First bed in a minute... - Dérive Column - CycleBlaze

September 18, 2021

First bed in a minute...

On the 16th I quietly left the Bone Yard, two of my camp mates were napping in their hammocks, just "mocks" from now on, as in "we're going mocking" (it's a Wisconsin thing I'm going to propagate).  I didn't feel like disturbing them for we had thoroughly said our good byes the evening before. 

Boneyard Boners
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For the last month and some change, I have been living out of my tent in the open space next to the West Glacier KOA, where some of the late arriving seasonal workers had built a little ground zero camp.  We had most amenities needed for on site comforts, ie. electricity, fire pit, well water spigot just a stones throw away, a tarp positioned to give us a little privacy when we needed to relieve ourselves, and an emergency toilet that no one really used.  We also had access to the same amenities afforded to the campers at the KOA. Just hop-skip-jump away.  

When I arrived at the KOA I was simply searching for a campsite for the night.  I had just ascended and descended Glacier via the 'Going to the Sun Road', which took me ten hours by the way, for I had just spent weeks passing through relatively barren North Dakota and East Montana. The juxtaposition of East and West was truly a shock to the senses and I wanted to take as much of it in as I could. 

Just before I descended 'The Going to the Sun Road'
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It was getting late and all the campsites within Glacier, including the hiker/biker sites, were full.  I rode thru the camps, hoping to find a hiker/biker with their camp so that I could ask to crash their party, but everyone was away.  

Once out of the park, I checked the maps to see where available camping might be.  Being fully aware of the bear situation I wasn't comfortable camping on service roads, so I  found a nearby KOA.  

I first/last stayed at a KOA in Great Falls, MT, sharing a site with another touring cyclist, which helped save a little money, for it is considered a camping resort and quite expensive for someone without any income.  However, it was a comfortable stay and that's what I was looking for.  Something comfortable and familiar. 

I called ahead and they said that the camp was completely full, but if I was nearby I should stop in, that someone may be able to squeeze me in some place.  No dice.  They were quick to apologize and move on to checking in guests with reservations.  

The view from the KOA. Not a bad place to stop.
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But wait! As I was rolling into the KOA entrance I noticed a little rag tag camp complete with a tarp and wondered if that was where the workers were staying.  I was thinking about stopping by on my way out to see if they would allow me to blend in with them for one night, but first I wanted to google around and see what my options were while I had some signal. 

This was my little nook in the Bone Yard
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After about twenty minutes of sitting in the KOA courtyard, Caleb, a KOA Ambassador, approached me asked if I was looking for work, that the workers get to camp for free on site and they'd likely hire me on the spot.  For several reasons I quickly responded yes.  An interview was promptly setup and I was in. I would be working in maintenance and my new boss escorted me to the tent city I would be staying in. 

Why did I accept this job so quickly? Well, for details you could refer back to my Cutbank, MT saga found on Strava, but in short I had a major bike issue and it cost me quite a few dollars to fix due to the remote nature of my journey and associated motel costs. I was running out of money. 

Bad News Bears
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I arrived August 13th and I decided that my departure date was going to be September 16th.  I wanted to get a couple paychecks before I headed out again and I had also lined up some more work in Chico, CA beginning in October.  I needed to give myself enough time to get there. 

Overall, stopping to work was a great call.  Although I would love to just keep moving for many many months at a time, the reality is that I will need to stop from time to time and replenish my savings, do some personal maintenance, bike maintenance and just stop and absorb the overall spirit of a place.  Things you just can't always do while constantly on the move.  

I made some new friends and fellow travelers and a few new members of my chosen family.  Hopefully I will see them again, and one way I will help facilitate that is staying in touch about job opportunities in unique and interesting places. 

Meanwhile, I'm having breakfast at the Green Tortoise Hostel in Seattle, WA.  I took the Amtrak from West Glacier, MT to Seattle to cut some of my travel time out, and although it feels a little like cheating I am comfortable with it.   I'm here for the long haul not a vacation, plus I was able to see what the process was like when taking the train with a full loaded touring bike.  It was completely without issue. 

I slept in a bed for the first time since Cut Bank, MT and I'm ready to meet the ground again. 

Today's ride: 6 miles (10 km)
Total: 2,506 miles (4,033 km)

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