Zen On Dirt

CDT Day 90, 91, 92 – Nero to Wisdom, pie, and rest.

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Day 90

90 days on the trail (not including our 12 day layover in Durango).

Wow. We just did the math – to our best estimation, we’ve taken 19 days completely off, which leaves us with 71 days of riding. Mostly full days. Mostly on 1-track. That’s pretty dang cool. The end is not yet in sight (I think it will be once we get to Lincoln), but it’s sort of crazy to think that we’ve been at this for 3+ months.

Also crazy is that we’re only 140 miles as the crow flies (ACF) from West Yellowstone that we left nearly two weeks ago. We’ve had some good squiggles in there.


Sleep was fairly deep under our tarp. It’d started raining again sometime in the middle of the night and all I could think was, “I love this tarp.” I felt fairly sure that our moats and dams would hold, and if not, hopefully our sleeping pads would float.

I half feared that we’d wake up to sunny skies and we’d be tempted to ride the 15 miles to Chief Josephs Pass, and then maybe the next 12 to Shultz Pass. Secretly, I knew it would be a bad life choice, but I can resist anything but temptation.


Luckily (?), I woke up to being shrouded by clouds and fairly to mostly cold. It was an easy decision to bail off of the pass and ride the 20 miles of dirt roads to Wisdom.

We broke all of our cardinal rules of camping and bikepacking. We put our tarp away wet, I wore my warm baselayer for riding (getting it sweaty and having to sleep wet is my worst nightmare), and we both wore our sleeping socks instead of putting on our sopping wet ones from the day before. We were headed to town!


The ride was easy, though each hill reminded me that rest was probably a good idea. When a 10 mile ride on a fairly flat dirt road seems long…yeah, it’s time for a rest.

We found that The Crossing served breakfast, so we went in and stuffed our faces (visit 1). I hadn’t felt particularly hungry getting to town, but I ate an impressive amount. We found ourselves a room for the night and after settling in, went back to the Crossing for lunch (visit 2). After some bad TV and horizontal time (every Simpsons ever marathon and Breakfast Club), we went to check out The Crossing’s dinner menu (3). They have real salads! Yay!

The rain came down for part of the day. More is on the way.

Day 91

Breakfast at The Crossing (4). Move to motel across town (5 blocks away). Lunch at The Crossing (5). Work + Netflix movie (best internet access we’ve had all trip). Dinner and pie at The Crossing (6). Rain all day.

Day 92

Breakfast at The Crossing (7). Work. Visit to the store for chips and salsa, popcorn, and drinks. Movie time. Rain and clouds all day.

It’s supposed to clear up a bit tomorrow, so barring rain first thing in the morning, I think we’re going to set an alarm and try to go day-ride the 30 miles of trail we missed. It’ll be a big day, but we both want to ride unloaded. Some of the trail is supposed to be a local favorite, and above all, it’s CDT that’s open to bikes. We’ve got to at least try.

Then two nights to Butte, a few days rest, two nights to Helena, a night or so to Lincoln, then GDMBR route to Whitefish (most likely), and then we have to plan our finish strategy as we can’t ride the trail in Glacier Nat’l Park.

So, two weeks, give or take. Looks like high pressure is moving in on Tuesday, so we should have a window to cover some miles.


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