Day 19 – Cranes

7.10.2012
Start: Cottonwood Lakes
Finish: Reservoir Lake
Today’s miles: 46.6
Total miles: 553.2
Splats: 0
Divide crossings: 0
Wildlife: Sandhill Crane, moose

Another 6:30 start! Still taking me an hour to break camp though. As I rode this morning, I remembered that I had not forgotten to buy lunch for this stretch; I had purposefully not bought lunch because there would be a place to get lunch in Ovando, a tiny place with population around 70 according to my map.

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I made good progress his morning despite the fact that I had to stop almost every quarter mile to get off the seat for a few seconds. As I neared Ovando, I heard a rustling to my right and was surprised to see a crane doing a dance! I stopped, but quickly questioned whether it was doing a dance or putting on a threatening display. I definitely felt threatened, and I debated whether having my eyes pecked out was worth the risk of trying to get a picture. As you can see, I went for the picture. It continued its ritual, and every so often advanced toward me. As I was about to leave I heard a loud noise me. There was another one somewhere behind me and they were coordinating heir attack! I hopped on the uni and rode off. I never did see the second one, but they continued to call back and forth as they followed/chased me for 100 yds before flying away. Really, I couldn’t tell if they were chasing me or if they were fleeing from me in the same direction. They basically stayed right next to me and matched my speed. It was pretty awesome and terrifying.

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Soon after, a man from Missoula stopped on the side of the road to do some work. We got to talking and I asked him about the cranes, which he identified as Sandhill Cranes. I didn’t ask if they ever attack people, but did ask if there was a good place to eat in Ovando. He recommended The Stray Bullet and I headed that direction.

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When I pulled into Ovando, I chatted with some friendly folks at the general store where I also enjoyed a cold drink before crossing the street to The Stray Bullet. I sat down to order lunch and discovered that my lunch would be on Denny, the man I asked about the cranes. Thank you Denny, lunch was great! It seemed that all the folk in the restaurant and who came by while I was there wanted to know about the unicycle and the ride. I think it was the most attention I’ve drawn yet!

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Fueled up from my tasty turkey sandwich and coffee, I headed out of town. Everyone was so nice there; I kind of wanted to stay the night. The riding in the afternoon was rather enjoyable today. It’s amazing what a good meal and friendly people can do to pump up both my mood and my legs! The scenery was amazing and though the sun was intense, temps were nice compared to the previous days. Lots of rolling hills and open land with big mountains in the distance. Mountains I eventually ascended into for the night.

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For the second night in a row I’m camped on a pond. Soon after retreating to my tent this evening, I heard some splashing in the water. After some thought, I braved the Mosquitos and went to investigate. I’m glad I did because right in the middle of the pond was a moose’s head sticking up out of the water! Also, not 5 minutes ago, I heard footsteps just outside the tent. I looked out to see a deer looking back. She better not chew on the uni tonight.

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Tomorrow I have 10 downhill miles into Lincoln where I’ll resupply for another 2 days to get to Helena. Oh! The deer is back! I tried to take a picture, but scared it. Maybe she’ll be back. I can hear her tramping around out there. Anyway, I’m tempted to just resupply and push on, but I could use a shower pretty badly. I had also been looking forward to taking a ‘zero’ (rest day) in Lincoln, but seeing how early I’ll get into town, I’ll likely take a ‘nearo’ and just spend one night. There’s a good chance I’ll have to overnight in Helena as well; my brake has not been working and my knees are begging me to find a bike shop.

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