Day 18: 72 miles - I got up this morning not knowing if we were going to ride today or not. I spent all morning calling everyone I knew asking for advice concerning this wheel dilema. The general advice was either "you're screwed in Dillon if you need bike work" or "you're only real option is try to get to west yellowstone". As a last ditch effort, we rode by the local bike repair shop that I had been trying to call all morning to find out that it was closed for memorial day. With no other decent options, we decided we'd head out and I'd be as gentle on the wheel as I could. I knew the big challenge for not doing further damage would be the 2000 foot climb about 55 miles in. We slogged through the first bit, fighting a headwind most of the way before coming up on the climb. I took it really easy up the climb, spinning as smoothly as possible, and topped out without any more spoke casualties. From there we had a nice panoramic 10 mile descent into Ennis. Coming down, we saw a bunch of pronghorned antelope and some whitetail deer, but I was too slow on the draw to get any pictures.
While we were getting settled, a group of three cyclists rolled into the area where we were camping. They had started in south Texas and were heading for Alaska. I started telling one of the guys about my wheel problem, and it turned out he had a cassette tool and a few spokes that were exactly the right length that he offered. So with his huge help, I got my two broken spokes replaced and should be able to make it West Yellowstone without any trouble.
So tomorrow, 71 miles to West Yellowstone and the end of Montana.
6 years ago