Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"we set out biding a lasting adieu ..." ~ Meriwether Lewis

We bid our own adieu to Glacier National Park
and the Rocky Mountains

A Bit of History

The road we were on today went within four miles of Camp Disappointment, so named by Meriwether Lewis after realizing that the Marias River did not extend above 50 degrees north latitude, which would have given the United States greater claim to the northern territory, also claimed by the British. He wrote in his journal "we set out biding a last adieu to this place I now call camp disappointment". We also bid farewell with disappointment, but for different reasons. These will be the last mountains we see until we reach the Adirondacks.

Also near this area is the site of the only violent encounter between the Corps of Discovery and the native peoples they met along the way. On July 26, Lewis and George Drouillard and the Field brothers, Joseph and Reubin, met with eight members of the Blackfeet tribe known as the Piegans. They made camp together that night. The next morning Lewis and his men were awoken by the sound of the Piegans attempting to steal some of the Corps weapons (according to Lewis -- there is no Piegan account of the event). During the struggle, Lewis and his men killed two of the Piegans.

Interesting History Fact Part II (if you like this kind of stuff; if not, just skip!): We are now in Shelby, Montana (a full day ahead of schedule -- more on that later). Shelby is known for one thing: The Fight that Wouldn't End. On July 4, 1923 Jack Dempsey, the reigning heavyweight champion of the world, fought local favorite Tommy Gibbons. The fight lasted the scheduled 15 rounds, so I'm not sure why the poster in the lobby of our Comfort Inn calls it the fight that wouldn't end. Maybe the town of Shelby hoped it wouldn't end so that more people would pay to see it. This part of the country was so out of the way in 1923 that Dempsey demanded a guaranteed purse in order to fight. The town build a stadium just to hold the event, with local banks putting up the funds to do so. Attendance at the fight, however, was far below what was needed to pay all the bills, and several local banks went out of business due to the loans they made to hold the fight.

Now, for the Riding

The last several days we have had spectacular riding conditions. Yesterday we rode from a small motel near Essex (The Half-Way House) to East Glacier. There we stayed with
warmshowers.org members Sam and Jo. Sam is a ranger in Glacier National Park and was working when we arrived. Jo was an incredible host and made us feel right at home. We got to drive into the park with the kids and Jim Kirby (our support team for the first couple of weeks of the trip), ate at an great restaurant (the Park Cafe -- excellent pies!), and saw some amazing vistas within the park. Unfortunately, the Going to the Sun Road is not completely open due to all of the snow this winter (and as recently as last week).

This morning we had one of our longest rides: 74 miles. For the first 45 miles we averaged over 17 miles per hour due to a 3000 foot elevation drop and a strong tailwind! After lunch we lost most of the tailwind and had a slight elevation gain to Shelby, but still managed about 15 mph.

Photos, Finally!

We are finally able to upload photos. We hope you enjoy them! And thanks for all of the comments!

~ Dan

Alison and Sonia ride in the rain on Day 3 - Sonia
shows her displeasure with a thumbs down! After
getting off the bike she said "I hate you all!"

Alison forgot her flip-flops; necessity is the mother
of invention.

After three days of rain our gear dries in the yurt.
Sonia dubbed this the REI display wall.

Finally, a dry ride on Day 4 - Alison and Sonia are
dwarfed by a bluff along the Kootenai River.

Gus delights in shaking the swinging bridge over the
Kootenai Falls.

Lunch with a view: taking a break above Lake Koocanusa.

Bike surgery: Dan's bike gets two bottom brackets!

Our first view of Glacier National Park.


The reward after 18 miles of climbing!

1 comment:

teva said...

good work!