May 19, 1999
|Well, today sucked almost as bad as the sandhills of
Nebraska. Yesterday I rode from an elevation of 3117 to 4245, a total of 1128 ft.
over 97 miles. Today I rode from 4245 to 5280, a total of 1035 ft. over 39 miles
with strong headwinds all day. And my butt was very sore! It hadn't been that
sore since the beginning of my trip.
I left Harlowton at 8:30am into the wind. The only pleasant thing was the view of the snow capped mountains to my left. There was an interpretive sign that said those were the "Crazy Mountains". Apparently some woman went insane a long time ago and left the wagon train. She was found at those mountains and they called them "Crazy Woman Mountains". If it was the wind that made her crazy, I couldn't blame her. The wind was so over-stimulating as it attacked all the sensory receptors of my skin. And that constant noise as it ripped by my eardrums. AHHHHHH!! I had to stop, get my walkman, and find some comfort in music. It helped lift my spirits even though the sound of the wind was almost as loud as the music...I couldn't drown it out.
Reaching a small town called "Two-Dot", I leaned my bike against the guardrail of a small bridge. I sat there by the road, leaning against my trailer. Oh how I hate this! The wind...I hate it! Why am I putting myself through this torture? I looked ahead at the turn-off that goes into the small town. They had nothing but a bar and cafe' there. Not much traffic traveled this road and I felt all alone sitting there. Of all the places I could be at this moment in time, I sat there looking at an empty road and wondering why. Why am I doing this? Why am I continuing? Why don't I go home? Why am I alone? Why am I beginning to feel so lonely right now?
Then, as a car drove by, a lady honked and waved. At that moment I had to remind myself how every day usually ends on a positive note. There is something waiting for me up the road. I just have to get there to discover what it is. So, I ate a fig bar and continued west.
After about another 12 miles I came to the intersection for 294. That was my intended route to Townsend, which would have been a little less than 100 miles for today. But the way I felt after only 25 miles and it was already afternoon, I knew I couldn't do it. There was my other option - to stay on 12 to White Sulphur Springs, about 30 more miles. So I decided to stay on 12 to White Sulphur Springs. When I got to the town of Checkerboard, I saw a bar and cafe'. I rode up to the old green building and went inside. Ah, how nice to sit inside out of the wind. I ordered a small cheese pizza and attempted a conversation with the lady that owned the place. She didn't seem to want to talk to me at all. I was the only person there but she preferred to speak to me only when necessary. A local came in, sat down, and she just talked away to this guy. But I noticed that she didn't appear to be a happy person. She spoke of mostly negative things. I asked about motels in White Sulphur Springs and she said they had a couple. Then another lady that had come in to play the casino machine said, "How about the small cabins?" "Well, he's probably not prepared", said the lady behind the bar. Then she turned to me and said I'd need my own sleeping bag. I said I had one and asked how much. "$18.50" I gladly accepted.
When I met J.D., I was finally beginning to feel more positive. J.D. is a photographer that lives in a house directly behind the bar. He told me a few things about photography to help me out. When I found the very small, one room cabin, J.D. rode his 4 wheeler over and told me to stop by after I get settled in. He wanted to share some more information and show me his photography. After putting my bike and trailer inside, I walked over to where he and his wife live. There were many framed photos sitting around and on his walls. He told me a lot of things and let me copy some data from a list for shooting under different conditions. J.D. also told me that if I come through here again to stop by his place first, "I'll let you stay here...save you a couple bucks". Yes this day did indeed end on a positive note :-)
Wind - SUCKED!! Northeast wind
Today - 39.41 miles