Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Monday, July 21, 2008
Jordan, MT to Circle, MT
68 miles (6358 total miles)

Long, hard day. We went 68-1/2 miles today on a very hilly road, one up and then down after another. It was also a very hot day and we had a fair bit of head wind. Later in the day it turned into a side wind, which didn't help much but at least didn't slow us down as much, and it also helped to cool us off some. One of the main problems, too, was that there were no towns along Hwy. 200 between Jordan and Circle, so we didn't have a nice air-conditioned restaurant to stop and eat lunch or get a cold soda. There were two places that helped in that regard - one was a rest area at the corner of 200 and 24, where we could have turned off to visit the famous Fort Peck, "only 59 miles away". Circle at this point was "only" 31 miles away which is why we chose to go there instead. At any rate, there was some cold water in the water fountains at the rest area, so we refilled our camelbaks there - after 37 miles, they were running a little low (we had more water in bottles on the bike, but it was all hot by then). The other thing that saved us was finding a bar/supper club at the side of the road near the town of Brockway, about 13 miles from Circle. The town itself was too far off the road for us to want to go to, but this bar was right there. The woman who worked there was very nice and chatted with us as Pat drank 2 Pepsis in about 5 seconds flat; I had one in about the same time. She also filled up our camelbaks with ice - by now we had to top them up with the hot bottles of water and getting ice and cold water in them was very much appreciated. She also called our motel to let them know we'd probably be later than 6 pm (we arrived at 6:30). The road also leveled out after Brockway, so we managed the last 13 miles a lot better than we had been doing. We were quite relieved to get into town and find our motel. We ended the day with 7-1/2 bike hours and almost 11 hours of road time (we had to stop and rest a lot towards the end).

Our big excitement of the day was seeing a couple of cowboys on horses, rounding up some cattle. We first saw some cattle moving around in a field, then saw that a guy on a horse was behind them, urging them along. He galloped around to the front of the herd next and got them to move back to join the others. The cattle were moaning and groaning about being shoved around, but they moved where they were supposed to. Another cowboy on a horse was coming up from the other side of the road to join in the fun, too. We also got a picture of a cattle tunnel, which we have seen lots of, but never got a picture. Cattle use them to cross underneath the road. And finally, we got some good pictures of the windmill columns that we've seen carted around on wide-load trucks.

The terrain today was unusual, too. It started out much the same as usual - crops and pastures with some creeks running through them and some fairly shallow canyons from time to time. At one stretch, however, the canyons and the peaks were quite impressive. The peaks were much taller and the canyons much deeper, and the strata of the rocks were quite different - some dark and cement-like, some pale with red and pale yellow streaks. We had the feeling that Montana was giving us a sneak preview of the North Dakota badlands. After a bit, the land got more level and the crops and pastures reappeared again.

Our bike ready to leave, in front of our motel in Jordan

A nice mural in front of the gas station across the road

Morning rush hour near Jordan

The terrain near town - crops with hills and a creek behind them

A small butte

A large sheep was running across this pasture (at the left) -
click the picture to see a close-up of him in the fullsize version

The terrain gets suddenly rockier with taller hills...

some of which had this dark, cement-like strata

Little bumps of hills across this area

No matter what the terrain, cows were using it as pasture

Deep canyons

There is a large bird of prey perched on a ledge just under the top out-cropping
(he's the dark shape underneath the top)

More, greener canyons

This is the kind of road we had all day - up and down, up and down

One of the few creeks with water

More of the rocky hills

Our exciting moment of the day - we saw some working cowboys

This guy and his horse were rounding up the cattle

The cattle moved, although they complained about it a lot

Hay bales in this canyon

A cattle tunnel, so cattle can cross the road safely

More of the crazy roller coaster we were on today

One of the windmill bases goes by us (for a full length shot, see the last picture)

More of the strange cement-like rock

These canyons were unusual - taller peaks and more colors in the strata

Another fascinating canyon - you can almost see where the creek ran through it

This nearby canyon was greener and less deep

The historic marker about Fort Peck at the rest area

And one about the dinosaurs that are so famous around here

Looking back on a green and gold valley

More green crops, closer to Circle

At the McCone County Museum in Circle, a marker about the town (little hard to read)

A train car at the museum...

and information about the trains in the area

Two interesting write-ups of the history of the area

This one talks about the livestock and crops, the main industry here

And they have to have some statues of dinosaurs, of course!

Sari rests her tired feet while Pat runs loose with the camera

One of these windmill bases was parked outside our motel, so here's the full view