DAY 69

May 22, 1999

Well I've been thinking about something....I remember something Jon Krakeur wrote in the beginning of "Into Thin Air".  Something about not writing a story immediately after you experience it.  I'm not sure exactly what he said but it was basically something to the effect of taking the time to become more objective.  Maybe I interpreted the statement wrong but it seems like it would be a good idea to wait before writing about an event so what you write is not clouded by emotions or your own biases.  But, you know all of us have said or done something that we looked back on and thought...geez why did I say that or why did I do that.   There will be things in here I will go back and read later and say to myself "What was I thinking when I wrote that!"  But I really don't care, these are my unedited journal entries filled with all my thoughts and emotions.  My interactions with others and how I perceive the events that occur.  I know that what I think about someone else's statements or actions may be totally wrong, but hey that's OK I'm not perfect and I hope everyone enjoys seeing the world through my eyes, even when I do make many mistakes :)

I left town around 8:30am going west on 12.  It was mostly climbing, but not too bad.  After 10 miles, I see McDonald Pass ahead.  The climb to the top was 6.5 miles.  There were splotches of snow on the ground, and yes it was quite chilly.  Now for the fun part... going down!!  :)  Up until this point I've had headwinds and increasing altitude since leaving Helena, making it sloooow going.  So I was very much looking forward to the downhill.  On my way down, I flew by a slow moving semi that had just passed me as I approached the top.  HA HA sucka!  I'm faster than you nana nana   naa naa :) 

Reaching Elliston, at the base of the mountain, I was hungry and wanted a break from the headwinds.  It was almost noon so a perfect time to get a bite to eat.  The only places here were either a convenient store or "Stoner's Last Chance Saloon", I headed for the saloon.  Inside the saloon, I found out all they have to eat are hamburgers, hot dogs, and french fries.  I was told that the Avon Cafe' was 8 miles farther down the road, but I needed a break now so I ordered fries and a tea.  The fries were immediately drowned in ketchup in an attempt to rid them of that fried taste.  I was sitting at the bar and on the wall behind me was a large blow up of "The Weekly World News".  It stated that the first bigfoot was captured here in Elliston, MT.  The story originated from their annual bigfoot hunt every March.  Every year someone dresses up as bigfoot and hides in the mountains.   Whoever "captures" him wins $200.  There is also a prize for finding the bottle of Rainier beer.  It is basically something like a huge hide and seek game, but the story was grossly distorted by the media in order to sell papers.  The guy beside me couldn't believe how many "stupid people" there are in this world.   Phone lines were flooded with calls about this story and one guy in Texas wanted to bring some sophisticated equipment  to help capture another one.  After reading the article, I couldn't believe they could get away with lies like that.  They made stuff up about how "bigfoot" was taken to a research lab in Helena.  Geez anything to sell papers and make money...greed is all it is I suppose.

The saloon was rather dark inside with several people already drinking at noon.  One thing about Montana, EVERY town has at least a bar.  There may be absolutely nothing else, but they have a bar.  The guy beside me looked a bit like the rough outdoor type.  He wore a Carrhart hat, and a blue denim long sleeve shirt over his white long underwear shirt.  His hair was graying and pulled back into a pony tail, and his skin was tan apparently form years in the sun.  He and his wife live close by and raise New Foundland dogs, or newfies as he refers to them.  They have 11 of these "third largest dogs."  Man can you imagine the food they'd eat!!  WOW that's a lot of dog food.  Anyway, it may have been the alcohol he was consuming, but this guy sure was  a talker!  I thought I was bad, but this guy has me beat making it difficult  for either me or the waitress to find a break in his conversation to get a word in.  Or should I say "get a word in edgewise?"   What is that all about anyway?  Do words have edges?  Should I use sharp words with these people :)

After I was finished eating,  I continued west on 12.  At Avon, I stopped at the Avon Cafe' for a grilled chicken sandwich and a tea.  The waitress asked if I wanted a lemon in my tea as I sat on a bar stool at the counter near the register.  I jokingly made a comment about how caffeine was already a diuretic and so was lemon.   "The lemon would probably increase the diuretic effect" I said as I joked about how difficult it is at times to find a place to pee along the road.  While she went to get my tea, I looked to my right and was confronted by a glare from an old man standing by the register.  He looked to be about 75 -80 years old wearing loose dark brown corduroy pants with a loose fitting shirt.   Hmmmm ... what was that all about??  I looked forward thinking "What's that guys problem?" I looked back at him and he gave me that same resentful glare.  This time I smiled and wanted to say something to figure out what this guy is all about, "it was tough coming over that pass on my bicycle."  He nodded his head in agreement then said sternly "I want to argue with you about lemon being a diuretic, they never taught me that in med school."  His voice was low and coarse as he spoke in a manner as if scolding me.  Continuing to smile, I told him that it was something I've heard for a long time and many people I know hold that same belief.  Maybe I was wrong, I couldn't cite the physiological response in the body, so I conceded that it could be a false claim that many have made.  The only thing I could recall, but didn't verbalize it was Dr. Kalmus in Biology 5230 stating the effects of alcohol on the ADH levels in the body and explaining on a cellular physiology level why drinking beer makes you have to go pee all the time.  You gotta understand he was trying to get the point across to college students and wanted to use example most were very familiar with :)  So that thought flashed though my mind and I was trying to be nice but he remained in his "God Complex" that some doctors get. 

Next stop was the general store in Garrison.  That is the ONLY place in that town.  So I guess it isn't a typical Montana town...  there is no bar!!!  I got one of those SOBE beverages I used to get all the time when I lived in New Mexico a year ago.  This time I got "Zen Blend", cool maybe I can reach a state of Nirvana after drinkin this stuff hee hee.  Of course if I remember right, Nirvana is the highest state of consciousness a person can reach in the Zen philosophy.  While consuming this cool "spiritual" beverage, I talked to Michelle, she was working behind the counter.  The store phone rang one time and then the pay phone rang one time immediately after.   Michelle said that is a signal from her friend in Pennsylvania for her to get on the net to chat.  There was a computer behind the counter which allowed her to chat and stay connected to the world in this tiny little Montana town.

At this point I hopped on I90 and followed it west to Drummond. Arriving in Drummond, I found "Swede's Cafe" and ordered a turkey sandwich from a big lady with tattoos.  She directed me to the campground just outside of town to the west.  After eating, I found the secondary road that parallels I90 and rode about 3 miles to "Good Time Camping" campground.  I paid $10.00 for a tent spot and talked to the owner, Anna.   She was from New Jersey and still had that accent.  Her and her husband moved here several years ago and bought this property to create a campground.  Since jobs that pay decent are almost non-existent in Montana, her husband works in Colorado. 

After setting up my tent and showering, I walked back up to the office area where Anna was sitting on a bench in front enjoying the evening sun.  She had a copy of "Trailer Life" for me to look at so I could see what was in or near Missoula as well as heading north to Canada.  Her daughter Lori was hangin' out too, enjoying the warm calm evening.  Both of them were very friendly and when I was looking in the store for something to eat , Anna gave me some chicken :)  Then I was off to meet my tenting neighbors.  A couple had set up a tent before I got here and they looked a little rough.  They introduced themselves as Pierre' and Monica.  

Pierre' is a French-Canadian that speaks with a very distinct French accent.   He had gray hair and although he looked a little rough, there was a bit of sophistication in is mannerisms and the way he spoke in his low-reserved tone.  While he doesn't drink at all, Monica does, this was just one of MANY odd differences between them.  Monica was very loud when she spoke and had these wild-staring dark brown eyes.  She acted like a free-spirited kid as she walked around in her bright yellow duck slippers.  Pierre' and Monica met in Nevada and have been married for about a year.  Both of them quit their jobs a couple of weeks ago and are on a journey of self-discovery.  They have a small silver pickup truck containing everything they own under the camper shell and are driving from place to place camping most of the time.   Their next destination will be to visit Monica's relatives, whom Pierre' has never met.  We sat at the picnic table next to a fire trying to keep warm as the evening got cooler.  I noticed Pierre' was having a lot of difficulty with his right arm.   He told me that he had  lot of pain in his right shoulder all the way down to his elbow.  It has gotten much worse during the past 2 weeks causing him to avoid using it much of the time.  There was nothing I could do for him, it may be tendonitis, I gave him a few suggestions and then told him he should see a doctor soon.   Although he has no insurance he didn't care what it cost him, it was very painful and just wanted to be out of pain.  Since they were going through Idaho to Washington, I gave him the name of a good doctor I know in Idaho.  Then advised Pierre' to call the Doctor office in advance to make an appointment and explain his private pay situation so he could get an estimate of what the bill might be.  Man I really hate to see someone in that much pain.  By 11pm it was really cold and we all scurried off to our respective tents.

Wind - Headwinds in am, calm in afternoon
Temp - Cold in am, upper 70's in afternoon

Today - 69.59 miles
Total -  3614 miles
Avg. Speed - 9.5mph

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