Montana 2014 Part 2 – Day 102 – Big Timber – Bratten Fishing Access: Not far, not fast

Friday August 29, 2014, 21 miles (34 km) – Total so far: 4,554 miles (7,329 km)

My attempt at sleeping late is interrupted about 8.30 am when an older man opens the door, takes two steps into the room, and picks up the trash can.

I say, “Excuse me!”

He looks up, incredibly startled, and backs out of the room like a dog sprayed by a skunk, as he says, “Oh! I’m sorry.”

He must have thought I’d already left since there was no car in front of the room. I bet he knocks before he enters a room for a while after this experience. Of course, when you are jerked awake by mild panic, it is hard to go back to sleep. I lie in bed for another hour or so, but then I give up on sleep and start to pack up. Verne is all tucked into the covers, his head almost hiding beneath the pillow. We’ve done two 94-mile days in a row, and a cold front is expected tonight, so his enthusiasm seems considerably less than usual this morning.

We have just a short ride down the road today. I’m trying to slow things up a bit so that I’m not trying to ride over Beartooth Pass on Labor Day weekend. I’m also trying to wait out the weather a bit. I don’t want to attempt the pass with the cold and rainy weather forecast for the next few days. All of this means we are just going to cruise down the road to a fishing access site that allows camping. Of course, even though I’m in an area notorious for strong westerly winds, I run into a headwind. Ha! I’m amused, slightly, but know that it is because the wind flows from the southeast ahead of an approaching cold front. I’ve used those winds to my advantage many times before.

Bratten Fishing Access is a popular spot to launch boats, but it is not as popular for camping. There is a nicer site up by Reed Point, but I’m avoiding that camping area because Reed Point has its major event for the year happening this weekend. I’m thinking there will be lots of people camping there. The site I get at Bratten is just fine, though. Only one other family arrives later in the evening in an RV to camp, so most of the day it is just the guys and me hanging out along the river playing on the rocks while fishermen come to launch or land boats. I get caught up in my journal and caught up on sleep. It’s a good, relaxed day.

I look at the back of these guys’ heads for many hours each day on the bike. But, after so many miles together since 2010, I can’t imagine riding without them. Verne, the Commander, is always happy with me if we can camp near habitat.
Short day today – just down the road a bit to a fishing access site that allows camping. I experience spelling rage every time I walk by these signs.
Verne and Kermit look for skipping stones on the Yellowstone River.
The guys are playing around on our rest day.
I think Verne may be basking – Kermit appears about to make a splash.
The whole crew enjoying the warm weather on the Yellowstone River. A cold front is due tonight.


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