DAY 1 - Bring the Heat
artist rendering of mobile cosmodrome control module
Cosmonauts Gary, Mark & Bob docked at the Willow Creek Launch Facility at 1301 hours on Friday, Sept 2. Bike loading preparations began immediately in 32 degree prairie heat. After 6 hands performed bungee cord adjustments on Gary's load, we set off on the first 65 kms leg. The landscape began to rise and fall as the wide Flying E gravel road pointed mostly west.
Over the pass at Hailstone Butte, the road swept down. High speeds on all types and sizes of gravel were the order of the day. We stopped at Cataract Creek to filter water and drink mightily. Many have quenched their thirst here in the hopes of combatting the development of cloudy eyes. We pressed on to a logging road closed to traffic. The road began as double track smoothness and slowly disintegrated into bovine madness. The cosmonauts crossed deep creek cuts and navigated single track chewed to hell by cattle. The herd felt they were being herded and kept up a fear-filled 2 mile lope. Poor trail quality, fresh cow shit and dumb cattle became tedious and annoying.
DAY 3 - Through the GAP to flatness
DAY 4 - Over the Porcupine Spine
Waking up after a breezy night on the banks of the Oldman River at Maycroft, the party set a 0900 hrs launch goal. I ate a heroically named Cuban Coconut Beef with Rice (a dinner for breakfast -see Day 2). Mark and Gary enjoyed their more traditional oatmeal repasts.
The cosmonauts crossed the highway and headed east and north to the West Sharples Road. The spectacular views of mountains to the west and the Porcupine Hills to the east was a highlight of the trip. The lighter bags and the anticipation of the steep climb over the Porcupines lifted the spirits of the riders.