September 1, 1996

Day 18 - Ft. Yellowstone to outside Livingston, MT

On the morning of September 1 we started out, hoping to reach Bozeman, some 75 miles away, that evening. At 11:50 A.M., a point 37 1/2 miles from the fort was reached and we stopped until 1:15 for lunch. From this time on we had more or less of a head wind during the entire afternoon. About 2 o'clock a very novel race occurred. For several miles a shower was following us right at our heels, while we were "pumping" away to keep ahead of it. At times a part of the shower would catch us, but we managed to stay ahead of the main body in spite of our heavy loads. At 3 o'clock we left the Yellowstone Valley and began wheeling up the Gallatin Mountains. About forty-five minutes later we had covered 54 miles when another heavy shower caught us in a section of hammock earth. For four miles we rolled our wheels through this gummy, sticky, substance, stopping every few minutes to scrape the mud off the tires with our meat knives. At times the roads were so bad that we were compelled to walk along benches on the side of the mountain or plod along on the roadside in wet weeds up to our waists. Wet and cold, with heads bowed, we were silently pushing our wheels along in mud and water up to our ankles, in the cold, drizzling rain. All the poetry of military cycling had vanished. Although the clouds obstructed all sunshine the sunny nature of these colored soldiers found an outlet in such expressions as: "Dere was no bicycles one hundred years ago; Oh, how I wish I lived one hundred years ago." "A mule! A mule! My kingdom for a mule."
At 7 P.M., hungry, tired, cold, wet and muddy, we stopped at a ranch 58 miles from Fort Yellowstone and gladly accepted the ranchman's offer to sleep in an old shack, occupied by a laborer, the walls of which literally reeked with filth. Even in such a place, however, there was much comfort in listening to the pattering rain outside."
- Lt. James A. Moss, Military Cycling in the Rocky Mountains, pg. 38-39

"Sept. 1. Left Fort Yellowstone 5:30 A.M. Road soon after leaving Post too steep and dusty to ride down--had to roll our wheels. Rest of road as far as Yankee Jim's was good. Stopped 15 mins. at Yankee Jim's place. At 7:25 took R.R. track to avoid steep grades in canyon. Kept track 40 mins. Track too rough--spaces between ties--took wagon road again 8:10. Road very dusty. Grades so steep, compelled to take track again. At 11:50 stopped 1 1/2 miles from Fridley for lunch. Started again 1:15 P.M. Soon after passing Fridley a pretty strong headwind came up, and lasted about two hours. Delayed from 1:45 to 2:15 fixing Corpl. Williams pedal. Had a race with a shower. Began rainning [sic] and blowing 3:45. Gumbo earth in abundance--had to take off chains. About 5:15 stopped 45 minutes to clean wheels--everything covered with gumbo mud.
About 6:30 P.M. stopped 15 mins. at ranch. Had to walk on slippery benches on mountain sides above road--also in wet weeds up to our waists, so bad was the gumbo mud. At times would carry our wheels a few steps and then stop for second wind--very hard work. Used meat knives very freely to scrape mud off our wheels. Drenched to skin--covered with mud--wind and rain in our faces. At 7 P.M. reached a ranch where we stopped for the night. Got fresh milk and eggs from ranchman. Slept in an old shack whose walls reaked [sic] with filth--everything outside wet and muddy--still raining. Everyone pretty well tired out. Distance travelled during day 56 miles; time of actual travelling 10: 1/3 hours."
- Report from Lt. Moss to Adjutant General, Oct. 10, 1896 [National Archives, R.G. 94 Box 346 46363-46575]

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