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Around the World with Blue Stocking
Helping in Helena

While I was re-grouping (dealing with a mean cough from a cold) in Lincoln I got a text from a friend who had left with the Tour. She had fallen on the way down from Fleischer Pass, had been taken to a hospital in Helena, and been discharged to a motel. She needed a little help and support and could I provide it. That made my decision about which point of the compass to steer to. It was a fairly hard ride to Helena because I now am carrying most of my gear on the bike and it isn't yet very well distributed. And the pass was not a trivial challenge, especially with the cold. But I made it and I was able to help my friend get organized. I will be taking some of her gear by bike to UPS to be shipped home this am while she flies to a retreat in California. Also I will get a front rack and some front panniers to balance my load a bit better. The heaviest thing I am carrying is this old laptop. Maybe I'll spring for a little netbook next time I pass a Best Buy.

I am on the verge of committing to a major bicycling trek--heading south as far as my not-so-little legs will take me. For the moment I will head to West Yellowstone where I have some mail waiting (including blood pressure pills) and then probably head on a pleasant route toward Denver.

06/27/2012, outside Helena

These two guys were selling lemonade at the top of a little (but tough) pass on the way into Helena. I was happy to invest a buck in a solid 10 oz. of lemonade. But all I had was a $20. The guy on the left, Justin, said "That's all right, you're a biker, you're tired, you can have it for free." The three of us had a great chat about their lives on their families' ranches and their animals and chores. I dug into my pack to give them a couple of granola bars as a gift in return for theirs. So far they had sold one other cup of what was truly excellent lemonade!

Thanks guys, and I'm sorry I spaced your name, big guy.

Change in Plans
06/26/2012, Lincoln, MT

I decided the pace of the supported tour was too fast for me--no time to smell the roses. The Tour had a volunteer or two too many, so the leader had no objection to my splitting off to ride unsupported.

I'm heading to Helena, MT tomorrow--50 miles, which is more the pace I feel comfortable with than the 85 to 105 we've been doing--and I think that will be a good place to regroup. I will have to go over my gear and make sure I am set up as well as possible for unsupported riding. I will carry more than I have been the last week on the bike, but not as much as a fully loaded bike tourer. I'm planning to use to find places to stay along the way as I did in my practice ride in Massachusetts. My current plan is to follow the same basic route as the Tour, which by the way will be laid out for me with fresh yellow arrows on the pavement.

I might end up getting back to Cape Cod later than planned but I think the experience will be more what I am after. I wasn't learning anything about bicycle touring by riding with roadies on a supported tour. There was also way too much food available and I actually think I was gaining weight. One of my goals for this summer is to slim down as far as reasonably possible and see what effect that has on my general health. Having to buy and carry my own food will no doubt have a limiting effect on the caloric intake!

Right now I've got a miserable cough from a cold--lots of trouble sleeping last night--but colds pass.

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Who: Paul
Port: Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA
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