Day 99: September 9: West Yellowstone to Ennis

I met with Matt and his girlfriend Elizabeth for breakfast. He'd traveled from Virginia, while she joined him after Kentucky. They're traveling as light as possible (as opposed to my style): they're even tearing out pages from a bike touring book as they go along to save weight. They sent their stove back home mid-trip, so they're eating cold food or eating in restaurants.
Matt and Elizabeth
This part of the trip, we're following the Adventure Cycling Trans-Am route map (my first one). These maps show route detail 25 or 30 miles per panel, and give information about camping, bike shops, etc.

We rode along the Madison River all day. The river was made into a reservoir years ago, but in the '50's a major earthquake caused a part of a mountain to fall down, killing 60 children in a camp and damming up another part of the river. The existing reservoir was tilted and ran down into the newly formed lake, which is now called Earthquake Lake. Every few miles there were signs that talked about various changes that the earthquake had brought. I stopped and read a few, including one about a woman who woke up when her house fell into the new lake.


Madison River
Along the way, we met another south-bound Trans-Am biker. I got a picture but forgot his name. These exchanges with southbound bikers are useful, because we exchange information about interesting places, road conditions, good places to camp, etc.
Another biker
About mid-day I experienced a flat tire (my first in 1000 miles or so). I couldn't find any good reason why it happened, so just patched it and rode on.
Another flat
After a while, I got another flat. After some inspection, I found that the side of my tire was separating at the bead. This had also happened to me in Death Valley, with the same brand of tire. The first time I thought that it might have had something to do with the heat of the roads, but now I believe that it's just that the Continental tires can't deal with the weight I'm putting on them. I put a piece of old bike tire inside the damaged tire to protect the tube and rode on.

This was a long day—over 70 miles. We pushed on to Ennis, a town of about 800 people. I'd hoped that there would be a bike shop so that I could buy another tire. Unfortunately, the town's only bike shop had closed some time ago. I used dental floss to sew up the tire edges, and put epoxy over the dental floss in an attempt to reinforce the stitches.

In Ennis, we stayed in an RV park, where I had my second shower in two days. This is a lot more often than I'm used to, but apparently Matt and Liz try to have showers every day.