Day 2, Seeley Lake MT to Whitehall, MT
The morning started out as a crisp foggy morning, quickly clearing up as the sun rose with brisk temperatures in the 40's. We quickly hit the dirt and came across a tree trimming operation. This consists of an excavator type machine, but instead of the usual bucket shovel at the end it has a tree trimming attachment. The first one I passed was no big deal, as I just beeped my horn so he could stop for a moment while I rode by. The second one I passed was much scarier, not because of any close call, but because of what I saw. I passed in the same manor, beeping my horn so the operator could pause while I rode by, but this time I saw the other side of the trimming attachment (which meant no guards). To sum it up, I saw a bunch of high speed spinning blades about 15 feet away at head level. Whew. Anyhow, back on the road....
Flying through these dirt roads in the dense forest on a sunny but cool and crisp morning was truly beautiful and amazing. Tons of small squirrels kept darting across the road, reminding us of all the life in the woods surrounding us. We came across this cool small lake.
I started to experiment with self portraits while riding.
Kozy Korner...what a great name.
The terrain opened up for a bit....
We stopped for brunch in Lincoln Montana, which is where Theodore Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber, used to live.
Jumping back into the mountains.
There are a lot of these small cabins, decaying slowly in the woods.
The road then followed a nice small creek through the hills.
We then came across Empire Mill, or at least what still remains.
This old mill used to crush ore in one of the mining operations in the area. Judging by the size of some of the tumblers, the boiler, and especially the stone walls still intact, this was pretty large.
A bit mangled.
I claim this.
I lost track of how many times we came across cows, and cattle guards.
A nice open meadow.
Another Great Divide mountain biker, one of three in this group.
Just north of Rimini MT, our GPS route led us into this closed road. Seems ok for the mountain bikers to use but we didn't want to risk it.
So we backtracked a few miles into Rimini and talked with a local who was doing some work in his small auto body shop. A very nice person, he was a local to the region and gave us some directions to get around the gate. Part of the mix up was that just south of the area is a superfund site for a mine cleanup project. The local was telling us that in Rimini the government had to clean up 4-6 feet of dirt across the whole town due to mining contamination. A stagecoach used to pass through this area and it was one of the wealthiest areas too, thanks to mining. I also liked his comment about how all the crazy and disturbed people that live in the middle of nowhere Montana are always the ones who aren't from Montana.
We found our way around and went over this earth dam.
Here is the sign from the Basin Creek Mine Superfund Closure.
Butte Montana, once called The Richest Hill on Earth. There is some pretty good history here, all tied back to mining.
One of the main roads through Butte, Harrison Ave, turned out to be the most annoying place I've ever been to. While gassing up and resting, I saw countless motorcycles and open pipe pick up trucks going wide open up and down the road, over and over. One douche bag was even making multiple passes towing his speed boat around. This must mean two things...people are very bored here, and there must be a lot of idiots here too.
Trying to keep the chains in check, a restock of chain lube as well as engine oil was needed so we picked up some supplies at Two Wheelz in Butte. Mostly a dirt shop, the staff was friendly and they had a good stash of vintage dirt bikes on hand to look at. We then tried briefly to find a reasonable motel in Butte but everything was too pricey. Our plan was to continue south and grab the first camp site or cheap motel we found, though we knew finding a motel would be rare since we were headed into the mountains again. It was already 6pm too. The GPS did show one place called the Iron Wheel Guest Ranch in Whitehall Mt, which was only 10 miles or so off the route, so we decided to take a chance.
It turned out to be a great B&B. The owners were really nice and had a dinner option as well. Most of the other guests were there for horse riding and fishing. The husband of the owner couple is a big time hunter and takes people out for guided hunts, and is also a taxidermist. His shop had more skins then I had ever seen anywhere. Here is a bear he was working on for a client.
Name this animal?
I also forgot to add that they have bunnies EVERYWHERE. Turns out they got a few bunnies years ago for their kids, and well, the bunnies did what they knew best. A few get killed every now and then by natural predators, but for the most part there are always 10-20 visible bunnies hopping around the yard at any given time.