ride on in to Dillon.
Just 3 miles outside Dillon we stopped at an RV park to see about cold drinks. They didn’t have a store but Patsy (who is a summer resident and was helping water the plants) talked the RV host into selling us soda. He only had Mt. Dew Code Red (which I bought for Mike) but when I explained I was diabetic and we didn’t let Gregory have caffeine she walked us all the way across the park to her personal RV and got us two caffeine free Diet Cokes. Somehow we began talking about my Crohn’s disease and her husband’s ulcerative colitis and she insisted I take a week supply of “Align” (a probiotic supplement her husband uses and she purchases at Wal-Mart). I explained that I already use “Culturelle” (which I get over the counter at Costco) but she insisted I try this. Both products work to build and maintain a strong and healthy digestive system. It is so funny how such a brief encounter can produce such a gracious outpouring from people.
It town we went by the Patagonia outlet and picked up a couple of things and next door was the bookstore/art studio (in the rear of the building) our friend Tom, from Missoula, had mentioned. He told us to inquire at his friend Cathy’s studio about possible camping. Initially I didn’t find Cathy there so I left a note saying sorry we had missed her. Well, while we were shopping she happened by and picked up my note and upon seeing our bike out front tracked us down in Patagonia and offered us her straw-bale guesthouse for the night. It is just as cute as can be and we were so impressed that she had constructed it herself. Mike has done some straw-bale construction and knows the work that goes into the structure. The straw (I think she said hers is barley) acts as a great insulator and I love how the think walls create these deep window seats and ledges. You can tell Cathy is an artist by the personal touches around both the guesthouse and her own home. We are once again so thankful to meet such kind and fabulous people as Cathy during our travels.