Our 4th week on the GDMBR began at Holland Lake and brought us to Butte. As was the case with week 3, we had rest days on both ends of the week. We have been fortunate to take so many rest days in Montana with Rachel’s family. Although our riding began and ended in Holland Lake and Butte respectively, we technically began and ended the week in Lakeside and Bozeman, thanks to Sydney, Jack, Jim, and Jeanette once again for extracting us from the route to their rather posh accommodations.
It has been a very wet year, so lush green grass that is normally brown by this point in the summer has decorated our route. Many beautiful wildflowers coat the forests and meadows: there is the purple of the lupine and the fire weed, the white of the trillium and the columbine, the yellow of the daisies and the buttercups, the pink of the Indian paintbrush, and so many more whose names I do not know.
I knew that it was going to be a good day when I found the heads up penny. The copper coin sat in the parking lot, glinting in the late morning sun, an omen of good luck. I picked it up, and Chris and I climbed into the blue pickup truck that we had driven there. As we pulled onto the road, I pried open the cardboard box in my hands, revealing two dry meals and a Salsa Anything Bag. I had left my fanny pack with my parents, and this third Anything Bag that we had shipped to Helena would serve as a replacement, providing space for overflow food. The dried meals were a bonus, added to our order so that we could get free shipping from REI.
After purchasing a new seat from Great Divide Cyclery (I’ve had a few more saddle sores than on our cross country trip), we headed back to my younger brother, Sam’s, house. The truck we drove is his. He and his fiance, Kelsey, were out of town, but they let us crash at their house.
We lingered there until 4:00PM, reading our maps, tweaking our bikes, and eating leftover Chinese food and ice cream cake from my birthday meal the previous night. Finally, we climbed back onto our bicycles.
The third week of our journey down the GDMBR was book-ended by rest days. One end was our day off in Eureka before Rachel’s parents came to join us for 6 days on the trail, and on the other end we were extracted from the trail for 2 days off in Lakeside, MT at Sydney and Jack’s beautiful home on Flathead Lake. We pedaled from Eureka to Holland Lake in Condon, MT before being whisked away in Jim’s truck. Between Whitefish and Big Fork, the route was mostly pavement and flat, but the rest was forestry roads with daily climbs.