Saturday, July 4, 2009

Bainville to Fort Union

It was a 20 mile ride into an increasing wind (from the east of course) to Bainville where I stopped for a good sandwich and chocolate malt at a carryout on Rt.2.I saw signs that advertised a "scenic " route to Fort Union which is very close to the confluence of the Yellowstoe and Missouri River, something that was on my list of things to see. I heard from severaal locals that the 14 mile road was gravel but "very nice" with a lot of "new gravel" on it. I have no idea what I was thinking but I bought into this scenic road and decided to see some scenes.

This is a pic of Bainville as I left it on that new gravel road. I should have suspected something was up because the guys I got the road info from were in the middle of playing "pasture golf" in the middle of Bainville. I guess it bis annual 4th of July thing band "if I had been in town 20 minutes earlier I could have been part of the tourney". Although I did not take any pictures of this event, imagine the town of Ansonia making a full sized gold course throughout the town and golfers anly allowed to use 1 club. The foursome I met had "only broken 3 windows so far but they had 5 holes to go".

At first the gravel road was passable on a bike. Although it was slow going I was moving 7-8 mph as I picked my way along areas that were basically bare of gravel and not bad to ride on. This is a side road that veered of the "main "road.

Still not too bad about 6 miles into the route.

Then it got bullshit serious because the gravel became very thick at all parts of the road. The best way I can describe riding on it witha bike is trying to run through sand on a beach or maybe trying to walk through a big pile of wheat or shelled corn. It was the most difficult 8 miles of biking I have ever done. Thye stuff weas too thick to push the bike thru so the only option was to ride at a very slow speed and just keepgrinding along, or call 911 and get a helicopter evacuation (but there was no cell service). The peddling was harder than going up a mountain pass. You had to kiinda of steer around the thickest gravel but when you did that the trailer would not track very well and you would have to drag it through .My legs were groaning and for the last mile I had to stop frequently because they were cramping up. This was a hell of a work out.

At one point I started laughing as I was trying to ride up a hill through thick gravel into a very stiff wind (that picked up during the ride and changed direction so it was heading directly into it), I was thinking all that bwould be needed for a perfect storm would be a goose drowning-cow pissing on a flat rock rain storm and a flock of those bastard sons of bitches mosquitos from Saco Mt to complete the dea. Hell I probably would not have even noticed any rain or mosquitos because I was working hard just to keep moving. I guess it could have been worse I could have had a flat or broke a chain , as I write this I am feeling it was a miracle that either did not happen. I should be thankful.

This was one of those deals where when your realize you are in over your head, and you are totally responsible but you also realize the only way out is to work it thru, but I must say the scenery was excellent, although about the only time I saw any of it was when I stopped to catch my breath and curse which meant that the scenery did not get appreciated as much as it deserved.
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