Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 8 Watercolors, murals, and sheriff of Jefferson county, MT

What a great day!  It was the best day so far!  I am having an absolute blast!  My legs really felt great today after my "rest - only 80 miles" yesterday.

We started climbing over the continental divide first thing this morning. It was more than crisp this morning - it was downright cold. I had on arm warmers and my wind vest and wished I had put on my leg warmers.  Knowing we had the climb first thing, I was afraid I would end up with too much on, but the leg warmers would have been welcomed. I was able to get on the road really early and was passed by many on the way up to the divide.  I think I surprised a few people to be passed as high up on the climb as I was.  The climb itself was really pretty easy 3 ish miles of 4-6% grade with good pavement and wide switchbacks.  I was able to get into a good rhythm and just churned up the mountain.  I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a sign indicating we had crossed the divide, but we took a picture a little down from the crest.  It was really fun to be up there with some of the guys.

After the screaming downhill - I am getting much better at descending - we came into a neat little town, Whitehall, MT,  with murals on a couple buildings - I will post the pictures below.

Once we left that little town, the road turned and God's splendor shown in all its majesty.  He decided to paint the canvass in watercolors today! The sky was a very light blue instead of the vibrant blue of the week. The mountains in the back ground were subdued and the fields were washed in pastel grasses and flowers.  Even the dirt had a peachy hue to it.  Magnificent! Then, just to be interesting, He splotched bright yellows on to the picture!  It was as if He was at the end of a tube of yellow paint and just splattered on with no reason!  The roads were recumbent friendly -  long rolling hills, some of which you could bomb down hill and get almost to the top without having to pedal.  As the day went on the hills got longer and  I did have to pedal slowly up some of them.  But, the best thing was just being out there enjoying the day and feeling strong. 

Until... Da Da Duh! (Thrilling Music), I was riding along, minding my own business and I was passed by an 18 wheeler, a sheriffs car, and a regular car.  I waved at each of them as they passed me.  Nothing out of the ordinary or so you would think.  Then, the sheriff pulled over and turned on his flashing lights.  The 18 wheeler and the car continued and I started to pass by and the sheriff pointed at me to pull over!!!!!!

Me: Uh, me?
Sheriff: Yes, a lady called in and reported that you have been riding in the middle of the road, and when I passed you, you were durn near in the tire marks!  You are supposed to ride as close to the white line as possible!
Me: Uh, I'm sorry, sir, I am from Mississippi and we are allowed to ride at least 3 feet off of the white line.
Sheriff: 3 feet! No, that is way too far out in the road.  You are to ride as close to the white line as possible.  It is for your own good.  You don't want to get killed do you?
Me:Uh, no sir
Sheriff:  Blah Blah Blah, citation, warning, blah blah blah
Me thinking to myself: What the heck!!!!! Do you have a 3 foot law for cyclists?  If I ride the dang white line, I will get hit by some idiot that will say "oh, I did not see her!"
Sheriff: And you are supposed to ride on the shoulder
Me: I always ride on the shoulder as long as there are not rumble strips (wake the drunk strips).
Sheriff: Well you are always supposed to ride in the shoulder if there is one - oh it is safer to ride with more than one person and you have to ride single file.
Me: yes sir, there are 50 of us out here on this road.
Sheriff: Where are you going - Bozeman?
Me: Yes, tonight, but our final destination is Williamsburg, VA

And with that he let me go with a warning!  If I were not trying to keep this a nice family oriented blog, I could so go off on this guy...

The traffic from that point in to Bozeman was pretty heavy and I encountered more jerks here than on a typical Sunday from mm 100 to mm 105 on the Natchez Trace.  It surprised me as we have been treated very well by the majority of drivers up to this point.  Even today, I still got a handful of happy honks. I do intend to look up the Montana Cycling Law to see what it really says...

Dorky picture of me after crossing the signless continental divide

Craig and Vicky just pass the divide - this is Craigs last day.  Vicky should become my roommate tomorrow.

Watercolor landscape

With a splash of yellow

Whitehall Bighorn sheep mural

Whitehall mural

Whitehall mural

Today's barn picture - no trains today...

Tomorrow we go to somewhere in Montana - my route card is on the other side of the room.  I think it is Columbus, but maybe not.  I don't think it will be a very hard day.  I do know we have at least one climb.  Thanks again for your comments.  I really appreciate all yall! (BTW, a lot of the people on this tour think I talk funny! I had to explain yall and its plural - all yall - imagine that!)


Ladybug said...

This is so much fun reading! The pics are beautiful. I am so glad you did not go off on the sheriff! Pleas kep blogging and stay safe! Love you! Robin

Bob Lewis said...

Here are the MT statutes:
61-8-605. Riding on roadways. (1) As used in this section:
(a) "laned roadway" means a roadway that is divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for vehicular traffic; and
(b) "roadway" means that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, including the paved shoulder.
(2) A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable except when:
(a) overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
(b) preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or
(c) necessary to avoid a condition that makes it unsafe to continue along the right side of the roadway, including but not limited to a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, or a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
(3) A person operating a bicycle upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as close to the left side of the roadway as practicable.
(4) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall ride in single file except when:
(a) riding on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles;
(b) overtaking and passing another bicycle;
(c) riding on a paved shoulder or in a parking lane, in which case the persons may ride two abreast; or
(d) riding within a single lane on a laned roadway with at least two lanes in each direction, in which case the persons may ride two abreast if they do not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic more than they would otherwise impede traffic by riding single file and in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(5) A bicycle, as defined in 61-8-102(2)(b)(ii), is excluded from the provisions of subsections (2) and (3).

William said...

Well, as much as I love Montana, their cycling law is THE PITS! Not bike friendly at all. I will be boycotting Montana in my next ride across the country.

You're doing great Michelle! Keep up the good work. I looked up your route so far on Google Earth, and you've covered a really impressive portion of the US so far!


Nancy said...

Well..POOH ON THEM!!! I mean, come-on folks (Mt.) the nano second that it takes to safely pass a cyclist isn't going to significantly impact your life or your time. Get off you fat rumps....step away from the donuts mr. policeman....and try a bike on for size. You MIGHT just like it! But, it does make for a great story. You know, you might wanna stick that in the suggestion box that each states biking laws are provided. I wouldn't have thought to look myself.

I am so glad that you had a good day. BTW.....I would have thought there would have been a great big sign, too.

I can see your mood has definately improved by the tone of your post. Welcome back, my friend. We have missed your smiles.......

OK....adjective for the day. "Quaint" for the town murals and "Obnoxious" for the cop! :o)

Catch y'all tomorrow! Have a great day
Catch ya again tomorrow.

Susan said...

Unbelievable story about Mr. Cop man. You'll have a good time telling that story for years to come.