May 13, 1999
|Wooo Hooo, I'm here!
My halfway point is getting close! It's still very cold as I ride
under a ceiling of thick dark clouds. Reaching Alzada, I stop
at the Bar & Cafe at the junction of 212 and 112. My average
was 12mph getting here.
Walking inside, I was greeted by a rush of warm air, ahhhh. There was a large group of men sitting at one table and the rest of the place was empty as I walked to the counter and sat on one of the stools. I asked for a cup of hot coffee, removed my gloves and raincoat, and then went to the bathroom. My fingers and toes were numb from the cold rain, so I ran cool water over my fingers and slowly increased the temperature. At last! I have some feeling back! I decided not to worry about my feet and let them warm up on their own.
Back at the counter, I ordered a bowl of chicken noodle soup ($1.50), and a hot baked potato ($1.25). It was a much larger bowl of soup than I'd expected and it was good!
After I finished eating, most of the guys at the table had left, leaving three of them. One of them had been sitting on a bar stool by the window as he kept an eye outside, constantly looking or waiting for someone. He had the look of a rancher with aging skin from years in the sun. He looked to be about 5'8" and was a stout, strong looking man, with short brown hair. "Where are you going on your bike?" he asked. I told him my plans then took my map over to discuss a route to Missoula. He introduced himself as Jack as he shook my hand and smiled. He had large hands of a hard working man as he pointed to a road on my map. Although his appearance seemed rough, his voice was gentle and kind. We talked about what I've experienced on my ride, about people, and about what some people are doing to prepare for "Y2K". "Do you think there will be a problem?" he asked. Then went on to say that his wife is stockpiling so much food. Jack owns very little technology and doesn't understand why there would be a problem. But he was sincere in wanting to do the right thing and no one is really 100 percent sure. So going along with his wife's plan is all he can do. With the arrival of his father, Jack shakes my hand again and sincerely wishes me good luck.
I had been there about an hour which was just enough time to get the feeling back in my toes. It was still raining as I rode away. By 1pm the rain had stopped but the dark clouds remained overhead. In the distance I could see lighter skies to the west, and by the time I reached Hammond, the dark gray was replaced by light gray. Hammond had absolutely nothing - no stores or any type of business. I saw just a few houses and was surprised to see a small post office. Riding by Boyes, I saw a Trading Post store and a post office too. Both towns were about 6 miles apart and were very tiny. After passing Boyes, I started to realize that I was thirsty. With the cold and wet I've been riding through, I didn't seem to drink as much. It had been over 35 miles since the cafe and I hadn't thought about drinking anything. As soon as I started to drink, I realized how thirsty I was. My full bottle stayed tipped until it was half gone. Wow, I was incredibly thirsty and didn't realize it 'til I took a drink. It was like my mouth was a desert that hadn't seen rain in a thousand years. I didn't even mind all the dirt and grit that covered the spout on my water bottle. Man, that made me feel so much better.
By this time, the rolling green hills were getting some exposed areas of rock. My speed had picked up as I consistently pedaled at 20mph. The tailwind was helping me tremendously. Just prior to approaching Broadus the wind came back. I biked up what I knew to be my last climb and was greeted by a headwind as I rounded the top. Broadus was within view and downhill from here. The sign said 3 miles but it looked more like 1 mile. As I pedaled the last three miles I was tired and the wind made it difficult. I was pushing to keep a pace of 11mph. My left knee began to get some antero-lateral pain but not too bad.
Stopping at the first convenience store, I was informed that all three motels were owned by the same person so there was no real difference in price. I rode to the intersection where the Quarter Horse Motor Inn sits and checked in. The room was $33.28 including tax. This was the dirtiest I've gotten yet riding in the rain. My bike and trailer were almost brown and I'm sure I wasn't a pretty sight either :-) In the room I did my same ritual, turn on the weather channel and leave it there until I got to sleep. By now I know all the names and commercial slogans. I'd have to say that Warren Madden and Kristina Abernathy are the best ones on there :-)
Wind - Blowing to the west but changed to east at the end of the day.
Today - Total today
- 98.39 miles (62.82 miles in Montana)