Dillon to Wisdom, Montana. (69 mi.) Mile 3280Double passing and a Wise choiceWe've crossed the Continental Divide eight times now, and for all of this, are back on the east side. Today, we puffed over two passes, or 3,000 ft of climbing in the first 30 miles. We passed a string of cyclists going the other way, part of 200 in Adventure Cycling's Bike Montana event, traveling with support vehicles providing food and portable showers. We stopped and talked to a couple in this group, who had been checking us out to see if we were the real thing or, as they said, genuine, self-
supported, coast to coast riders. We were proud to say yes. They said they were checking to see if we looked too clean to be campers, and had to laugh about our mutual experiences using convenience store restrooms when roughing it. This involves buying a soft drink to legitimize use of the restroom, hoping no one notices the towel over your shoulder, then contorting yourself under the sink faucet to clean up.The Beaverhead ValleyOur main goal today was putting in the miles with a few stops to eat. We leapfrogged with Jen, shared a lunch with her in the tiny town of Jackson, then dinner at our destination of Wisdom (population = 160). Wisdom was named for Thomas Jefferson's wisdom in making the Louisiana Purchase. We've come a long way from Jefferson's Monticello to the country he explored vicariously through Lewis and Clark.We stopped for water and a snack before climbing two challenging passes.At the top of Big Hole Pass, looking into the Big Hole ValleyThe Big Hole Valley: Big Sky and big scenery, riding toward the Bitterroot Range and Wisdom.Purple sage and other wildflowers line our route.The campground here is a weed patch of a park with outhouses on the outskirts of town, so we decided to splurge for a motel that allowed Jen to set up her tent on the lawn and use our facilities to clean up. Tomorrow, another pass to climb, then downhill again as we stair step gradually toward sea level.