July 1: Ray to Culbertson, Montana - The Great North American Sticky Bun Hunt - CycleBlaze

July 1: Ray to Culbertson, Montana

Kirk and Di Maharry from Lenox, Iowa, riding with ancients in support.
Heart 0 Comment 0

KIRK AND DI MAHARRY are riding to Maine, she on a conventional bike, he on a recumbent with a big transparent fairing. So far, nothing unusual. Nor is the fact that they are carrying no luggage because it's all in a van somewhere behind them.

What is unusual is that the van is being driven by a man of 90 and a woman in her upper 80s. "We have a lot of nursemaiding to do at the end of the day," Di smiled.

Di and Kirk, from Iowa, were the seventh and eighth riders we saw today, although the first we could talk to. The other six were climbing a long hill 25km after Williston and the first didn't even see us, they were concentrating so hard, until we yelled. Like yesterday, the pleasant convention of stopping and chatting and passing on news was impossible on US2 because of the width and traffic of the road itself and the football field of grass that separated the two carriageways. All we could do was wave and mimic uphill, downhill, against the wind, with the wind and then good luck.

Montana, on an old Indian road, started majestically
Heart 1 Comment 0

We saw still more drilling today as well as tanks and nodding donkeys. I think I heard once that Howard Hughes invented the nodding donkey pump and that he collected a percentage of all the oil they lifted.

Towns here are naturally making the most of what's happening and the other night Steph caught the end of a news report, about an

Heart 0 Comment 0

oil men's convention, in which some local was insisting "And the boom is here to stay!" He wanted other industries, other investors to join in. "I couldn't help thinking," Steph said, "of that place near Titusville that went from nothing to a thriving city in months because people believed it would never end there either. And then the oil ran out and what happened? The people left and Oil City turned into a ghost town, and then it disappeared completely when people came in to collect all the abandoned timber."

We droned on along US2, an expediency rather than a pleasure. The shoulder is generally wide enough but the road is dull, hilly and noisy. At one point on this ride someone asked why we didn't ride on interstates "because they have real broad shoulders instead of the piddly things you have to ride elsewhere." Well, this is his answer.

We passed through Williston and disliked it. By now we were worrying because our state map showed the road dropped from a dual carriageway - a divided highway as it's called here - to a conventional road. Where was this maelstrom of trucks, RVs and pick-ups going to go? What room was going to be left for us?

And then, suddenly, all the traffic turned off left and poured, unlamented, into a metaphorical black hole. Williston is merely a name on a signpost on the way to some still more important road to the south.

Further miracles, too. Steph started the day groggy and finished like a tiger, suggesting we profit from a stiff tailwind and ride a further 30km into Culbertson. And tomorrow, they say, that helpful wind will continue.

Tonight we are camped in Culbertson's park. The town grants cycle-tourists hot showers at its pool and, after two hot and salty days with no real wash, we stood under our streams of hot water and significantly reduced the chance of pestilence and disagreeable odour in the northern states of the USA.

AMERICAN FLAGS SEEN: 28

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