Friday, August 11, 2006
The Land of Big Sky, Roadkill, and Meth
Day 10 August 11 Friday 360 miles
I left Glendive and headed northwest on Hwy 200. The weather was a pleasant 80 and, lo and behold, I had a slight tailwind again. Wow! (Unfortunately, this would soon change!)
The land began its rise and fall, almost in a regular rhythm, quickening at times and slowing at others. Hay crops filled my view, in a 360 degree circle, all the way to the horizon. The hay looked to be golden ambrosia for horses. For me, it was soon to almost too much. God, where does all that stuff go?
The wind changed direction and began to pound me from a 2 o’clock position. Eventually, I had to stop and put on the leather jacket just to reduce the billowing of my shirt.
Signs exhorting the evils of meth were present in every small town and on roadsides. One sign said:
Life is a gift
Give it your best
Stay away from meth
Check out the pic.
As the asphalt passed under my wheels, I kept noticing all the blood and gut splatters. There was roadkill everywhere: skunks, rabbits, birds, deer, and even a few liberals. I have been avoiding nighttime riding on the highway for just this reason; what a way to screw up a bike or me, as far away from home as I am now!
The further west I got, the dryer it became. Soon, I was running under virgas, something I hadn’t seen since leaving Colorado. I was hoping that the rain that was evaporating before it hit the ground would somehow make it all the way down and cool me off some.
The rolling hayfields eventually yielded to miniature badlands, and I ran into miles of smoke that had blown down from grassfires somewhere north. It wasn’t enough to totally obscure the road, but I did have to pay more attention in the winding, up and down curves.
I punched through the blue haze and found myself again under Montanan’s clear, blue, big sky., and the land again changed to fields of gold warming under the August sun. But, god, the wind just kept pounding and pounding on me. I pulled over in a nowhere-land town no bigger than two or three large city blocks to grab a snack and the trees that had been planted for wind breaks just howled. My whining as I got back on the Harley was totally drowned out.
Eventually, I rode through Ponderosa country. I kept expecting to see Ben, Hoss, Little Joe, and Adam, up on the hillside on their winged stallions. Instead, I did see some horseback riders galloping along. In the distance, I could see the, I think, Julien mountains that I would soon be approaching.
I made it into Great Falls, MT and was welcomed by a car wreck that took place just after I turned out of an intersection. I was lucky I wasn’t 50 to 100 ft further back! Nobody was hurt, but they all got out and started pointing fingers at each other.
Now, I’m holed up in a cheapo motel, riding off the next door bagel shop’s internet! Will get cleaned up, go for dinner, and check out the town. Want to find a bar and sit and watch TV, have a drink, talk to the locals. Shouldn’t be too hard.