Zen On Dirt

CDT Day 105 – Hop, skip, and jump over Richmond Hill

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We’ve landed in a fairy-land in the middle of Montana at a B&B that we barely found. There are unicorns (3 beautiful horses), dragon eggs (the owner collects/sells landscaping rocks), and the decorations are fitting of a princess. There are beautiful black and white photos everywhere, a huge rock fountain, shampoo (always a luxury), and they’ll cook breakfast at whatever time you ask for. We totally lucked out as they’re forecasting another 29 degree night, and for me, anything under 40 is freezing with a high chance of miserable.


Sleep in the jail was good up until about 4:30 when the body heat from the two of us couldn’t keep the cold at bay. Then it was usual camping sleep of tossing and turning. We woke up at 6:58, crawled out of our sleeping bags (I would have kept mine on if I could have), and walked across the town center to the Stray Bullet Cafe for breakfast.


Look! We’re almost there!

Ovando (pronounces Oh-van-doe, not oh-vaghn-doe as we’d both thought) has made a concerted effort to be a bike touring friendly town and it shows. They’ve realized that they have an amazing natural resource surrounding them between the Ovando River (great fishing) and the intersection of several bike touring routes, and have jumped on the opportunity to welcome people to their town. Bike tourism – it’s taking off.


The South Africans came in shortly after us. They’d camped in some guy’s lawn who they’d met at Trixi’s. While they had hot showers last night, they looked anything but warm when they walked into the cafe. Nothing that a few cups of coffee couldn’t fix. Keith, Cameron, and Adam (?) had taken anywhere from a three months to a full year off of work and were enjoying their time off before returning to the real world.


Taffy – Guardian of Ovando

We wandered over to the Blackfoot Angler next door. Kathy is a Tour Divide superfan and posts pictures of all the racers as they come through. She (and the entire town, actually) has gotten reprimanded by Matthew Lee a couple of times for providing services after hours, to which they reply, “But we’ll do it for anyone who needs something.”

Really, truly, good people.

We really wanted to sleep inside tonight, but we couldn’t get ahold of the Super8 that Scott had stayed in 10 years ago. Turned out, they closed, but some Google-sleuthing found us the Standing Stone B&B. Affordable, and pretty much exactly where we wanted to get to. “Put us down for a room. We’ll be there around sunset.”

While we were planning on rolling by 9, we found enough people to talk to to delay departure until after 10. Whoops.


We rolled out on the GDMBR. 26 rolling miles to the turn-off to Richmond Hill. Then some climbing on roads, then a road closure, and double track that rode like singletrack. Some of it was actually singletrack. To ward off bears, we turned the iPad volume on high, put it on the outside of my pack, and had a dance party the whole way up. When I came through during the race in 2012, the whole damn mountain was covered in snow. It was way better today.


We dined on frozen burritos at the top, enjoying the view before dropping 2,000 feet down. A series of forest roads took us to Holland Lake. A busy highway took us to Hungry Bear Steakhouse where the food was good but the service terrible (it’s been a really interesting social experiment to see how different people treat us in different regions of the country), and a final six miles brought us here, to fairy land.


Methinks it’s going to be hard to leave in the morning.


Oh good!




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