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DAILY REPORT: I got up this morning at 6 am and there were clear skies over head but dark clouds heading our way. By 7 am it was pouring outside and the weather report predicted rain all day. It was in the 50's with a high of 65 deg. There was a southerly wind 5 - 15 knots.
So to begin, last night while Skip was talking to the Nevada City Hotel caretaker, Ed; he mentioned that one of the things he wanted to experience while on this cross country trip was major thunderstorm w/ lightning. Before I could stop Skip from uttering those words we were jinxed. (And he talks about Bob & Peggy's weather wish!!) So it really wasn't surprising as we watched this dark cloud formation blow up the valley and pump buckets of rain and hail. We delayed our start prepping the bike w/ fenders and breaking out our rain gear. The skies lightened and the rain shifted to a drizzle. The air had that clean summer rain smell. But I digress....
We made a quick stop at Virginia City so I could link up with a local wifi hotspot and send out last night's journal report. Thus the reason for the delay getting Day 10's report out. My apologies for those who like to read the Riding4Hope Journal w/ their morning coffee :)
As we left Virginia City we started climbing, climbing and climbing to just about 7,000 ft. If the rain didn't wake us up the hard breathing at the top sure did! We headed over the pass down into Madison Valley. The skies continued to clear/lighten and the drizzle subsided - this was a good thing. The weather still had a chill in the air.
At the bottom of the valley we stopped by the Ranger Station in Ennis. The front receptionist was very friendly and helpful and gave us our troubling weather report that it was raining in West Yellowstone. Turns out she used to live in Norfolk because her father was in the Army and was stationed at the Armed Forces Staff College. Once again small world.....
We continued south. The rolling hills gave way to 30 some miles of relatively flat terrain. We met up w/ Skip at Cameron for water and snacks. Yep, thank goodness for all those powerbars from Costco and granola bars from John Emery!! There we met a nice couple (Bob & Peggy) who were riding their tandem self contained from Astoria, OR to Maine. They were expecting to arrive sometime in Sept. Now that looked like a lot of work!!
As we left for our next 30 miles, we saw dark ominous clouds in the direction we were heading, The boys seemed to be riding a little slower than normal. I thought maybe they were still feeling a little off from yesterday's long ride. Or maybe it was just the prospect of riding in the rain. As we got farther south we began to get sprinkled on so we pulled over and donned the rain gear. It was at that time that John realized that his fender had been rubbing against his tire and had been acting as a break for the last 25 miles or so....the reason for John's lethargicy.
It wasn't long before we were hearing loud claps of thunder and lighting flashes. I'm sure Skip was happy; we were not. We were in for a soaking. We pedaled on looking for some shelter before we got hit w/ the down pour. Just about then Skip showed up and said there was a rest area several miles up the road. As we worked our way to shelter, the drizzle turned to rain and we pretty cold and wet by the time we reached the picnic/rest area. Looked like a great place to dry off, have lunch and watch the storm pass by. More thunder, some hail, and more rain....more rain.....more rain. (Skip was very happy!) I had a safety concern with the number of tractor trailers that were using the road and the amount of rain/mist generated and reduced visibility of the drivers going by.
We took a vote after lunch and three against one (Skip, go figure) voted to load the bikes in the trailer and drive the remaining 30 miles to West Yellowstone. And as it turned out, it rained all the way to the hotel.
We checked into the Stag Coach Inn who were nice enough to give us two rooms for the Riding4Hope Team. Thank you very much. It was great to take a get off all the cold damp clothes and take a nice warm shower!! Afterwards we out for dinner based on the front desk's recommendation of the best pizza in Montana - Wild West Pizzeria. The place was very popular and while we waited for 15 mins or so to be seated, Skip found the owner Megan and she nicely volunteered a free pizza for the very hungry biking trio. After minor wait because of order mix-up our pizzas arrived. And true to expectations they are the best Pizzeria in Montana! Thanks much!
We followed up with a little window shopping along the packed sidewalk of West Yellowstone before we headed in for the evening. I did happen to stop into the Jacklin's Fly Outfitters and met Bob Jacklin. He is a world class fly fisherman and it turns out he is part of a support group for the Wounded Warrior Project and he was also prior service, serving at Little Creek Naval station. Bob, all the best and the military thanks you!
So tomorrow the weather is supposed to be much better which is good news since we have our longest day yet of 126 miles to Jackson Hole, WY.
I was informed today by Jon Eberhart (Sandia National Labs) that we now have an international following in Germany! Their German American Friendship Bracelet Blog link has been posted under our News and Info page. Additionally there was a VERY nice news article written by Nick Rotunno of the Shoshone News Press. He interviewed us while in Kellogg, ID.
Thanks for joining us.....ride safely!!
The Riding4Hope Team
(David, John, James & Skip)
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