Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Day 19 - Beartooth Pass!

Today's ride was fairly short (43 miles) so we decided to make it a quase rest day.  The idea was to crank out the ride early, then head up to Beartooth Pass and check out Red Lodge on the way back.  Remember, we had to get up and drive back to Lavina and start from there this morning.  We did well and were actually pedaling by 7:15 am.  The Homestead Inn Bar and Grill, whose parking lot we called home last night
has breakfast burritos and coffee so we stopped there for our first break.  I will always choose a Cheryl breakfast sandwich but these burritos were pretty good.  Nice first stop and we are on our way.  

On the road it occurred to me that Jack has been riding with me for 4 days and one thing is clear.  He is in riding shape now and a very strong rider.  I will start the day pulling at about 17 mph depending on conditions, then after a few miles Jack politely says "I'll pull for a while" and the next thing you know we are cruising at 19 mph.  Following a leader is supposed to be break time yet I can barely stay on his wheel!  It sure has been fun riding with Jack these past few days though and I'm glad he's here.  

It also occurred to me that this part of Montana is not very exciting (my awareness is astounding).  Before all you Montanans start hatin' on me, I didn't say it wasn't beautiful but I will point out that we did have one straight stretch of road that was 14 miles!  14 miles without a turn.  Note to Montana Road Department - get some imagination!  The terrain is very beautiful but all the same so I tried to spice it up a bit with a little artsy shadow shot of me on the ground.  What do you think? 

We made really good time and arrived in Billings before 10:30 am.  We needed to pick up a rental car because there was NO WAY we were driving the RV up to Beartooth Pass.  Just look at the curves on that road.  Not to mention the elevation gain.  Remember this RV needs to get us to Portland ME and back.   So we got the car at the airport, grabbed our spot at the RV Park, ate lunch, showered and were on the road by 12:45 pm.  We are a well oiled machine I tell ya!

It was a beautiful drive up the mountain.  We saw a few idiot cyclists riding down the hill.  Apparently
there is a business that will haul your bikes up and you ride down.  Sorry, I don't mean to bash my fellow cyclists and I don't doubt the rush of riding down the incredible road, but there is no shoulder and it doesn't seem like a good place for cars and cyclists to mix.  Anyway, once we got to the top the effort and coordination it took to get there was well worth it.  Such a gorgeous view!  

We attempted to stop at Red Lodge for a snack and a beer but we had Zuri with us and didn't find a dog friendly establishment.  Besides the RV park had a pool (it was 93 degrees), ice cream and we wanted to BBQ and drink our 1000 mile bottle of wine so we headed back.  In addition to shaming me on the road all day, Jack put the hurt on my BBQ skills by cooking up some very tasty pork loin.  I think we may invite him on the rest of the trip as guest chef.  

As if the ride through Montana has not been in isolated areas already, the next few days we will be in REALLY remote areas.  Next stop is an RV Park called 7th Ranch near Crow Agency.  I expect good connectivity there but the couples days after that will be a cap shoot.  Dry camping!    

Until then.....


  1. Jack sounds like a keeper. Another great barn picture. And the mountain pic is pretty awesome, too. Not to mention (well I guess I am) a couple of cute shots of the Winklers. The pass route looks like someone stepped on a tube of blue toothpaste and it spurted all over the map.

    1. The road up was spectacular. Good thing they had guardrails!!

  2. We spent 10s millions to acquire right-of-way and straighten roads that followed section lines and had 90 deg turns every 1 or 2 miles. Yer welcome.

    1. Haha. OK. But it’s not very exciting.

  3. Still think cycling bear toothe pass is bucket list.

  4. Not for me! Closed course maybe.