I awoke fairly early and headed back to the restaurant to get some breakfast and get back online. I let Paul sleep and figured we'd go back to setup the tent. After maybe a half an hour, here comes Paul in the door. However, he had broken down the tent and gotten everything out of the campsite and headed, as I had not expected him to do. Good guy, and we were out early enough that there was no one to pay… freebie. Nice.
I had finished mine and Paul got exactly what I did, as we often do. After my hour plus of internet, I was satiated. We headed about 30 miles down the road to our next city, Wilsall.
Wilsall consisted of one diner next to a general store. We went to the diner and got some food. We stuck out like sore thumbs, and we talked to nearly the whole restaurant about our trip. They ate it up. Very nice folks in Montana.
We had asked some people about Ringling, which was a small town ahead of us and they assured as that there was at least a bar there. It was 20 miles, but another 20 to White Sulphur Springs to a city that would definitely have some services if you will.
When we arrived in Ringling, we were slightly surprised to see that the bar was shutdown. The post office was only open on very select hours, and these were the only two non residential buildings. As we were looking around for water, a man called from a home in the distance, "You guys need some water?" "Hell Yes!".
He took us into his house where he gave us some sulfury water which wasn't so hot. He was a very nice guy, and told us some of the history of Ringling. The city currently has a population of 14. There were 3 kids in the school, which had to be shutdown because there were too few. The bar made no money of course, same idea. He was still there with his two golden retrievers. He recorded some music for Angel Records, and had some guitars and the internet to occupy him. He had lived in Miami before, and decided to switch it up a bit when he moved out here. Great guy, and it's interesting the settings in which you can meet the most normal people. To each his own.
After we headed out of Ringling, we pedaled hard and made good time to White Sulphur Springs for some dinner. We went to this Irish tavern suggested to us by the man in Ringling. We relaxed for a while watching the All Star game (damn Cliff Lee is good) and feasting on everything in sight. Again the people were great… good advice from Ringling.
Once we were done with our meals and desserts, we wanted to make it part of the way up our climb to Kings Hill Pass the following day which was 7393′, again our highest remaining elevation. We took off with plenty of sunlight left as the sun went down almost at 10:00 up here. The ride wasn't too challenging, and before we knew it, we covered another 20 miles and had located the campground we were looking for to make it an easy ride the following morning.
It was a national forest campground set back off the road. This had to be bear laden country, and we did our best to prepare for it. We hadn't had the authentic camping experience yet building our own fire and we figured that night was the right night, as it started getting rather chilly as the sun descended.
We happened upon a nice stash from some previous campers as we were scavenging for wood… jackpot. We were all set. We got the fire roaring up nicely for a while , and just as we started putting it out and decided to go to bed it had started raining. With the rain cover already on, we were in good shape and it was time for bed anyway.
We had accomplished what we needed for the day, and put ourselves in good position to make it to Great Falls in time to get Mark's bike and relax for the rest of the day. Once we crossed the pass we would be dropping 4,000′ in elevation to Great Falls, piece of cake.
Warmed from the fire, and excited for Mark's arrival we went to bed.
Life was good