Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Leaving Butte Mt.

This is Bill the tall drink of water from Tennessee I met last night for good conversation, beer/pizza along with wife and inlaws. They are on an extended western swing and were heading for Virginia City next. Bill plans on camping out in Bryce National Park for awhile. These are great folks to be meeting anywhere let alone on the road. Stuff like this makes me look forward to each day

View of Butte from highway out of town. Not sure what M stand for, probably something to do with the word Montana.

I glance up while riding and way way up on a ridge was this staue overlooking Butte. It was almost startling to see it up there. There were no signs or info about it which is unusual because every landmark man made or natural seems to have a sign designating it where ever you go. I googled and this is what I found. http://www.city-data.com/articles/Our-Lady-of-the-Rockies-Butte-MT-90-Foot.html Very interesting and eye catching.
This pic was taken with the 10x camera lens and is still a long distance away but very noticable.

This is part of a huge copper pit on the outskirts of Butte. There was a sign that said it was something like 1700 feet deep. Butte is a mining town for gold-silver-copper etc it has had populations of up to 100,000 to one tenth that depending on what bwas getting dug out of the ground. Actually the whole town is undermined by all sorts of tunnels. http://www.ultimatemontana.com/sectionpages/Section6/Butte/butte.html.
The story of Butte is very interesting and I was going to spend a day there and explore but the road called me in the morning and I set out for Helena the state capitol instead. I may spend a day there. There is so much to see in these cities that a person could spend days in each .

When I woke up Monday morn I decided to bike to Helena instead of exploring Butte. No major reason, just felt like getting on the bike and riding. I talked to a state trooper about the best way to get to Helena and he said the only was was to folloow I-15 but there were frontage roads for a good part of the way. He also said that right out of Butte there is an "ass busting bastard of a climb " and he was right on. It is the Elk Park Pass which is on the Continental Divide and a very long pull.
Although I was wheezing like Wilford Brimley running the Boston Marathon I made it without stopping (except to take a couple of pics). That was surprising to me because I usually have to work my way over these type passes. It is probably a combination of fresh legs in morning, the new bike, better mental attitude(confidence)--hell maybe I have the potential to be a real biker someday. Also, I may be getting used to exercising at altitude . Early on in trip I had no wind at all but that seems to be getting better as my body gets acclimated.
It was an exciting great physical workout 75 mile ride to Helena. Got rained on 3 times and hailed on once. The frontage road story turned out to be another western myth--more on these things in later posts.
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