I had a short day today, giving me a chance to rest my legs before the ride to Missoula tomorrow. It was freezing this morning, and I rode through a couple of short snow storms in the first 20 miles or so. Although the visibility was really poor, I could see the skeletons of old mining equiptment lining the road out of Butte. As the local copper supply was depleted, the towns economy and prosperity dwindled with it, and the abandoned machinary serves as a reminder of more prosperous days – all in all it made for a fairly depressing ride out of town. Shorty after leaving butte I passed the Washoe Smelter – the worlds largest copper smelter, it’s 585ft tall chimney can be seen for miles, dominating the valley.
Shortly before I reached ‘Deer Lodge’ my target for the day I came across another cyclist going the other way. We both crossed over into the middle of the interstate, and had the manditory chat. It was a bit surreal, standing in the freezing cold, with traffic whizzing by either side of us. His name was Wes, and he was cycling the four corners of America – having started in New York, he cycled down to Florida, across the southern US, and then up to Seattle. He is now on the last leg of his journey, going back across the Northern US to New York. It was awesome to talk to another cyclist, as I haven’t seen too many so far this trip – he has just covered the ground I am hoping to tackle over the next few days, and vice versa so we were able to swap notes. I had finished today by 10.00 and spent the rest of the day relaxing, and enjoying the fact that I was inside and warm rather than facing the intermittent flurrys of snow.
Tomorrow I have an 80 mile cycle to Missoula where I am planning on taking a full day off – I’d have liked to have gone further today, but there’s not much between here and there.