When the Wind Gods have vented their fury they return to their Immortal Lovers and leave us humans alone. Even Mother Nature is powerless to get them back to work.
The Yin and Yan of life…
Good thing for us…
Today most of us leave between 6:30 and 7 Am just because we are ready. I treat a Wildflower to breakfast because yesterday she cried on the ride. I was so tired from my 103 mile trek from Glendive to Wolf Point that I forgot to talk with her about yesterday and left by myself riding down the hill just as she emerged from her tent. Left to fend for herself she got stuck in the terrible winds and had a meltdown somewhere on some hill in some part of Eastern Montana while being battered by Zephyrus and Boreas…a new experience for her…
There is nothing I could have done but just being there makes a big difference….the essence of moral support.
Three days ago when I crossed the Montana State line I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders which I did not know was there. Suddenly I was in a State where I knew people, ones I consider Family…Rick and Fran.
Just the idea of having someone “ close by” reduces the sense of vulnerability we all have riding beneath the Big Sky.
So many times when tired, other riders will echo my very thoughts “ What in the world are we doing out here all by ourselves?”.
Almost all of us end up riding alone sometime during the day and the vista at those times might include 20 miles in every direction without being able to see another soul. Now don’t get me wrong, I would not have it any other way right now, but it is just a bit intimidating to know you are alone…truly alone.
The relief I feel knowing that Family help is at least in the same State helps mitigate that tremendous sense of isolation.
For me this part of the trip will be easier down deep within my soul since once I leave Montana I have another dear friend…Family… in Idaho who plans to come get me on a rest day and take me to her home . Being as lucky as I am I have yet another dear friend, Family, in Washington who with her husband will welcome me in their home for a day once the rider is over.
If anything every happened that I truly needed help I know all threes of these Family would come get me without a second thought .
This Security helps me ride across these open wide Plains and allows me, this time, to concentrate on my surrounds.
Today we head West on Highway 2 to Malta, a small railroad town 70 miles away.
Wide open grasses engulf me on both sides
with the Missouri River Valley just to the south. Massive wheat ranches dot the horizon
and I actually pass two farmers harvesting the fields.
Our first rest stop is the small town of Hinsdale with a population of 167. Today is Sunday and the owner of a small bakery cafe
has called ahead and arranged to be open as we ride by. She greets us with fresh pastries,
parfaits, coffee, slushees, and other baked good at a ridiculously low price. I recall her from three years ago
and give her a big hug. Her granddaughter is visiting from another part of the State and mingles with us in amazement at our bikes.
I learn at the Cafe from another rider than all along Highway 2 from the Eastern edge of North Dakota to the Western Border of Montana lies the highest rate of MS per capita in the entire US. People in this part of the country know about this disease and are so appreciative that we help.
Surrounding her Cafe are again signs that water brings life,
the Milk River flows though this small town. Across the street sits a K-12 school, the only one for miles and miles around.
With thanks for her hospitality we ride off towards our destination. I have to stop in Saco, another tiny town, for water at a local and only pub. The barmaid graciously fills my camel pack with ice and cold water and tells me to be safe.
20 miles later to my south I can see old volcanoes in the distance,
the first hint of things to come.
Off in the far distance I can hear and then see the Amtrak Train speed towards my destination, Malta on the Plains.
Atop a crest I can see my road in front of me with a turn to the right to enter town…distances here are so deceiving, that turn is 7 miles away…
Tonight we camp in the town park… a hose shower…a meal from a grocery store after I have washed my clothes in a sink. I will sleep well tonight beneath the stars, yet again beneath cottonwoods whispering in the wind.
And the forecast for tomorrow? 85F , clear skies,no rain, and…and…Yes !!!
a 10 to 15 mph TAILWIND to Havre…90 miles to the West.
Eat your hearts out Zephyrus and Boreas…and please, please, please, stay with your Immortal Lovers…fast asleep…