I got up very early and ate in my room. Since the wind wasn't blowing, I wanted to get on the road ASAP. I packed and, after sliding my bike down the wet metal edged stair and almost losing control of it, said goodbye to Jim and Jean.
I was on the road before 7 AM, my earliest start of the tour. I rode 15 miles to Nashua and stopped for a second breakfast at a nice cafe just before the start of Fort Peck Indian Reservation. It was there, talking to a local crop duster pilot, that I learned what the actual windspeeds had been the day before. The wind was just beginning to pick up as I left the cafe, and it was often a head wind, but it was never really strong.
I rode on to Wolfpoint for an early lunch at the Subway. It opened at 11 AM and that was when I got there. The guy that runs it had worked for the railroad for many years until he was badly injured by a freight car door that fell on him. Since he could no longer work his old job, Burlington Northern set him up with the Subway. We talked about the area and about Poplar, the next town down the road. It has a bad reputation for violence and a very high, per capita, murder rate. He said that most of the murders were family related and talked about the most recent one. One of his regular customers had murdered his daughter's boyfriend after the boyfriend had got her pregnant and abandoned her. I have been advised, several times, not to spend the night there. I don't expect I will, but Jim and Jean probably will.
I rode on, stopped for some good ice cream in Poplar, which felt like a nice place, and for a snack in Brockton, which didn't. A few miles after Brockton the AC route goes off on Indian Highway 1. AC says this way is less hilly than highway 2. It certainly is and it is prettier and much more peaceful. It goes along the railroad tracks which are on the edge of the flat (food plain?) valley of the Missouri river. I saw lots of Indian homes and passed some friendly people. I especially enjoyed the indian kids who enthusiastically waved to me. picture Very nice riding, although the wind was picking up from the north and the route headed due north to rejoin 2 ten miles later.
Right after I got back on 2 there is a bridge crossing Muddy Creek. It has no shoulders so I 'took the lane' as I rode over it. It isn't very long, but a car came onto the bridge when I was in the middle and, rather than waiting for me to finish crossing, pulled into the other lane and passed right into two cars approaching the bridge from the other side. They had to go off the road onto the shoulder. He wasn't speeding (he couldn't be speeding - this is Montana!), and he would not have had any trouble slowing down for me. He just didn't want to lose that 20 seconds, so he ran two cars off the road and they blamed it on me. I will be very happy to get out of Montana. A lot of nice people, but there are too many jerks and/or drunks on the road.
Highway 2 climbs 500 feet or so before descending into Culbertson. This is pretty stretch of road and I really enjoyed coasting down into town. I stopped at a nice motel and had a good supper. During supper I listened in on a fellow roughly my age talking to an older couple about local history. It was quite fascinating to hear about the folks who had lived here fifty or more years ago. They weren't a very savory lot, but they certainly were colorful.
110 miles with moderate winds, but often head winds, a long day.
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