(Rest day in Helena - Day 5)

Helena to Three Forks
Day 6

Welcoming a new day, the sounds of zippers opening and closing: tents...the long zip, gear bags...the shorter zips, pants...a quick wiggle of a butt on the tent floor and a very short zip, sleeping bags...a very long zip. A composer could write "The Camper's Serenade" for full zip orchestra.

Soon out of town we are assailed by hellacious head winds -- 20-25 mph winds gusting to 30, and quartering from the right...enough to blow a bike into a traffic lane. I have a firm grip.

It's hot, more than 90 deg., and the wind unabating. For sunburn protection I have on a new long sleeved cotton t-shirt displaying an appropriate motto: "Wherever I go, that's where I am." My CycleSource helmet visor protects most of my face. Twenty miles to our campsite at the Missouri River Headwaters State Park near Three Forks. The sag van is up ahead. I'm going to bag these last 20 miles. Were I on my own, I would have pitched my tent a while ago. As it is, I've ridden 62 miles, not a bad trip, and am going to save my strength for Bozeman Pass tomorrow. I miss the opportunity to pedal through Three Forks and visit the historical Sacajawah Inn. Next time.

This camping area is a "no running water" area. Ever able and creative, we grab our ditty bags and towels and head down to the river to bathe. Imagine, bathing in the headwaters of the Missouri River!

The wind doesn't die as the sun sets. Not a good sign. Steve tells us that the weather forecast is for rain. I pitch my tent on a slight incline out of possible runoff areas, and firmly stake it down. Bob needs another stake for his tent, and I give him one of my extras.

At dinner we sing "Happy Birthday" to our 65 year old rider. He didn't want acknowledgment of this historical occasion. So, in his honor, we also build a big bonfire in the fire ring. So much for "no celebration." Carla drags over a dead tree for kindling while others hack at some cut logs. The "Birthday Person" is presented with a muffin complete with burning candle. With a huff and a puff, the tiny flame dies. In contrast, the bonfire catches and glows. Audience participants fan the fire and tell jokes. We are gathered in communal exhaustion from today's ride, wrapped in silliness and bug spray.

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Augusta to Helena (Day 4)
Three Forks to Livingston (Day 7)

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