Having been up to answer a call of nature earlier, I was up and awake at 6:30 and slowly began assembling my things. By 7:45 I was on the road and before long I reached the start of the climb to Big Hole Pass at about 2250 m. The climb wasn't very steep and it wasn't that long, considering I started at about 1850 m, but the strong headwind in the open terrain forced me down to single digit speeds. After the first pass, I got to descend down to the valley floor and enjoy some nice open grassland scenery with the white mountain tops all around before another longer and steeper climb presented itself. On the way I met a few cyclist heading the opposite direction and as I continued they occurred more frequently. Turns out they were traveling as a van supported group by Adventure Cycling Association.
By the time I got to Dillon I was running on fumes and in pain from some saddle sores that were starting to worsen. Feeling tired I stopped at a pizza hut to find out that they had an all-you-can-eat buffet so I sat down and dug in. I expected to feel energized after the meal but I didn't at all. I dragged myself to a supermarket across the street and got some petroleum jelly for the saddle sores and some snacks for the road. Saddle sores are caused by the constant rubbing of skin and tiny salt crystals from the sweat against the shorts, so I thought lubricating it might work.
There was a long stretch to the next town and the heat started to set in and I still didn't feel any better even with the applied jelly. It came to a point when I had a hard time just sitting down. After a lot of pedaling standing up I got to the town of Twin Bridges. Here I found out that there was cyclist only camping in the park, so I went to check it out. The park was situated by a river with showers, restrooms and a nice common area for cyclists inside a shack with electricity, couches and other commodities that cyclists may find useful. Officially it was free, but donations were highly appreciated, and who wouldn't wanna chip in to keep places like this going?
There was already a couple of tents up and immediately as I arrived I got talking with an older couple who were biking the TransAm from the Pacific to Kansas. I also talked to another fascinating guy who was going to St. Louis in Missouri in his handmade canoe that he had dug out from a tree trunk. And people say I am crazy!
Just after I got out of the shower, I got my tent up and took refuge inside it from the vicious mosquitos, I felt strong wind gusts directly on the broadside of the tent. I looked outside and saw another cyclist running back and forth securing his stuff. Huge dark thunderclouds were closing in from the southwest. With my tent being in an extremely bad spot for such weather I took it down as fast as I could, throwing everything in the stuff sack and sought shelter inside the shack with the other cyclists. My mike had been blown over by the gusts and my kickstand hada broken, but at least lose some weight. The weather had come out of the blue like someone had just opened the gates of hell, but in spite of that, it was nice to just sit inside in a couch talking with the other cyclists, sharing stories from the road.
When the storm had passed, I went out and tried my luck with the tent once again. I also wanted to check out the saddle sores and I tried to remedy a cure out of some stuff I had in the first aid kit: razor, tweezers, wound wipes and hydrocortisone cream (in that order).
Later I went out to a restaurant in town the couple had recommended and enjoyed a nice meal before nodding off in the tent.