August 20, 1996

Yellowstone Day 6 - Townsend, MT to Three Forks, MT

Distance travelled: 39 miles
Winds: Against us
Grades: Nearly all up
Weather: Little rain
Condition of roads: Poor
Actual travel time: 7h 30m
Rate per hour: 5.2 mph
- Lt. J.A. Moss Report to the Adjutant Synopsis of the Trip

About 6:30 the next morning it began sprinkling and continued until 8 o'clock. We left Townsend at 9:10 A.M., and about one mile from town struck dusty and sandy roads, with a head wind to fight against.
At Toston, a small town on the Missouri Rier, we stopped two and one-half hours for dinner. The road beyond this point was up-grade and the wheeling difficult. About 3 o'clock dark clouds began gathering above, a strong wind came up and the thunder ahead of us could be plainly heard. Wherever we looked we saw naught but bleak mountains, not a sign of civilization. To add to the dreariness of the occasion a member of the corps was taken sick, and for a while it seemed as if he would be unable to go any further. A few minutes later we gladly and deliberately rode into a shower to get out of deep dust. About 4 o'clock, we missed the main road and had to push and ride our wheels along narrow cattle paths with the greatest care, to avoid prickly pears on either side. For several miles we rolled our wheels over this desolate, alkali country with a strong wind against us. About 7:30 the wind subsided, and as the grade was nearly all down, we were able to make amends by some good riding.
While bounding along at a ten-mile rate, we ran upon a covey of chickens near the road. Halting and dismountain we formed as skirmishers and advanced on the chickens until the command was given: "Squad halt; aim; fire!" The command was executed with precision, but we had government bacon for supper, nevertheless. About 8 o'clock the moon came up and the last fifty minutes of the day's journey was by moonlight. Our hard day's work done and pretty well tired out, we encamped at Three Forks. Distance traveled, thirty-nine miles. Time of actual travelling, seven and one-half hours.

- Lt. James A. Moss, Military Cycling in the Rocky Mountains, pg. 27

Aug. 20. It began rainning [sic] about 6:30 A.M. and continued until 8. Went to a blacksmith shop and had two seat springs made. Fine example of one man's taking advantage of another man's misfortune. The blacksmith knew I had to go on and consequently had to have a spring for Forman's seat. He wanted to charge me $2 for them, but I finally jewed him down to $1.50. The springs consisted of two flat door hinges forged to about seven inches long, one inch wide and 1/6 in. thick. They were worth about 25¢ apiece. Left Townsend 9:10 A.M. 9:20 A.M. delayed 30 mins. fixing puncture. Reached Toston 11:40. Road from Townsend very dusty and sandy. Had a head wind to contend against nearly whole way. Stopped at Toston until 2 P.M. for dinner. About 3 P.M. delayed 30 mins. to pump wheel and fix puncture. Began to rain all around us. We deliberately and gladly rode into a shower to get out of deep dust. About 3:30 P.M. missed main road and had to ride along cattle paths with the greatest care to avoid prickly pears on either side. Sgt. Green taken sick with pain in chest and fever. Very strong wind whole afternoon--very hard work. Hard luck whole day--sand, wind and dust in abundance. At 5 P.M. delayed 30 mins. to fix bursted tire. 7 P.M. delayed 20 mins. fixing pedal crank. About this time wind subsided. At 7:30 good down grade and made fine time until we reached Three Forks at 8:50, where we camped for the night. About 8 o'clock the moon came and the last 50 minutes of our trip was by moon-light. We walked nearly the whole day. Roads very sandy and hilly. A few miles on other side of Three Forks formed the soldiers as skirmishers and had them fire at a covey of chickens. As far as we know the chickens are all still living. Distance travelled 39 miles: time of actual travelling 7 1/2 hours.
- Report from Lt. Moss to Adjutant General, Oct. 10, 1896 [National Archives, R.G. 94 Box 346 46363-46575]

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