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Thread: 9 Days In

  1. #1
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    9 Days In Montana: Photos & a Brief Writeup

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2...7645062932708/

    Click on the first image and advance manually as the slideshow function gives you an annoying Ken Burns effect.

    490 miles, including one 21 mile out and back ride on the rest day. Overnights in Sula, Jackson, Divide Bridge, Twin Bridges (two nights), Butte, Philipsburg and Hamilton.

    Highlights included unpaved Gibbons Pass (6,900'), Big Hole Pass (7.400'), the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway (7,900'), Pipestone Pass (6,500'), Pintler Scenic Byway (6,100'), panning for sapphires at Gem Mountain and Skalkaho Pass (7,300').

    Experienced rain, hail and wet snow in the Pioneer Mountains and a cold, hard rain descending Skalkaho, the two most alpine sections, hence the scarcity of photos from those locations. A few other shower while on the road, a severe wind event in twin Bridges that nearly blew two of my panniers into the Beaverhead River and a hail storm in camp in Sula the first evening.

    No exotic critters except for one Dahl sheep, several sandhill cranes and herons and two raucous snipes.

    Ran into several other cyclists, including nearly a dozen in the Pioneer Mountains Area participating in the great Divide Mountain Bike Race. To give you an idea of how far behind they were, the winner had already crossed the finish line at the U.S.-Mexican border in Antelope Wells, NM. Still, it's more than I could ever accomplish.

    Cooked some good meals and one bad one. Had a great 18 0z. rib eye au poivre in Butte. Great huckleberry milkshake in Philipsburg.

    With some planning and alternative overnight locations, this can be done as a "credit card" tour. What it can't be done is on skinny tires and/or flimsy wheels without some notable route modifications which would change the nature of the ride.

    Enjoy.
    Last edited by indyfabz; 07-02-14 at 07:46 PM.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

  2. #2
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    Seriously jealous. You are packed pretty light. What are your lodging arrangements?
    "Of course you eat too much" (Looigi) There are things people say that are so true you can never forget the wisdom. I still eat too much. Without denial.
    Awarded 2014 Billy Madison "Ultimate Insult" by jsharr. Must have been something about my rambling, incoherent response...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadTire View Post
    Seriously jealous. You are packed pretty light. What are your lodging arrangements?
    I fixed the thread but apparently not the subject line.

    Light? Not really. Camped every night but two. One planned hotel in Butte because the campground there is right next to I-90 and generally sucks. The light before the last day of riding I got a room because I was hypothermic from descending Sklalkaho Pass in a cold rain. I had planned another 25 miles to a U.S.F.S. campground near Stevensville.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

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    Senior Member Ursa Minor's Avatar
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    wow looks like fun
    except I hate cold

    Charlie
    Grimly determined to have fun.

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    Senior Member JackoDandy's Avatar
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    AAhhhhhh - there you are America the Great.

    What an experience.

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    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Fantastic ... thanks for sharing and congrats!

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    Quite an eventful trip, not as serene as your pictures led us to believe. I still envy you. I'm curious about your shelter to get through that weather, especially since your bags seems pretty compact and very neat. Not a lot of stuff hanging or piled on the outsides.
    "Of course you eat too much" (Looigi) There are things people say that are so true you can never forget the wisdom. I still eat too much. Without denial.
    Awarded 2014 Billy Madison "Ultimate Insult" by jsharr. Must have been something about my rambling, incoherent response...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadTire View Post
    Quite an eventful trip, not as serene as your pictures led us to believe. I still envy you. I'm curious about your shelter to get through that weather, especially since your bags seems pretty compact and very neat. Not a lot of stuff hanging or piled on the outsides.
    Two days on the road had some extreme weather at altitude. Other than that and the storm that blew through Twin Bridges while I was camped there, the weather was quite cooperative for that time of year. There was a brief stint of hail when I got done takling a shower after the first day of riding and a few other short shower events.

    Many parts of the routes had little to know traffic. The road over Gibbons Pass was virtually empty. I got passed by one old timer in a pickup with a dog in the front seat. (Montanans love to drive with dogs in the beds or hanging out the front window.) That was it in 9.5 miles. During the 10 miles down, I saw the old timer again and one other moving car. The 22 miles of dirt road between Melrose and Twin Bridges featured one vehicle until I was about 2 miles from, town. I got passed by maybe a half dozen cars on the 9.5 mile climb up Pipestoine Pass. And the climb up Skalkaho was devoid of traffic except for a convoy of dumptrucks theat was ferrying dirt up the road for some grading work.

    Strapped to the rear rack is a Big Agnes Seedhouse UL 2 tent. 3.25 lbs. packed weight. My sleeping bag is stuffed in the right rear pannier. I usually lash it to the platform fo the front rack, but went with a different set up for this trip. I think I like it better the other way. Makes for better weight distribution. The bags are actually rather large compared to others. Ortlieb Sport Packers (front) and Backpackers (rear). A lot of people who tour carry a lot of stuff for luxury. Not me, although I do carry more cooking gear than many because I like to cook and eat well while touring. I have never liked a bunch of stuff strapped all over the bike, and I orient my tent parallel to the bike, not crosswise. This improves handling and makes it easier to get into panniers.

    Aside from the minimal tools chain tool and spoke wrench), flat changing sutff and snacks, here is what I carried:

    2 sets of cycling clothes (bib, jersey summer socks), one of which you obviously wear while riding
    Base layer for cold mornings
    2 pairs of underwear
    1 pair of convertible pants
    1 synthetic t-shirt
    Arm & leg warmers
    Short gloves
    Polypro glove liners
    Cold weather jersey
    Rain shell
    Medium weight long fingered gloves
    Polypro Long John bottoms
    1 pair of wool socks
    Wool hat
    Skull cap that can be wqorn under the helmet
    Light, cheap sandals
    MSR Dragonfly Stove
    20 oz fuel bottle
    Some emergency pasta
    2 nesting pots, inside which were a spatula, pot strainer, pot gripper, small vials of sallt and pepper, vial of olive oil, head of fresh garlic, camp soap, collapsible plastic cork screw, military can opener, lighter, PakTowel (for dishes and bath) and celeo sponge
    Small, plastic French press coffee mug
    10 TJ's instant coffee packets
    Small cutting board
    Small, light utility knife
    Lexan plate, cup, spoon and fork
    ThermaRest ProLite 3 mattress
    Cat's Meow 20 degreee sleeping bag
    Dumb phone + charger
    Book ("Flowers for Algernon")
    120 lumen headlamp
    A few maps and miscellaenous pieces of paper with phone numbers and directions for getting into and out of Butte
    Reading and interchangeable sun glass lenses
    2 compression straps in case I decided to put the sleeping bag on the front rack
    Wallet
    Perscription pills, Vitamin I, collapsible travel toothbrush, small vial of shaving cream, three disposable razors, sun screen, mosquito repellant, a few bandages and some medical tape
    2 or 3 bandanas
    A few extra nuts and bolts for the racks
    Small binoculars
    4x8 plastic tarp
    Light cable with combo lock, which I only brought because I knew I would be spending some time in the Missoula Public Library and leaving my bike unattended for a while at the Twin Bridges Bike Camp.

    Plenty of room for the twon days I had to carry groceries for 10 miles.

    Other than the tools, flat changing stuff and bandages, I used everything multiple times out of necessity, not merely convenience.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

  9. #9
    Junior Member codyash's Avatar
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    Wow, what a beautiful area. Great pictures and great looking ride!

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    Great pics! Thanks for posting, and also thanks for that equipment list, I've cut/paste it into my 'hints' folder.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Black wallnut's Avatar
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    Did I miss reading what you are using as a tent?


    Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by Black wallnut View Post
    Did I miss reading what you are using as a tent?
    Yes. From above:

    "Strapped to the rear rack is a Big Agnes Seedhouse UL 2 tent. 3.25 lbs. packed weight."

    My next tent up is a MSR Hubba Hubba, which is 1 lb. heavier. I bought the BA on sale last year and used it for the first time on a GAP/Cross-Pennsylvania tour. It's smaller than what I had been used to, but acceptable. With the Ortlieb Panniers, I don't have to worry about putting them inside the tent or under the fly since they are completely waterproof. The tent is a little difficult for someone of my height (6'2") to get in and out of, but it's acceptable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fmt_biker View Post
    Great pics! Thanks for posting, and also thanks for that equipment list, I've cut/paste it into my 'hints' folder.
    No problem. I think where many people get hung up is with clothes. I have seen some lists that have included as many as 5 sets of riding clothes, multiple off-bike shirts and pants and a week's worth of underwear. First of all, you wear your off-bike clothes for half the day, if not less than that. And it's not a beauty contest. No one is going to care if your clothes (or you) get a bit dirty from time to time. (I didn't even bring deoderant.) And even many towns have small laundy mats. A few weeks ago I saw a packing list for a tour from TX to NY that included not only backup lights, but also something like a dozen extra batteries. smh. The guy probably passed a battery source every day or two.

    What's on my list is pretty much what I would cross the country with if I were to do it tomorrow. The only thing really missing are rain pants. (I might also start out with a set of winter gloves and botties if I were riding somewhere like the North Cascades Highway in WA in late May/early June. Been there, done that--twice. Got rained and snowed on.) I hemmed and hawed about bringing mine and ultimately decided to leave them home. Wrong decision considering where I was riding and the time of year. Storms like what I experienced were not a remote possible. I rolled the dice, which is something I usually don't do when it comes to something that could prevent a likely problem. Descending for 25 miles weariing cold, wet leg warmers is not fun and can be dangerous.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Black wallnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    Yes. From above:

    "Strapped to the rear rack is a Big Agnes Seedhouse UL 2 tent. 3.25 lbs. packed weight."

    My next tent up is a MSR Hubba Hubba, which is 1 lb. heavier. I bought the BA on sale last year and used it for the first time on a GAP/Cross-Pennsylvania tour. It's smaller than what I had been used to, but acceptable. With the Ortlieb Panniers, I don't have to worry about putting them inside the tent or under the fly since they are completely waterproof. The tent is a little difficult for someone of my height (6'2") to get in and out of, but it's acceptable.
    I've read and heard good things about the MSR and they look good at REI. I, when I backpack, use a Alps Mountaineering Taurus that weighs about 7 pounds. I tried super lightweight tents and found the lack of headroom when sitting up was quite bothersome. I've not tried cycle touring yet. Your thread has me thinking....


    Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by Black wallnut View Post
    I've read and heard good things about the MSR and they look good at REI. I, when I backpack, use a Alps Mountaineering Taurus that weighs about 7 pounds. I tried super lightweight tents and found the lack of headroom when sitting up was quite bothersome. I've not tried cycle touring yet. Your thread has me thinking....
    I like the Dragonfly because it has good flame control. I like to do some "gourmet" cooking on the road. It's also very powerful, which comes in handy when boiling water for pasta. If you are doing less involved cooking like heating up canned stuff, you can get by with less. Although I like my Dragon Fly, I am going to ask my GF for one of these for Christmas:

    Products - Optimus

    Love the compact nature of it.

    Geeze. 7 lbs. is heavy. I have a older Sierra Designs Velox 3P from when my GF did some touring with me. It's a hybrid tent that weighs in at 6.25 lbs. packed. Bad design, though. The way the flay is designed, when it's wet and you open it to get out, water drips into the tent. If you have the coin and want more space without a weight penalty, the BA Copper Spur UL3 is nice.

    Bike touring is fun. Before I got into it, I had never slept in a tent in my life. My first night in a tent was the first night of a cross country+ ride. Went from Seattle to Bar Harbor, ME with a group then home to Philly and on to Ocean City, NJ on my own. I ended up doing about 10,000 loaded miles between late May of '99 and August of '00 during three long tours, including one in Andalucia, Spain. Hoping to do another cross-PA tour in September. For next year, I have started to look at South Dakota and northwestern Nebraska.

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