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.
With a splash of yellow
Whitehall Bighorn sheep 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!)