Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Sunday, July 20, 2008
Sand Springs, MT to Jordan, MT
32 miles (6290 total miles)

Short day, but with lots of rolling hills, so we were glad we didn't try to go the extra 32 miles yesterday. It was also hotter today, got up to 86 degrees by noon, and a little buggy (I used the bug spray, Pat toughed it out). There wasn't much wind today, although it was very breezy until late last night; we're really hoping for a good tailwind tomorrow since we'll have our longest day and even more up and down than the last 2 days. There won't be any towns between here and Circle, tomorrow's spot, so we may stock up on some more food and water.

Today was mostly lots of terrain and a little wildlife. We got a picture of some kind of deer or antelope, who conveniently stopped and stared at us long enough to get a picture taken before he loped away. We missed a fox or coyote who was bounding away over the shrubs - he seemed a little big for a fox but he was a bit too far away to be able to identify accurately. We also didn't get 3 large sheep who were climbing over a hillock. They weren't really wildlife I guess, but they looked like big horn sheep, without the horns - much larger and less woolly than most sheep we've seen in pastures. We saw our usual early morning flocks of swallows, diving madly, and managed to get a few of them in a shot. I didn't get the scores of little butterflies flitting around the wildflowers that lined the sides of the road.

The terrain pictures may seem repetitive but that's really a function of trying to capture a wide vista with a little camera. The land changes constantly as we move along it - something that looks fairly flat at first will turn out to have interesting gullies in it as we get closer or see it from a different angle. Big and little hills will pop up suddenly in an otherwise flat landscape; sometimes the land seems to splay out like a big skirt from a little peak on a ridge. The texture will change suddenly, too; while today was mostly pastures with short-cropped grass and scrub brush, mixed with a few crop fields, we had some areas with rough rocks, some where the earth looked almost like cement, and others where pond edges were white from the alkaline soil.

We went through a town called Edwards today, according to our map, but didn't notice it at all. Luckily, Jordan was quite noticeable, first from its grain silos and then from the cluster of houses. Our motel was conveniently right on the road (still Hwy. 200) and we pulled in at 11:15, having left Sand Springs at 7:45. We covered almost 32-1/3 miles in a little over 3 hours of bike time, a pretty good average considering the hills. We have pretty good connection here so Pat doesn't have to go out scrounging for it. We hope to use the extra time today to get a little ahead of things for our next rest day, or maybe just to rest.

Lush wildflowers in front of hilly pastures

Green and gold crop lands with the occasional bump of a hill

The road stretches ahead, then dips down out of sight

Big farm equipment sits in a field

Some ravines cut into the wide plain here

Some of our energetic swallow

More gullies carved into the pastures

A row of trees may indicate a creek back there

Tall crop grasses in two colors extend out to the horizon

Interesting textures in this field

Bright wildflowers in contrast to the pale brown field

Rockier again here

Definitely a creek coming up

Turns out, this creek was aptly named

What may look like water is really pale and dark green grasses in the creek bed

Our beautiful stag in a field of brush

A butte sits up on the horizon

More trees

Interestingly shaped hillocks

Strange grayish-white rock in these ravines

And then these rocks, looking almost like sandstone

The rockiness continues

The land seems to radiate out from the little peak on the ridge here

The pasture looks a little greener here

But then the dirt looks paler again...

and here seems almost like cement

We reach the town of Jordan...

with a row of big grain silos at the edge of town