March 27, 2009

Day 3 - Lake Macdonald to Arlee, MT

At about 1 o'clock A.M a strong wind came up and the rain soon began to fall, continuing almost incessantly until ____ when the weather began gradually to clear away. We broke camp , however, at 8:30 A.M., leaving in the heavy rain, and on account of mud, rocks and the grade were compelled to roll our wheels the first two miles. We then reached a down grade road and for several miles made good time in spite of the mud.
At the foot of the grade we struck a section of hammock earth and in less time than it takes to tell it our wheels were clogged with this gummy mud. We were delayed fully thirty minutes on the side of a ditch cleaning our bicycles in a drizzling rain. Over hilly, muddy roads, with the rain and wind in our faces we again started for Ravilli. By this time we were drenched to the skin, our wheels were covered with mud and our shoes filled with water. Whenever we came to a down grade we would ride, but on account of the wet and muddy condition of our shoes, the pedals and the grades, the riding was difficult and exciting.
Once in a while the doleful monotony of the march was broken by our reaching an Indian cabin, when the dogs would announce our arrival with their bark.
At 11 o'clock, A.M., we reached Mission Creek, twelve miles from the lake, and forded the stream in three feet of swift water. After crossing, we found twelve tires were loose, the cement having been washed out. of course, it was now out of the question to ride the wheels, and we were forced to roll them every foot of the way to Ravalli, six miles. Here they were cleaned, oiled, and the loose tires cemented.
At 6 o'clock P.M., we left Ravalli, and rode a little over a mile on the wagon road, when we took the railroad track to avoid mud and water. new ties had just been laid, and the spaces between them had not yet been filled. In some instances old ties had been taken up and had not been replaced by new ones. It was impossible to ride, except in a very few places, and rolling our machines along such a track was tiresome work. We finally left the track and walked and rode almost two miles in a hay field, when we were again compelled to take the track on account of mud and water. Drenched, hungry and tired with our blankets and shelter tents wet, we reached Arlee at 8:45 and slept in an old cabin that night, traveling a distance during the day of 31 miles.

- Lt. James A. Moss, Military Cycling in the Rocky Mountains, pg. 18-19

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