20 June 1997

Day 7 - Recap, MT to Chestnut, MT

Distance travelled: 60 miles
Winds: none
Grades: Mostly up
Weather: fair
Condition of roads: fair
Delays: Bicycles – 0/ Tires – 0/ Lunch –2h / Other – 2h 10m
Actual travel time: 8h 50m
Rate per hour: 6.8 mph
- Lt. J.A. Moss Report to the Adjutant Synopsis of the Trip

Places & times mentioned: NP construction camp of Recap [6:30 am] ; Gallatin; Logan; Manhattan; Central Park [lunch]; Belgrade; Bozeman [5:45 pm]; old Fort Ellis; Rocky Canyon;
Chestnut [east of Bozeman] MT


“Early the following morning we broke camp, and, on account of a high bluff on one side and the Gallatin River* on the other, were compelled to follow the railroad track for five miles. New crossties had just been put in, and the spaces between them had not yet been filled. On either side of the track earth, rocks and old crossties were piled up, thus confining us to a kind of groove. Our wheels were so heavily loaded that we could not well carry them, and the constant jar resulting from rolling our bicycles over this torn-up track caused cramps in the hands and pains in the arms and shoulders. This part of the journey was extremely slow and tiresome.
What natural-born “cheerful liars” some men are was well illustrated by an incident that happened soon after we left camp. A clever-looking and apparently truthful fellow informed us that when we reached Gallatin, four miles away, we would find as good a road as any one could wish for. Upon reaching Gallatin, however, we found that the road referred to consisted of a blind trail, which led us through an old marshy field filled with myriads of vicious mosquitoes, and thence into the foothills beyond. Following this trail for hours we finally crossed the railroad bridge about half a mile west of Logan and entered the town a few minutes later.
Bozeman, the metropolis of the Gallatin Valley, was made by 6 o’clock that afternoon, and after laying in a supply of bread and fresh meat the corps continued its journey eastward. Old Fort Ellis, now a crumbling ruin of by-gone days, soon disappeared to our left, and we then began “pumping” our wheels up Rocky Canyon. , deep and picturesque. Two hours after leaving Bozeman, camp was made at Chestnut. Distance traveled during the day, fifty miles.”
- Lt. Moss, Los Angeles Times The Army A-Wheel, Nov. 7, 1897

*I think Moss must have meant the Missouri River. The Corps hadn't yet reached the three forks of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin River. Recap, where the Corps spent the night was more commonly spelled "Rekap". It was about 3.5 miles down from Clarkston, MT. (45° 59' 23.64" N 111° 26'37.49"W)

“ Sunday morning June 20th, we broke camp and left at 6:30. There being no road, we were compelled to take the railroad track again and had the same conditions to face. It was found easier to carry our machines than to push them and this plan was followed by most of the men. The command kept the track until the mosquitoes and heat, coupled with the hard work, compelled us to quit. We took a blind trail which led across a big swamp meadow and up a steep hill; once on the surface we were able to ride a little at intervals and made fair time, reaching Logan at ten a.m. after four hours of mud, hard work and torture, machines were inspected and not a loose bolt or nut was found, proving the machines able for the roughest usage.
We were now in the Gallatin valley, and fair roads were in front of us. A bad feature of almost every place where irrigation is in use is that the farmers flood the roads with waste water. We lost some time getting over such places and had many more similar places to cross. Our road passed through the little towns of Manhattan, Central Park and Belgrade. Halt for lunch was mde at Central park and the boys enjoyed a few minutes rest before pushing on. The road was full of ruts from here to within a mile of Bozeman; many of the boys took headers and several twisted handle bars were reported and a few delays were caused by minor accidents resulting from careless riding. The corps halted a short distance from Bozeman and marched in in a fine column. The citizens turned out and showed much interest.
Rations were a little low so a few loaves of bread were bought to help fill up the larder. The corps pushed on to Chestnut in the evening going into camp at that point. The distance covered this day was 50 miles and extended over rough roads and up grade."
- E.H. Boos Daily Missoulian From Fort to Fort [Missoula, MT] July 10, 1897

“ The night of the 19th was spent at Recap, Mont., a construction camp between the N.P.R.R. track and the Gallatin River, only a hundred yards or so from the railroad. Early the next morning we broke camp, and on acount of a high bluff on one sie and the river on the other, were compelled to follow the track five miles. New cross-ties had just been put in and the spaces between them had not yet been filled in. On either side, at the very ends of the cross-ties, earth, rocks and old ties were piled up. The constant jar of rolling on bicycles over this torn up track, benumbed our hands and gave us pains in the shoulders. This part of the journey was extremely slow and tiresome. Before reaching Gallatin (five miles from Recap) I had been informed we would strike a good, smooth road, at that point. The road referred to we found to be a blind trail which lea us through an old marshy field, where there were myriads of vicious mosquitoes, and thence into the foothills beyond. Following this trail for two hours or more we struck the railroad bridge just west of Logan, and entered the town a few minutes later. Bozeman, the metropolis of the Gallatin Valley was made by 5.45 that afternoon, and two hours later, 50 miles to our credit finished the day’s work.”
- Lt. Moss Report to the Adjutant General (pg. 5)

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