things flatten out and wind down..... - Seattle towards Minnesota - CycleBlaze

August 8, 2007

things flatten out and wind down.....

I survived the night without being attacked by a bear, and without being arrested for smuggling weapons.

Yesterday when I arrived at the camp, I was unable to pay for my campsite because I don't have any Canadian money. When I left this morning, I became a wanted man in two countries.

It was 55 degrees when I left. I had a couple of downhill miles, then climbed most of the morning. I took my jacket off early, but as I climbed through the mountains of the Blood Indian Reservation the temperature dropped and I eventually put it back on. The weather since Eureka has been pleasant, with a high of around 80F.

The scenery is still gorgeous.

Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0

You can see Sofa Mountain and the thousands of burned-out trees from the fire in 1998:

Heart 2 Comment 0

Pedaling along the road it occurred to me: I'm a roadside attraction, like a baboon in the zoo or something. I occasionally imagine a driver nudging a passenger and pointing at me.

But instead of "Look honey, it's a two-headed goat," or "Hey kids! You don't want to miss this! Look at thst 14-toed gooberonoumous!" it's "Wow... a bicycle tourer. I didn't know they migrated this far north. I wonder if he's lost or something."  With an added, "Don't get too close to them. Their vision and hearing are pretty good, but they aren't very smart and might wander our way asking for food or directions."

I reached a scenic lookout point, then began a long descent. There's only one thing worse than a sidewind when you're going downhill (it's true, a headwind is better than a sidewind if you're going downhill), and that's a gusting sidewind.

Heart 2 Comment 0

As you can see, this picture of the vehicle isn't like the one in the States. It looks more like a ambulance, and is probably heading down the mountain after picking up a biker who got blown off the road.

I maintained a death grip on the handlebars, and braked more than I wanted to. By the time I reached the bottom I was actually tired and, after prying my fingers off the bars, had to rest.

From here on out, most of the terrain will be relatively flat. I'm officially out of the Rockies and, if I were to continue with unlimited vacation time, I wouldn't see any significant mountains until I reached the other side of the continent. Of course, there are those living in the Rockies who think I shouldn't say "mountains" since there aren't any outside of the ones here...  just large hills.  

Here's a picture of what I'm pedaling through now.

Heart 4 Comment 0

"Relatively flat" doesn't mean "flat." There are still some long, gradual hills, but nothing with a steep grade. That sidewind became a tailwind once I turned the corner and I was going 20 mph uphill. I don't know what that is in kph, but I think I'm still okay....

Heart 0 Comment 0

Mountain View was the first town I came to that day, and the first opportunity to get some food. After 24 miles I was somewhat hungry, but not starving. There were two items on their menu, something fried and a "pizza pop." I learned that a pizza pop is pizza which is folded over and and sealed, much like a calzone. I ordered the pizza pop and watched her pull one out of the freezer, cut the corner of the plastic it was in, and stick it in the microwave. MMMMmmmmm.... just like home cooking (mine, that is).

When I went to pay for my meal, I opened my wallet and...

my credit card was missing.

Nothing will stop space and time like being in a foreign country on a bicycle with no currency, then realizing you're missing a credit card. I could remember the last time I used it, at Lake McDonald Lodge, and vaguely remembered putting it back into my wallet.

Fortunately, I did have a backup card and pulled it out of its slot, wondering where in the world my other one could've gone. Well, I sure wasn't going back to look for it anywhere.

I finished my lunch and went out to my bike. When I searched through my handlebar bag I found it in the bottom. It must've fallen out of my wallet at some point.

It's only 16 more miles to Cardston, my stop for the night. Cardston is the end of the day for me because my map says there are no services for the next 73 miles after leaving there.

Plus, I stink.

The ride to Cardston was easy and upon my arrival I immediately began looking for Elvis impersonators.

All of the motels were the same price with the same amenities, so I chose by name... The Flamingo Motel.

Once there, I unloaded my gear and rode to the library to upload some pictures and blogs. I was placed on a waiting list and told to come back in fifty minutes.

From there I went to a bank where I exchanged some US dollars for Canadian dollars. I only exchanged $40.00, but you'd think I was a weapons smuggler or something considering how long it took and how much identification they required.

Then, back to the library where, because of their security system, I was unable to upload any pictures. I did post some blogs, though.

After washing some clothes I went out to eat. I always ask people in town where the best place to eat is. Unanimously, I was told the Cobblestone Manor. It has some local historical significance. The waitress (Carly) and I chatted about bicycle touring and she mentioned that her mother might be interested in doing something like what I'm doing. Hi Carly's mom... if you're reading this, I hope you consider it.  Hmmmm....   There are probably some parts of the ride I should've taken out if I really want anyone to consider a bike tour.

One interesting thing I learned about the area is that Cardston County is a dry county. There's some type of treaty with the Indians which doesn't allow alcohol to be sold.

As the days are winding down, it looks like Cut Bank, Montana, will be my final destination. Heather checked to make sure the Amtrak train stops there, so I'm all set. All I have to do is get there....

Later, back in my room, I thought about tomorrow. Other than a small grocery store, there is absolutely nothing between here and Cut Bank.... no campground, no motel.... Just lots and lots of farmland. If I have a headwind like the one I had yesterday, I simply won't be able to make it. I know my limits, and it's not physically possible for me to ride 73 miles into a wind like that.

I think about what I should do and decide that, one last time, I'm going to wake up early and pedal as long as I can and as far as I can. If everything goes well, tomorrow's posting will be the last one you read.

Miles 44.36 (I had only ridden 41 upon my arrival in Cardston; the extra few are tooling around town)
Maximum speed 38.6 mph
Average speed 12.2 mph
Time 3:37:48
Cumulative mileage 816. 63

Today's ride: 44 miles (71 km)
Total: 814 miles (1,310 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 5
Comment on this entry Comment 0