22 June 1997

Day 9 - Big Timber, MT to Columbus, MT

Distance travelled: 58.1 miles
Winds: Slight back part of day
Grades: Up and down
Weather: Forenoon fair; Afternoon rain
Condition of roads: fair
Delays: Bicycles – 2h 35m/Tires – 0/Lunch –3h 55m/Other – 45m
Actual travel time: 8h 35m
Rate per hour: 6.8 mph
- Lt. J.A. Moss Report to the Adjutant Synopsis of the Trip

Places & times mentioned: Big Timber [5:15 am]; Columbus MT [6 pm]; 4 or 5 miles past Columbus MT [camp]

“Five o’clock a.m. the following day found the corps on the road again working against stones and grades. The heat soon became intense, and at 11:45 o’clock we stopped at a section-house on the Northern Pacific Railroad until 3:40 p.m.; to rest and have lunch.
The village of Columbus was passed at 6 o’clock, and four or five miles beyond we stopped an hour in some dense timber in order to get shelter from a heavy rain. Two hours later, with fifty-eight miles to our credit, the corps arrived at a ranch, and the night being damp and raw, we obtained permission from the proprietor of the place to sleep in a vacant sheep shed. The wood we could obtain was wet, and supper was not made ready until after 12 o’clock.
The cycling mechanic [Pvt. John Findley] was evidently bent on making a night of it, and of his own free will and accord staid up until reveille, tiring a buckled wheel.”
- Lt. Moss, Los Angeles Times The Army A-Wheel, Nov. 7, 1897

“Tuesday morning found us on the road before 5:15. We had to cross a very rocky section and some of the distance had to be walked. The curlews were plentiful around here and several shots were fired at them, bringing five of the birds into our pantry. The roads were improving and the corps started to make a record, but in going down a small hill one of the men broke the front axle of his wheel and caused an hours delay. The accident was caused by careless riding. As we left Big Timber behind the road became poorer on account of less travel. We soon found it to our advantage to ride on the railroad track, which at this point is in good condition and makes fair riding. We continued about a mile and a half until a section house and water tank was reached; here we stopped for lunch. The section people kindly allowed the cook to use their stove for preparing lunch, and a few extras were purchased from the folks around. We pulled away from the section house at 3:30, riding on the track and crossing the Yellowstone River on the railroad bridge. A fair road now was taken and soon intersected with the main county road, giving us good traveling until we reached Columbus at 6 p.m., where we halted for a few minutes for the purpose of making repairs. Leaving Columbus our road led up a long steep hill which we climbed on foot. The weather which had been pleasant, although warm, now began to get in it’s usual daily mood; the sky clouded and before the whole command reached the top of the hill a rain storm opened on us. The road was a downhill stretch for a few miles and we made a run for cover, reaching a bunch of trees before we were wet entirely. The friendly shelter of the trees was utilized until the rain subsided, when we took to the road and continued on our journey, traveling at a good gait although the road was slippery. In making a sharp turn in an unusually wet place the wheel of one of the men slipped resulting in the rear one doubling up necessitating his walking into camp. A farmhouse was reached at 9 o’clock and camp struck. Lt. Moss purchased some eggs and milk and we were prepared for a feast. The five curlews and a rabbit were fried in fine style, the eggs boiled, the milk used in our coffee, made a grand supper, although it was fully twelve o’clock when it was ready. In figuring up the days run we found that over 58 miles were to our credit. Findley our repairman stayed up all night replacing the wheel which had doubled up with a new rim, in order that there would be no delay in our start.”
- E.H. Boos Daily Missoulian From Fort to Fort, July 10, 1897

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