The day started gray and windy. I looked out across the railroad tracks and saw a flag whipping in the stiff east wind. Jean and Jim's bikes were gone from outside their room, so I though they had already left. I knocked just in case and, was happy to find that they were just getting up. I went off to have breakfast at the cafe and Jim joined me there a bit later. I think he was a bit jealous of my traditional USA breakfast (sausage, a very small egg, and pancakes) after his granola.
The three of us rode off into a stiff head wind (15 - 20 mph) at about 9:30. The wind increased during the day and our speed decreased. After 8 hours of riding we had covered the 43 miles to Glasgow where we stopped for the night. By that time the wind was at least 30 mph with gusts above 40 mph. The roaring in my ears was deafening and, at times, I was forced to use my lowest (23 inch) gear just to make progress on level ground. I don't think I ever got out of my granny front ring after the first hour or two of that ride.
The ride was made even more enjoyable by 10 miles of construction. I will always remember cranking uphill (maybe 5% grade) into a 30 mph wind on loose gravel over rutted dirt. It doesn't get much worse than that! Jim and Jean sensibly walked that part. At the top of that hill I met 3 riders having a good time riding west. They were three brothers from South Africa, one of whom was starting Med School here this fall. Another one was wearing a Rugby T-shirt and, when Jim and Jean got to the top of the hill, they had a real rugby talk fest. Jim and Jean's son captains Scotland's rugby team.
We stopped for lunch at a rest stop - there were no services on this stretch of highway 2 - and I, with my experience of living in western Kansas, suggested that we eat in the lee side of the bathrooms rather than sitting at the tables which were fully exposed to the wind. It was actually quite pleasant in the wind shadow of the building. We could talk in normal tones with out the wind roaring in our ears, and things didn't blow away when you put them down.
Since this part of highway 2 is not at all straight, we also had the pleasure of trying to keep our bikes on the road in 30 mph cross winds. It was hard to stay upright even when there was no traffic to temporarily interrupt the wind flow. When big trucks came by it was almost impossible. We experience one trucker who seemed to be trying to make us crash. He deliberately came very close to each of us (I was 1/4 mile or so ahead at the time and Jean was 100 feet or so ahead of Jim) in really bad cross winds. I saw what he was doing to Jim and Jean, so I was prepared for him, but Jean did come close to crashing.
We made it to Glasgow Montana about 5 PM. Glasgow had special significance to Jim and Jean since they had flown out of Glasgow Scotland a few weeks earlier. We found an inexpensive ($23) motel, but it only had one room left on the first floor. I gave that to Jim and Jean and then suffered getting my 75 lb bike up the stairs with my partially healed collarbone. After seeing my breakfast that morning Jim insisted that we go looking for a place where he could have a similar breakfast the next day. We found one and we had a good supper together. That night big storms came through, just missing Glasgow. We did get some rain and some hail, but not the heavy rain and big hail the same storm dumped further west. I went to sleep hoping that Kathy and Justin weren't camped in its path.
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