15 June 1997

Day 2 - Cottonwood, MT to Avon, MT

Distance travelled: 58 miles
Winds: Forenoon back; Afternoon head
Grades: Up and down
Weather: Same [rainy]
Condition of roads: bad
Delays: Bicycles – 15m/ Tires – 12m/ Lunch –2h 40m/Other – 1h 25m
Actual travel time: 10h 18m
Rate per hour: 5.6 mph
- Lt. J.A. Moss Report to the Adjutant Synopsis of the Trip

Places & times mentioned: Cottonwood 5:30; Ovando; Blackfoot river; Nevada valley; Helmville; Ophir (cave); Avon MT 8:15 PM

“Early the next morning the corps was on the road again. The atmosphere was damp, raw and penetrating, the fog being so heavy that we could not see 100 yards ahead. Ovando, eleven miles away, was reached at 7:30, and five hours later the command stopped three hours for lunch. At 3 o’clock we started out at a lively gait, in order to reach Avon, twenty-five miles to the southeast, before a prospective rain should overtake us. The country between where we stopped and Avon was a series of gumbo hills. On account of grades and badly cut up roads, we were compelled to walk a great part of the way. Soon after passing Washington Gulch we were caught in a shower, and at 8:30 p.m., about ten minutes after reaching Avon, it began to rain in torrents.
- Lt. Moss, Los Angeles Times The Army A-Wheel, Nov. 7, 1897

“Our first night in camp was a very cool one. At 4 o’clock in the morning reveille was sounded and all was activity in the camp. Roll call was disposed of and breakfast was served at 5 o’clock. Our wheels were packed and our second day’s start began. A heavy fog had settled down and the machines were wet from condensation. We had fair time and were soon in another mountain valley dotted with numerous lakes on which many ducks were resting. The corps moved along in good form, and good roads were before us. We were soon at Ovando and had a few minutes rest. The sun was shining bright, the wheels with their heavy, half water soaked packs, running perfectly, but the roads were getting rougher and slower time was made. After crossing a long table land we gradually descended to the Blackfoot river again, which we now crossed for the last time. Our course lay up the long hill with a a head wind confronting us. It was a long walk to the top. Our down hill road now led us into the Nevada valley and in a few minutes we were at Helmville and drew ourselves together for a short rest. The wind increased in velocity and together with a very bad and long hill, after leaving Helmville, we were completely tired out when we reached a point five miles from the later place where we camped for our lunch. The men were completely tired out from the hard work of the first half of the day and lay around in the shady places and slept. Suddenly the wind, which had been dead against us all day turned with increased fury at our backs.
We were soon under way, riding along finely until we reached a point in the road where the rocks were very thick, and riding was impossible. We pushed our way over this section and were soon on good roads again, with a good wind in our favor. We made good time on to Washington gulch, when the sky clouded and sprinkles of rain fell, but we had to push on, our way being up a long hill and over rough roads. We forced on, walking at a very good rate, running a race with the approaching storm. We trudged on to the top only to find our road leading on up another hill, and so on, for a couple of hours. When the final top was reached we were met with roads which, although down hill, were utterly unridable, and walking was our fate. We walked on and on, climbed a few hills and then started down the last hill for Avon, which we reached, after crossing a “gumbo” flat, about 8 o’clock. This last flat was something terrible and tired us more than our entire walking. We passed a few wagons stuck in the stuff, clear to the hubs. We reached Avon just as the storm broke and went into camp. At this point we drew rations. Supper was served at 10 o’clock and we retired. Our mileage for this, our second day out was 58 miles, a third of which was made on foot. So far our wheels have stood the ride remarkably well, not showing the slightest defect in spite of the unfavorable conditions.”
- E.H. Boos Daily Missoulian Are Wheeling South[Missoula, MT] July 3, 1897

CROSS BLACKFOOT—TWENTY-FIFTH INFANTRY BICYCLE CORPS DO NOT FOLLOW HELLGATE ROUTE—Are Seen at Ovando by an Eastern Cycler from St. Paul—Corps at Avon Today—The 25th U.S. Infantry Bicycle corps enroute to St. Louis, under command of Lieut. J.A. Moss have been heard from. E. R. Kiliburn of Ovando came to town last night says he met them a few miles this side of Ovando at 5 o’clock yesterday morning. “Boos” the official reporter was in the lead fully a half mile and the rear was made up by Lieutenant Moss. The corps was in single file and scattered along the road a mile or more. All of the men looked fresh and were jogging along at good speed. The sight was a pleasing one and unexpected to the residents of that country who thought the corps would follow the Hellgate river from Bonner to Garrison and then to Avon, the first supply station…
Between Missoula and Avon the corps passed through Potomac, Ovando, Helmsville and Ophir; at the latter place there is a cave* of considerable interest that was discovered by Geo. E. Boos and others. The corps are at Avon today and will proceed to Helena across the main range of the Rocky Mountains by the way of Elliston, Ontario and Rimini or else via Elliston, Blossburg, Bald Butte and Marysville; more likely the latter route.
Avon, Mont, June 16—The Twenty fifth Infantry Bcycle corps under command of Lieutenant Moss arrived here last evening at 8:15 o’clock and went into camp. As this was a supply station in the line of march was not taken up until 10 o’clock this morning, fresh rations being taken on and other matters attended to. The men are all fresh and vigorous and in good spirits. ”
- E. H. Boos, Daily Missoulian Cross Blackfoot, June 16, 1897


Mike Higgins said...

Coordinates of historical Clearwater Post Office - N 47.00021 and W -113.37674

Mike Higgins said...

* "If you like cave exploration, try this one. The cache is close to a natural cave. Take a light with you if you’re going to explore the cave. Only experienced cave explorers or people under the guidance of an experienced cave explorer with the proper equipment (safety ropes, hard hats, and harnesses) should go beyond the first chamber of the cave. It is wet and damp inside. The walk from the parking area (N46 deg 42.652 min, W112 deg 29.756 min) to the cache is about 0.3 mi. up the ridge or 0.4 mi. if you follow the trail. The cache is at an elevation of 6500?." http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=e2f8927e-7705- 469d-9b1a-ce46ab5c9831