August 3, 2006
I slept late today after yesterday’s long ride, and wasn’t packed until ten. I got breakfast in a place called The Wagon Wheel, and all of their restaurant’s decorations were Western/Hollywood type stuff. This included a Tombstone movie poster, signed by all the cast, and also a framed Clint Eastwood autographed photo. I had some pancakes and scrambled eggs.
I was high on maple syrup and coffee while riding out of town at 11am, and heard a great radio set! It went exactly like this, no songs omitted.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – By the Way, Guns N Roses – Mr. Brownstone, Creed – My Own Prison(aka Their Only Good Song), Quiet Riot – Come On Feel the Noize, Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks, Pearl Jam – Yellow Leadbetter, Bad Company – Movin’ On, Silvertide – Devil’s Daughter, Cream – Tales of Brave Ulysses, Edgar Winter – Free Ride
The station was broadcast out of Butte, and I soon lost reception. Rats. After 30 miles of gradual elevation gain, I came to Dillon… a fairly large town with a few thousand people. I stopped at the McDonalds for lunch, and had a McChicken sandwich and Coke.
The next section made this one of the hardest days of the whole trip for me so far. There were two passes to climb – open, Wyoming-esque sagebrush terrain, and no towns or services for nearly fifty miles. Now this would not have been all that bad, but throw in a headwind from hell.
As soon as that wind hit me after leaving Dillon, I knew that I was in for a rough time ahead. I was even tempted to turn around and let it blow me back to town for the night, and call it a 30 mile day. Then Billy Idol Rebel Yell came on the radio, and part of me that likes a challenge kicked in. Grrr. I remembered back in Lander how Rudy had us all laughing when he told about how when the times got tough, out there all by his lonesome, he’d scream into the wind, “Is that all you got?!”
“Is that all you got?!”
Now let’s see, I left Dillon at two, and finally reached Jackson at nine. That’s seven hours… nowhere to stop, except the roadside. All I passed out there was open ranch country – ranch after ranch. I didn’t see very much of those ranches. All I did was bow my head, watch that thin white line in front of me, and try to lose myself in my own thoughts, blocking from my consciousness the fact that I was crawling along at 5-6mph.
Finally over Big Hole Pass, the second of the two passes, I had an enjoyable final ten miles descending to Jackson. I saw spacious open fields, dotted black with hundreds of cattle. There was also a big herd of deer, or maybe elk that were too far away to identify. Riding into the sunset again, it reminded me of the last scene of the third Indiana Jones movie, and how they’re making a fourth one. The Last Crusade is impossible to beat. Can you imagine how they wrote that script?
“Okay, we need lots of chase scenes. Suggestions?”
“A speedboat chase!”
“A motorcycle chase!”
“Uh, how about airplanes, and a dogfight!”
“And a foot chase – on top of a moving train!”
“Oh not just any train… a circus train! And all the cars have lions, snakes…”
“Excellent! What else?”
“A castle! A big old German castle – filled with Nazis!”
“And it has a secret door! A swinging fireplace!”
“And horses – Indiana’s gotta ride a horse!”
“Tanks! Nazi tanks!”
“A secret cave! Booby traps!”
“Knights! A 600 year old knight!”
“And a big zeppelin… like the Hindenburg!”
“Can we blow it up?”
“Hitler! A Hitler appearance!”
Okay, you get the idea. Impossible to beat. I’m camping tonight outside the Jackson Hot Springs Lodge. For dinner I had a pound of spaghetti, a can of Hunt’s tomato sauce, and two cans of Vienna sausages. I added it up to over 2000 calories. Life is good.