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Dillon to Alder, MT – 50 miles

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6/24/12 Dillon to Alder Montana – approximately 50 miles

Had a wonderful nights sleep at the Motel 6 and awoke ready to face the day. I met Randy at the Klondike bar and Grill for breakfast. Had one of the best cheese omelettes I’ve ever had in my life I think. Then we headed for the 29 mile ride to Twin Bridges. The ride was along gentle rolling hills, with grasslands sprawled for miles out to the sides and the mountains in the distance. But the really cool thing was that we had somewhat of a tailwind all the way to Twin Bridges, so it was pretty much cruising 18 mph or so all the way. I kept thinking, “Life is good.” Along the way, there was this big field of lambs- there must have been 100 or more. And each big lamb was accompanied by a little lamb – a 1:1 ratio. And it seemed like each little lamb was baaing or murmuring. Sort of like a little lamb chorus. For the first time I think I really understand the analogy to counting sheep to go to sleep. That little lamb chorus would be enough to de-stress anyone and put them in a place of peace. I wanted to take a picture, but the sun was ill-positioned, plus I am not sure I could have gotten close enough. However, I think  that mental picture will stay with me forever. I can close my eyes and still hear that baaing.

Also, I saw as many bikers with fully loaded panniers as any day so far. Most started the end of April from Va and are in the last month or so of their cross-country trek to Astoria. We often stop and exchange info with each other re what is coming up and recommendations as to where to stay, eat, etc. One of the bikers we met today was from Ireland. His story was typical. He flew into NY and took the bus to Yorktown VA to start the cross-country ride. Attached is a picture of this fellow with Roger – my bike repair hero.

Along the way to Twin Bridges, I got an update from Randy re the tandem riders from Bangladesh. Apparently, they stayed at the KOA with the guys last night. Muntasir, the rider on the rear of the tandem, counts trash along the side of the road as they ride. He actually has a clicker and clicks every time he sees a piece of trash. I think he has a way of differentiating “clicks” depending on the type of trash, I.e. paper v. Aluminum cans, etc. Randy understood Muntasir to say that this is somehow related to research re the affect of trash that washes up in Bangladesh and how that affects global warming or something. Supposedly, Muntasir riding on the back of the tandem bike and counting trash is part of his job out of Washington, DC. So, the cross-country ride is work-related, sort of.  If all this sounds a little confusing, I agree, and think I will have to track these guys down next time I camp and conduct a cross-examination for more details. Randy did give me Muntasir’s business card with the website address http://www.trashmaniac.com. I think I’ll have to check it out.

At Twin Bridges, we turned right and headed for the remaining 20 miles to Alder. Unfortunately, we also headed right into another killer headwind of approx. 15-20 mph. For the next 2-3 hours, we battled the wind, often going no more than 5-7 mph. Another grueling workout, but still nowhere near as bad as yesterday with the cross-wind. As we reached Alder, population 100, I was pretty much resolved to camping at the KOA campground with the guys. And I was almost too tired to care. But then, like a mirage in the desert, arose Chick’s Bar, Grill and Motel. My first impression was that this was a seedy bar with motel rooms overhead. But, to my surprise, around the back of the “bar building” was this lovely little restaurant with an intriguing menu and fudge brownie a la mode as the special dessert of the evening. I asked the lady to show me a room, and was stunned to find a beautiful room with all sorts of amenities, including  a flat screen TV and beautiful tub and free hi speed Wi-Fi. All for around $50. That did it – no KOA camping in 90 degree heat and 15 mph winds for me. I ran across the street to tell Frank and Randy that they would have to do without the pleasure of my company for another night and had barely gotten the words out of my mouth before Randy said, “I’m in for a beautiful room for $50.” Did I mention that Randy isn’t crazy about camping and likes comfort? Again, I think he just likes me around because it gives him an excuse not to camp on occasion. He lit up like a Christmas tree when he saw how nice the rooms were. We agreed to meet for dinner later after taking the afternoon off to relax and relish the find.

Just goes to show – you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Addendum: I went online and checked out trashmaniac – it is a fascinating read. If you check it out, be sure and click on “about” and get the full explanation.

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