DAY 90

June 12, 1999

The small town of Whitefish has a huge story to tell.  One so large that it could fill the pages of a book.  A place that initially allures one with its charm and friendly people.  As time passes, it takes hold and pulls you in with folks that make you feel like family. 

When visiting Whitefish (www.whitefishmt.com) it isn't enough just to visit the unique shops and cafe's.  It is the unique people that make this an incredible little town resting by a lake in the shadows of several mountains.   The town is difficult to make a living in.  One resident told me he has never made more than $13,000.00 a year, "You just learn how to get by on very little."   Even professionals, like doctors and lawyers earn substantially less.  Living here is a lifestyle adjustment for most that move here.  Which many of it's residents are from somewhere else, but after passing through here, they've found it hard to leave.   There is a connection to the mountains, the lake, and of course the very beautiful Glacier National Park just outside of town.  Of course the winters here provide excellent skiing and snowboarding for those that enjoy those activities.  A young girl had just come to this town for the first time and told me "I've been here 4 days and now I've decided to move here.  I want to tell my friends to move here...well actually, I want to keep this place a secret," she said with a smile.

 

My Favorites:

Place to stay

-

The Bunkhouse Travelers Inn and Hostel (406) 862-3377

Places to eat -

Buffalo Cafe' is a favorite among locals, especially for breakfast.

- Whitefish Times has the most comfortable, relaxing atmosphere.
Places to hang out - Boogie Browns
- Whitefish Times
These places allow you to sit and relax while sipping coffee and engage in conversation.  The message is, "Take your time, enjoy the moment, and relax."  Which is unlike other places that make you feel rushed while sitting in uncomfortable chairs.
Place to get film developed

-

Burch's One Hour Fast Photo Lab.  Corner of Spokane Ave. and Second.  Marie is very good and highly recommended by local photographers

Places for free stuff -

Black Star Brewery      (12-6  Mon.-Sat.) free beer and net access

- Great Harvest Bread Co.  Free slices of bread, cinnamon rolls, and cookies.
- Public Library has free net access for 30 minutes
I would like to thank Cyber Port, the local ISP, for allowing me to gain net access at their office.  Everyone there, as well as all the other places in town, are very friendly.  Be careful in this town, it is a vortex that will pull you in and take hold.

The respite has come to an end. Actually, it should have ended several days ago. Sometimes it’s difficult to leave a place. Whitefish has taught me a lot about myself. Upon arriving, I was at the peak of my searching for something else. Something beyond a negative world as portrayed by the media. The people that I encountered met a different person than I used to be. My humorous aspect was beginning to become buried by my deeper thinking. Now I realize I must find a good balance with all my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. But the day I quit learning the lessons that life has to offer, and striving to become a better person in this human experience, would have to be the day I leave earth. At times I think I’m a bit crazy in this new way of thinking I’m adapting. But those are the times I happen to meet people that share my own philosophy.

I got up early this morning to allow myself time for errands and preparation.

    • Get film developed
    • Go to post office
    • Go to ATM
    • Buy Powerbars, Gatorade, etc…

After finishing everything I needed to do, I stopped by Boogie Brown’s to leave 4 rolls of slide film for Frank. I decided it would be too difficult to get processed and have prints made from them. Frank…Now there’s a story! Whenever I see him, he always has a smile and a loud laugh. The day the two of us went to Kalispell together, he was constantly stopping every time he saw someone he knew. The first person we encountered was Pete. Pete was cycling towards Kalispell so Frank pulled off the road to say Hi. The incredible thing is that Pete is legally blind, relying greatly on hearing to ride. In talking to him, he doesn’t look into your eyes because it’s difficult for him to see you just a few feet away. In the winter, Frank helps to guide him on the ski slopes. What a courageous man to be so active and yet so blind. There were several other people we saw that Frank knew and Frank always had time to talk and share his laughter. He had complimented me several times on the type of person that I am. At one time he stated that I should give a lecture since people seemed to be drawn to me. I didn’t see it like that, rather it is I that am drawn to people. One of the things I’m trying to do is make everyone around me my teacher, and to learn something from them. Frank, as well as everyone else I encountered here, has taught me a lot.

I sat in the warm, bright sun on the upstairs balcony, in a green plastic chair with my legs propped up on the small round table. The bike, trailer, and all my stuff was in front of me leaning against the hand rail. The bright warmth radiated in the pristine blue sky. This was the absolute best day since my arrival 15 days ago. I leaned back, closed my eyes, and tried to live in the moment…thinking of nothing. But my legs were aching to be pedaling again. I tried not to think of it, but the bike was right there in front of me. It felt as if my legs were screaming and longing to be on the road. The desire kept growing and I could no longer sit. I quietly carried everything down the steps to leave, when Dave woke up from his nap. We shook hands, he wished me luck, and I was off…it was 1:15pm.

Yes! This felt absolutely fantastic to be pedaling again. I pedaled hard and fast, it felt good to be riding again. My legs kept pumping harder and faster, I couldn’t push myself hard enough. Then, by the time I reached 15 miles, my legs and butt were aching from such an intense push. Man, take a couple of weeks off and your body can go to hell. After a quick break I continued to ride, trying not to think, just be free, relaxed, and in the moment. I can let go and accept things for what they were and not expect a future of anything, just right now and what I see ahead on the road.

Day 90 continues in British Columbia, Canada...

Today - 63 miles in Montana
Avg. Speed - 11.0mph

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