The Great Divide / Banff to Mexico - Day 7-11

Phil got a bad sting over his eye last night which meant a bad sleep. But was the quietest CS since Spray Lakes and loved sleeping to the noise of the river.
Ride 40 miles threw the woods with noticeable smoke in the distance and definitely smelt and inhaled light elements of it. Hot afternoon when landed at Holland Park Lodge which is a posh log cabin which overlooks a lake and mountains. BEAUTIFUL, even with a slight smoke screen. We had planned to eat here as the guide book recommended it didn't know how posh it would be and no choice so bring on the steaks! Wow! The contrast from wild camping last night was hilarious. Swimming in the lake was medicinal as well as stunning.

DAY 8: 79.5 miles to Lincoln
Smoke, characters and highway filled our day. Disappointing to have to by-pas another off road section to ride the highway from Holland Park to Sealy Lake because of the forest fires but we stopped and met some great characters en route. Our coffee break was in a "creative's" dream with wood carvings, paintings, photos and Indian works to mesmerise as well as AMAZING cakes. Then the wee town of Ovando could have held us there for the night with fun characters songs and stories to go with western style stores and layouts. Robs singing is on record! Great craic. Arrived in a lightening filled sky at Lincoln and spotted a cheap motel and wow!!!!! 2nd shower in 8 days and huge beds!!!!!! Happy. Forgot Jill's tubeless tyre got ripped and it was all hands on deck to repair and learn about tubeless. Every day is a school day on this trip!

DAY 9 26 miles to Llama Cabin
Huge American breakfast in a diner, huge faffing and left Lincoln by noon (hottest time of day-oops). Uphill and downhill were full on . Picked up Brian an American/Korean GD rider for a while until he went faster and left us and by 3pm stopped by shouts coming from the decking of a gorgeous home in the middle of nowhere - it was Brian. The host was John and Barnara who have converted a log cabin for the use of passing cyclists with cold drinks, cookers, .... WIFI!!!! Unbelievable generosity as he sent us to the fridge to get cold drinks and later fed us icecream on the decking along with another 4 GD riders who decided to stay too. the choice was more miles or luxury setting and ice cream. No brained but short mileage. Who cares? The company and setting is what this trip is about as much as the mileage -did I say it was all free!!! They want us to spread the positive feelings of our stay to more people and that is payment.... Consider it spread.

DAY 10: 62 miles to Park Lake CS
Last night had a short strategy meeting. Decided we have been on "holiday" and if we stand any chance of completing the journey together we need to up the anti and so up at 6am to max on cool morning. Day gave us over 6000ft of climbing with one wrong turn that brought us to a ski resort (closed) and alternative route to Helena. Highway . Back to forest trails in heat of day and up up up to Park Lake CS. All shattered but great to finish near a lake.

DAY 11: to Butte 55 miles
Early start meant we had perfect temperature for the best single track biking yet through the forests. John was ridiculously good with a loaded bike do things I couldn't do in my dreams! Impressive. Gray lunch in a one horse town called Basin before being thrust into the heat of an uphill slog but got a much needed swim in too. About 10 miles from Butte the smoke started to kick in from yet another fire. Montana is now in a state of emergency. Butte is a bit like a ghost town because of it but what a great Historic Crntr. Went to dinner in an old bank whic keeps a vault from 1905 as its key feature and is HUGE. Brilliant. Got an excited squeal from a fab lady we met last week in Big Fork (Casey) who joined us with John. Great people! Exhausted!!!


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