July 22

23 07 2009

Day 45:

As I write this, we are camping in the town park at Hingham, MT. I had a feeling I had overextended myself doing yesterday’s 95 miles into Chinook but was game to try 80 today. We had a great start to the morning (after repairing Zach’s umpteenth broken spoke at the hotel. We set out for Havre where there was a bike store and zoomed through the 21 miles there in an hour and three quarters. After leaving Zach’s and Brian’s bikes at the bike store (Brian minor gear problem) we walked over to a bar and grill for lunch (no bread so sandwiches were not an option). Bikes were done when we finished eating so headed out for Chester, another 60 miles. Unfortunately, the wind had turned and the day had heated up greatly. We gamely set off having to stop and re-hydrate every ten miles.

Stopped in a very very small town of Kremlin where our maps said there was a gas station. It turned out to be just pumps with a drink machine out front which we didn’t have enough dollar bills. Fortunately, the owner was there (Neil McCormack) and invited us into his office building where he raided his son’s fridge for us for drinks and even gave us some dollar bills to use the machine. Neil has 14,000 acres of wheat which is just about to be harvested. He was kind enough to let us stay and cool off out of the sun for as long as we wanted (some of us wanted to pitch the tent right there). However, we headed out again in the sun and realized soon after that we were probably not going to have the energy to get to Chester where Zach had booked us into a very nice B & B. We stopped after another 10 miles at the town of Guildford. As we turned into the main road, a car pulled up and a very nice woman informed us that the general store was just down the road where we could get more cold drinks and snacks (she and her husband owned it).

Off we went and ended up in the Guildford Mercantile, a very old business now run by Laura and Ted (sorry, didn’t get the last name). They have quite a story about originally living in California and, due to some major health scares, decided to make some major life changes and ended up packing up the family and moving to Guildford where they bought the Mercantile. Very nice people. Laura treated us to freeze pops and went on line to print out the weather and wind forcasts for the next several days. They had some great information about our upcoming miles to Glacier. One of the things Laura told us about was Hingham, just sixe miles down the road (although at that point, six miles seemed like a lot). She called Mike at the local bar and grill and obtained his hours and the information about camping in the town park. (sprinkler system operates on odd and even dates – one side gets it then the other). Also, Mike has showers available (most of the time for the harvest workers) but anyone can pay $3 for a shower. So, we bid goodbye to Laura and Ted and headed off where we enjoyed a nice meal and some great conversation with everyone at the happening spot. Ran into Sue (www.afterphdbeforetenuretrack.blogspot.com) who is traveling alone going east on her bike. She is also camping here at the park and we’ve had some laughs sharing stories. Zach had an interesting chat with a gentleman from South Africa who spends 7 months out of the year traveling the countryside working at a farm hand and sending the money home to his wife and children. You never know who you’re going to ended up talking to on this trip.

So, here we are and everyone else is tucked into their sleeping bags except me. It is a beautiful night with a light breeze blowing so the vote was for flies off the tents to fully enjoy the sleeping outside experience. And thus ends the day. Goodnight.