I’m beat. Today is the longest I’ve ever ridden. Honestly, I could have done more, but I’m glad that I didn’t have to. Yesterday morning I was in the Pacific Time Zone. Now I’m in Central.
I didn’t really get that much sleep last night. It was cold. Really cold. I woke up to 40 degrees. The sun was sort of out-ish and I wandered to the bathroom to shower.
And so begins another day on the road. I think I must have written the above paragraph more than a handful of times. It’s been a pretty cold trip.
But unlike the other times, I didn’t have any colder riding gear. I mailed home my winter gloves. So by about ten miles into it, my fingers were numb.
I was taking US 2 around Glacier National Park. And I’m glad that I did because along the whole way, I was right next to a BNSF Rail line. And I got to see tons of trains pulling up the continental divide! Sure, it’s not super exciting to all that many people, but it made my cold little morning a bit warmer.
So did finding the Izaak Walton Inn. It was built by the Railroad to take care of those who worked at the yard where the helper engines would wait to push the eastbounds up the hill. Now it’s just a normal Hotel, but with a great view of the trains.
I parked and took it in. Thanks!
It was also a great place to warm up. I didn’t go inside or anything, but not cruising along at 70mph, you tend to warm up.
I even checked out a few cabooses that are now being used as cabins. Lucky folks.
And then it was up and over the divide for the FOURTH time on my trip. There was a monument to Teddy Roosevelt (who I am seriously not a huge fan of and would gladly burn in effigy). There was a little rest area which I took advantage of. And then it was back on the road.
This is all being written very sloppily and I apologize.
Somewhere east of East Glacier, the cup holder on my glovebox gives way for only the second time on my trip. That’s not bad considering what I put it through. My poor water bottle falls to the road and in my rear view I see it tumbling end over end and spinning to the side of Route 2. I return for it since it’s my only water source. The bottle has seen better days (as have I), but both it and myself are as fine as can be expected.
Shortly thereafter I found Camp Disappointment. Lewis & Clark stopped here (or at least Lewis) and found it to be fairly crappy. Thus the name. It’s sort of depressing. But there’s a great monument to it on a hill with some fairly old graffiti.
Here I ate my breakfast.
Until this point, I had an incredibly horrible headache. I’m not sure why, but after the stop at Camp Disappointment it went away.
And though I’ve failed to say so, I’ve had headaches every day since leaving Seattle. Just like I had a headache after leaving SLC and Berkeley. I’m not sure what this means, but it’s the truth. But three headaches in three days is no good at all.
Here is where the straight-flat part of the day started. Oh, it was probably around Shelby, Montana. Here, the towns ran together. I entertained myself by tracing, with my eyes, the old alignments of Route 2. Nothing really all that interesting except in a few spots. But even that just followed the railroad.
There are tons of little towns along Route 2. Most of them are farming and railroad towns.
My planned stop for the day was Malta. But I reached it at 1:30pm and figured that I should probably keep going.
I found out that, including small stops for gas and bathroom breaks, I was averaging about 50 miles every hour (which is sort of different than 50mph). When I was at speed, I was doing about 70mph, sometimes more if I could get behind a truck. But when you figure in the stops, I could do about 50 miles in one hour.
Route 2 follows the Milk River for quite a long time, even crossing it on several occasions.
Unlike like Route 66, US 2 doesn’t have a whole lot of kitsch. On 66, you can enter almost any town and find something fun. On Route 2, most of the towns are off the road (sometimes the newer alignment of US 2 bypassed the town, sometimes it just never went through it). I entered a few, but there was precious little to see.
Sometimes I got lucky, like with this dinosaur thing. Dinos are kind of big out here. I’m not sure if they ever lived in these parts, but giant horses and woolly mammoths did! That’s pretty cool. And it wasn’t that long ago either!
The towns were mostly depressed. Kind of depressing too.
I kept an eye on the sky and was checking out a steadily growing cloud formation. I wasn’t sure if something was going to come of it, but it gathered quickly.
I rode through Glasgow and Wolf Point. I was nearing the end of Montana and ready for another new (to me) state! As I hit Colbertson, I was ready to call it a day.
There were a few motels, but nothing really did it for me. I rode on.
The closer I got to the border, the higher the mile markers got. 654, 655, 656… “only ten miles till what would be the coolest mile marker ever known to man!” But I figured Montana would end before it hit the mythical “666.”
I was sort of right.
My odometer is actually fairly accurate. My speedometer, however, isn’t – it’s optimistic. Meaning, if it says I’m going 75, I’m probably going 70. That means if my odometer was reading that I traveled a mile, it would actually be a little less (though, somehow, it’s accurate).
I kept track of the mile markers to see how closely they matched my odometer. They matched perfectly. I was surprised.
They matched perfectly until about mile marker 662. It was short by a tenth of a mile. And when 663 came around, it too was short by a tenth of a mile. The same was true for 664 and 665. And as I descended a small hill, there it was, mile marker 666, less than a quarter mile from the border. Woo!
Ok, so do you know what this means? It means that someone in the Department of Transportation squeezed in mile marker 666. There is no 667. Technically, there shouldn’t be a 666. North Dakota should begin a little over a half mile after 665.
Someone in Montana’s Department of Transportation is my new favorite person ever.
Oh and then there was North Dakota. Williston was my destination. Smartz did a little footwork and found the stupidly named Airport International Inn. The International Airport, next door to the Airport International Inn, makes short flights to Canada.
But what I pulled into hardly seemed like a motel.
Yes, welcome to the Williston Area Junior College. Founded in 1968, WAJC offers classes in High School, TV/VCR Repair, Computer Programming, Child Day Care, Auto Mechanics, Bookkeeping, Learning the Personal Computer, Electrician, Legal Assistant, Veterinary Assistant, Interior Decorator, Medical/Dental Office, Gun Repair, Hotel/Restaurant Management, or get your degree. ((Anyone have any idea what I’m talking about?))
Check out their dorms!
I can’t wait to enroll! My roommie and I are going to be the bestest friends ever! We’ll hang out after class and sneak cheap beer into the room! I sure hope our RA doesn’t catch us!
I can’t wait to hang up my Doors poster!!
Yes folks, this hotel is indeed as crappy as it seems. From its stupid name to its amazingly unhelpful girl at the front desk, if you have any desire to not shoot yourself in the face, do NOT stay at the Airport International Inn.
And with that said… Goodnight.
Here are today’s pics!
Miles today: 554
Miles total: 8,881