16 April, Bozeman, Montana

I left Columbus at about 7:30 AM and headed out for another 60 mile day along I90, West. The first few hours were good and I knocked off 30 miles in no time at all. The scenery was great!

Along I90

But–then the head winds hit again and I was slowing to a pace of about 4 mph–just a bit better than a fast walk. Eventually, it started to snow, hard little ice pellets. When these would hit my face, it really stung, so I donned all of my protective rain gear. (I was already wearing goggles.) But shortly after the snow started, the wind stopped and I made good time in spite of the snow, which turned to rain.

Earlier I had looked at a Google Earth image of the area and determined that the only possible place to camp in the would be near springdale, a small farming community with no services. The neighborhood bosted a fishing area with a boat ramp into the Yellowstone River. When I arrived at the potential camping area, a sign proclaimed that “No overnight camping was permitted.” Rats. This was the only place for miles around that would be OK for camping; probably why it was forbidden.
Many years ago, my friend Steve Peck and I took a 3000 mile road trip to the west coast, including Washington State, in the winter. I remember that we had inavertantly began drivng the wrong way down a divided highway, and we were desperately looking for a place to turn around. Suddenly, I spotted a sign on the center divide that said, “No turning around here.” That’s the spot we were looking for, and we turned around and started heading back the right direction.
I’ve since learned that, most of the time, when you see a sign that says, “No _________,” that’s probably a very good place to ________, but someone doesn’t want you to. Sure enough–this was an excellent place to camp, and I set my tent up in an area that would not be visible from any road.
Stealth camping
There was no where to replenish my water, so I filled up from the Yellowstone River, using iodine pills to kill bugs. I cooked up a dinner of noodles and salmon, using the treated water to wash up afterwardes. I forgot thta iodine mixed with starch turns blue and I got quite a surprise!
Iodine and starch
The next morning I woke up to a very cold forest and got started about 7:30 AM. The wind began to blow almost immediately and I was back to my 4 mph pace.
Did I mention that it was windy? Here is a picture that typifies the day:
Just short of Livingston, my Uncle Loren and Aunt Evelyn met me and took me to a nice lunch in town. After lunch, the weather improved a bit so I took off to finish the ride into Bozeman, over bozeman pass. My plan was to turn right onto Jackson road, at which point I would use my GPS to find my Aunt and Uncles house. Unfortunately, my cell phone was on its third day without a charge and it died on the way. The exit for Jackson road said, “No services.” This was a problem because I had to find a pay phone in order to call my Uncle get directions to his place. So, instead of turning I continued on I90 into Bozeman. Big mistake.
The weather deteriated rapidly. The visibility went to zero and so did the shoulder on my side of the road. Meanwhile, trucks were speeding by at 80 mph oblivious to my presence.
Bozeman Pass
This was a very, very dangerous situation. I really screwed up. So, I found a wide spot in the road to stop and think. I recalled that these cell phone batteries don’t do well in the cold. I stuck the phone in my pants to let it warm up. That did the trick! I had just enough juice left to call my Uncle for a ride off of the pass–the last couple of miles into town. A tough lesson learned.
The next day was a day off. I received a message from my sister, Kathy, informing me that everyone in her house had the flu (I had just spent a day with them.) A quick call to my doctor at Alpine Woods Medical netted some reassuring information: real flu, as well as the stomach flu variety, will present symptoms within 72 hours of exposure. I did not have the flu, at least not from my sister. Just to be safe, however, Eric called in a prescription of Tamiflu to a local pharmacy.
Later that night, I gave my 6th presentation on JWST. There was a nice crowd of about 60 people from the community, and a small contingent of physics majors from MSU. Nice!
Tommorw I begin a 3 day ride into Browning, where I will give a talk a the Blackfeet Community College. See you then!

4 Responses to “16 April, Bozeman, Montana

  • Make sure you wave to DEER LODGE as you pass. I was born there a million years ago!

  • David Stischer
    7 years ago

    Wow you have overcome quite a lot of adversity. You have overcome a lot of challenges already. Stay strong and stay warm.

  • God bless, protect and guide you dear brother! Very proud of you!

  • A tip for your iPhone in case you may not already be aware: You can put your phone in “Low Power Mode” to conserve battery life. This setting disables nearly all automatic background operations like fetching e-mail, reducing screen brightness, and the like, but for your purposes should be ideal, as those operations update once you wake up the phone. Go under “Settings” –> “Battery” and select the “Low Power Mode” slider such that it is green. This should cut battery consumption by 30 – 40%.
    And since you like Siri so much, you can even ask “her” to switch the phone to Low Power Mode.
    Good luck!

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