48 miles in I suddenly remember the ride…memory is such a fickle thing. This morning other riders asked me what the day would be like and for the life of me I could recall nothing…a blank slate.
As I approached a mildly steep hill just before highway 56 ends the film strip starts in my head.
“ A most beautiful woman…I wonder if she is still there.”
Angel, who can read but not see my thoughts….”Who? Where?”
“ Two miles ahead to the east behind a deli counter. Black hair, beautiful eyes, nice figure, a smile to melt your heart.”
Flossie moos loudly “ There is no deli here…just mountains, a river, trees, my friends the cows, and clean air”.
I smile and my heart warms at the thought of seeing her again.
“ She was there once three years ago”.
I reach highway 200 and turn right to see a deli 200 yards ahead to the left.
I pull in and ask the one rider who got there ahead of me
“ Is there a beautiful woman inside?”
He gives me a strange look and says
“Yeh, maybe…I guess so”.
I walk inside and there she is just like three years ago.
Angel and Flossie look stunned but nod in agreement.
I buy my coffee and sweet roll and at the counter pay her. I look into her eyes and without a hint of shyness “You are as beautiful as you were three years ago. I remembered you two miles back as I climbed that hill”.
She blushes and thanks me.
I smile and leave with “See you in three years, next time I come around”.
I have no idea how I recalled a 10 minute experience from more than a thousand days ago in such detail but I have a thought…I usually do…
Having trained so many years as a musician I learned to memorize entire pieces for the violin.
As I play my thoughts are always a few notes ahead of the music I am making, sometime a whole phrase ahead. Yet if asked to identify a section out of the immediate context I could never do so. The score of the notes is like a movie film running in my head, one long strip of sounds with my thoughts and fingers ready for what is to come…notes just around the corner it might be said…
So too my memory on the ride. Asked in the AM about the upcoming route I am hard pressed to recall anything but given a moment in time ….but the slope of the land, the mountain tops, the rivers, even the shape of the trees sets in motion the near future frames of a movie strip in my mind. What is amazing to me is that this film has somehow been recorded and stored someplace safe for future use.
I suspect it has something to do with “living in the moment” and the clarity of the thought process that comes with this…like writing for the first time on a truly blank slate.
But so much for memory, you want to hear about the ride.
I wake early with 96 miles to go from Libby to Sandpoint in Idaho. The ride takes me down The Kootenai River Valley still dark as the sun begins to rise,
past the falls,
where I turn south down highway 56.
With a mountain range to my left
I slowly descend over 35 miles to where the river turns east….past the deli and one of the most beautiful woman in the world.
Down into the valley I descend until I cross over into Idaho leaving behind the beauties to the East. For 12 days I have crossed through Montana and I think it best to recall all its beauty, not just one woman at the end.
Fog drapes downtown Harlem, Montana with the Bear Paw Mountains looming large in the background.
Looking down onto the town of Havre after a passing thunderstorm in Havre, Montana, USA
I will miss you Montana…stay safe.