After posting yesterday I discovered that Kent had left another message on my cell phone after leaving Butte (between acquainting myself with the phone's idiosyncrasies and working weird hours, I don't always get to these things in timely fashion). He had mentioned having his bike cleaned up at the Outdoorsman, but especially asked me to convey his thanks to shop owner Rob Leipheimer for the wonderful welcome he received. They ran out to greet him as he was passing by, and fed him grapes (probably the first non-junk food he has eaten on this whole trip, thank you Rob!) and gave him a free water bottle as well as taking care of his bike. Many other riders who have stopped there have also received wonderful support from the folks at the Outdoorsman and their support for the racers of the Tour Divide is greatly appreciated by Kent (and I'm sure, by others as well).
Kent also said that the reporter waiting at the edge of town to interview him was just "super nice." One of the best things about the trip, he said, is the wonderful people you get to meet. He is able to read the blog and the comments from his Peek and is very grateful for everyone's words of encouragement and support as you cheer him on. We are also both deeply grateful for the financial support that continues to come in for Team Turtle even as Kent makes his way south.
Calling in from Wise River this morning, he had spent a "lovely night" sleeping under a sky full of stars, after climbing Fleecer Ridge and setting what he called "a record for the slowest descent ever" through the rocks and sagebrush. He also finds himself a tad reluctant to be getting up out of the warmth and comfort of his bivy and sleeping bag in the morning. It has been cold! He deflates his Thermarest to give himself a motivational boost.
Then, it's time to go and get his bag of food from where he hung it up in a tree some distance away from his camp -- a necessary part of being "Bear Aware" while riding through grizzly country. After all, it would be really bad news to run into a bear hyped up on those chocolate covered espresso beans!
The other precautions involve the bear bell that Mark mentioned, and singing "very loudly and very badly." I have heard the demo, and fond as I am of hearing my husband's voice, I have to admit that any wild creature hearing this "singing" probably would hasten quickly, not slowly, in the opposite direction.
Kent has continued to take "lots of pictures" and will be sending more of them to Mark soon. He is loving the blue sky and puffy white clouds and is "having the best time" as he presses on to Lima.