Posted by: bikedave | July 5, 2010

July 2, Hamilton, MT to 19 mi W of Wisdom, MT

I’d been awake for about 30 minutes when I started to hear the sound of raindrops on the RV roof.  I checked the wind and it was out of the south, not the north as forecast.  It was beginning to look like a good day to start riding later in the morning.

I re-filled the Rv’s fuel, propane, and fresh water, then emptied the holding tanks.  While talking to the man filling the propane, we discovered that we had both once worked for the same Upland, CA company.  Small world.

After Vicki got up, we went to a thrift store to buy some more books.  Vicki has read 6 books since we left.  She asked me to mention in the blog that she is having a really good time on this trip.

By 10:30 the rain had ended, the pavement had dried, and the wind was now out of the north.  I began my ride, while Vicki headed south with plans to meet me near Sula, MT.

For the first part of my ride I decided to take an alternate route on secondary roads rather than the main route on highway 93.  There was a little more climbing and about 7 miles of it was on dirt roads, but there was little traffic and lots of scenery.

Bitterroot Mountains to the west

One of the farms I passed

The route took me into the hills east of the Bitterroot River.  There were many opportunities to look down on the river.

Sleeping Child Creek as it flows into the Bitterroot

The road passed through a sheep ranch.

Montana sheep

There is nothing as cute as a little lamb

Old Darby Road

Looking down on the Bitterroot River

Drifting and fishing

Another view of Old Darby Road

Old Darby Road crosses over the Bitterroot River on a steel bridge with a wooden deck.

Bridge over the Bitterroot

I passed an old School House that had been in use from 1902 to 1921.

Como School House

In the town of Darby I re-joined Highway 93.  The road continued to follow the Bitterroot upstream until the river split into the east and west forks.  My route followed the east fork and began to climb a little more as it entered a long canyon.

Entering the canyon

The East Fork of the Bitterroot River

I passed through Suls, MT and caught up to Vicki at the bottom of the climb to Chief Joseph Pass.  We had lunch and I rested for about an hour.  The climb to the pass was about 9 miles long.  At the top I would be crossing the Continental Divide for the first of many times on this trip.

Chief Joseph Pass

About 7 miles down the east side of the pass, Vicki had found a good spot to spend the night.  We had dinner then went for a walk.  While we were walking a pair of sandhill cranes flew by then landed in a meadow.  They were calling the whole time.  We had never heard their call before.  I think it sounds like one of those rotating party rattles with a little squeak added in.

The view from our window tonight

Miles today: 56   Total miles: 930

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