Elevation: 5,936 ft.
Distance: 86.3 mi.
Odometer: 1,793.0 mi.
First few miles getting out of town were decently hilly and saw a lot of antelope. Had been warned I'd see a lot of antelope and deer today, so I figured this was just the beginning, but I didn't see many more after the first few miles.
Fossil Butte National Monument was right off the road early in the day and I figured it'd be worth the trip. Got there at 7:30 AM and the visitor's center, where all the fossils are, didn't open until 8:00 AM. Decided I'd hike a trail while I waited. The trail was 2.5 miles away and involved a hill that put me in my granny gear for only the third time this summer. Of those three times, two were on detours I took for fun.
It was a relatively short trail up and back down the side of a mountain. I was thinking I'd jog the trail until I saw a sign that said mountain lions are common there and running alone makes you look like prey. I went back and got my pepper spray, then walked the trail instead. I was still kind of hoping to see a mountain lion from a distance. Seeing a large predator in the wild would be a thrill!
Coasted back down the big hill to the visitor's center, hitting 45 mph in the process, my fastest speed of the summer. I've hit 60 mph on Invictus before though, so I'm still not satisfied. Some cool fossils at the visitor's center, including a full-size prehistoric alligator (the area used to be a lake). All in all, stopping at Fossil Butte took about an hour and a half out of my day. Were some fossils and the side of a mountain worth it? I dunno. It was free.
After Fossil Butte, most of the day was flat, slightly downhill, and windless. A lot like yesterday, actually. Right at the Idaho border, wind, hills, and rain picked up. The rain was barely ever more than a sprinkle. About eight miles later, the rain stopped just as I got around the hills and it turned into a nice day.
Montpelier is a predominantly Mormon town, so I went to an LDS church and asked about staying the night, and they wound up putting me up in a hotel! For all the "Mormons are crazy" stuff you hear, from my experience, they're pretty normal and exceptionally generous. Big thanks to the folks at the LDS church in Montpelier, ID.
Called my brother. Apparently, I was in the Pocatello newspaper today. I haven't even gotten there yet! Wonder if they're planning on running another story when I arrive.
from Pedal for Potatoes