Tuesday - July 9th
Spearfish probably sounds familiar to most cycling junkies because it's where the headquarters is located for Quarq, a company that makes the most reliable and economical crank-based power meter out there for cycling. After a hearty pancake breakfast at the Millstone Diner we made a short visit to Quarq to see if we could take a tour of the facilities. Unfortunately, renovations kept us from seeing anything, but everyone we met was super nice and we walked out with water bottles, t-shirts quickly converted into sleeveless shirts in the parking lot, and some SRAM trucker hats. The morning couldn't have started off any better but the real treat was still to come.
I was hoping we'd put the brakes on a little after a very long first day of travel, albeit amazing due to it's massive upswing in adventure at the tail-end of the haul. It's hard to get six guys on the same page all the time, but we were in for what would be another long travel day through Wyoming, up to Montana, and back into Wyoming as we made an effort to get to Yellowstone National Park via the North entrance through Beartooth Pass where we reached our highest elevation at 11,000 ft. in the Custer National Forest. Along the drive we stopped off at one of the most popular destinations for mountain climbers in the country, Devil's Tower. Like Mt. Rushmore, Devil's Tower was a site that you can see in pictures everywhere, but until you see it in person you don't know what you are missing. We found the time to rock scramble near the base, observe some brave climbers, and take some really inappropriate pictures before moving on.
You can take Justin, Chris, Shane, and Kevin out of the South, but you can't take the South out of them. Before we reached our destination and what would become a night none of us will soon forget, the Southerners were keen on stopping in Billings, MT at a Cabella's. If you're unfamiliar with this gem of a retail store, it's essentially a Wal-Mart for everything outdoors. I'm for the most part from North Carolina but I have never considered myself a Southerner along with Sam, the Australian guest riding with us, being the furthest South out of us all with little relationship to what the stereotypical person from The South lives for. After some pro-longed gun appreciation by the Southerners on the team gears started turning in our heads about camping out in the wilderness. We were all too frugal, or rather too cowboy to take the traditional camping approach - so we picked up a few mattress pads, sleeping bags, trail-mix, and some bear-spray and we felt like we had everything we needed to survive.