We leave Deadman's creek to Helena. The roads are washed out and are totally mucky and muddy around 7000 feet. As Jeff slogs on in the front, he stops and sees a bull less than 20 feet away staring right at him. We freeze and grab the bear spray (if that'll even do anything), and back up to work our way around him.
By now our bikes and shoes are covered in a mixture of mud and cow poo. The fire road has vanished and become a dirty farm road. We spot a truck down the way and head to it, only to be stopped by more scary dogs. The cowboys are asleep on the side of the road and wake up, giving us directions to Helena. We avoid more cows, at times having to hop over barbed wire fences. We finally hit Helena.
At the local outdoors store we ask about lodging/ cheep camping. An employee, Tom, tells us his house is a block away and we can crash there. The third floor of an old building with tons of space and even a view from the roof over the entire town of Helena and the mountains. Its almost too perfect! We walk to the store and freak out a bit more as a car of teenagers come by yelling Paul's name, multiple times and following us for a few blocks.
We hang out with Tom for the rest of the night and in the morning, after grabbing breakfast, we hit up Glacier bike shop. Jeff has his drive train changed, Fred gets new tires/tubes, and paul has his rack fixed up. Awesome shop and employees! We check out the town while we wait for the bikes. We grab lunch and depart to Park Lake, only to find it closed due to danger of falling trees from Beetle Kill. We must push on to Basin, another tiny town, to camp. At this time its already 6pm. We still have uphill, difficult single track forests to go through, almost all uphill.
The ride down was scary and exciting, not really being able to see without sun. Paul takes a graceful spill, Jeff loses his sunglasses, and we see a few elk/deer.
We roll into the Merry Widow Mine campground around midnight. We cook in their rec hall and hang out before going to sleep (difficult not to sleep on the couches). In the morning we depart early so we dont have to pay, but nobody even came to ask us for money. We were'nt the ones to find them.