Testing the New Bikes on a Monday - 7/15/13
Our friends, Fred, and Donna and Danny, agreed to take us up to the "top" of Mill Creek Road where it intersects with Colley Creek. They took their fishing gear and our bikes. All of it and us in Danny's truck. The elevation where they dropped us off is approx 6700'. In Sept 2010, we rode part of Mill Creek, but this year we decided to ride all the way to Rock Canyon RV Park - a distance of about 35 miles. Lots of it downhill - the elevation of our RV park in Livingston is around 4600'. The new bikes handled well, esp on the gravel. We still had to dodge potholes and washboarding, and I didn't want to get up too much speed on gravel. Asphalt begins after roughly 10 miles on Mill Creek Road, and when we hit a steep downhill, we got those bikes up to 30 mph! Yeehaw! Stopping to take photos was a problem, as the summer flying insects were a terrible pest. We stopped twice to visit our fishing friends as they moved downstream and we pedaled downhill. We had a glorious run down Mill Creek Road.
Enlarging this map helps. Livingston is on the left, with I-90 running thru it. We stopped at rural Pine Creek School to fill up our empty water bottles. There's a well with a blue-handled pump in front that gushes the best thirst-quenching water I've ever tasted! We were mighty hot by then. The temp reached 91 degrees today. Map: (http://itouchmap.com/?d=781509&s=MT&f=stream)
Here we are at the top with our new Cannondale 29'ers, ready to conquer the road! Bought these fine bikes at Round House Bike Shop in Bozeman MT. After 11 years of rough use on our old Cannondales, we treated ourselves to new wheels.
The area at our start point was destroyed by wildfire in 2007, but now abounds with wildflowers. Harebells, sticky geraniums, buttercup, and many more.
Jimmy rounds the curve in the distance. Mill Creek rips alongside the road.
Buttercups with a friend.
A few miles downhill, all traces of the burn are gone. Beautiful scenery surrounds us.
Still on the gravel, here comes Jimmy.
When I spotted a skull high above the road, we stopped to see if we could fetch it. Jimmy attempted to climb straight up, which didn't work. I found a diagonal route and retrieved it where it had been jammed onto a stick. The skull is a white dot in the greenery above Jimmy's head.
A cow elk head souvenir! Brought her partially back in a pannier and then Danny took it the rest of the way.
Now on East River Road, headed north toward Livingston, we encountered all manner of domestic creatures and deer.
Because of close proximity to the Yellowstone, osprey nest platforms dot the river. This osprey chirped as I stopped to photograph it (chirp speak for go away, go away!).
Gorgeous field of yellow (dunno what). Still enough snow on yonder mountain (middle) to see the X (marks the spot).
And then, oh heck, when we got to Pine Creek, we ran into this -- literally. This is where we filled our water bottles @ Pine Creek school. With eight miles to go, we had to ride on hot, smelly, still-sticky asphalt. Didn't like this part. Altho, we had NO traffic! And we didn't have to follow the pilot car, either!