This is the first time I’ve ever been in Montana! Only three continental states to go before I have them all! ((North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin are yet to come))
I rose with the sun (or possibly with the old guy hacking next door to me), showered and ate the last of my Might O’s Doughnuts. These are the last good vegan doughnuts I’ll get until I get back to Seattle (unless Smartz comes up with something awesome).
As I was packing up, a nice couple from Spokane struck up a conversation with me about riding. They have a couple of Harleys and ride mostly on the weekends, though not this weekend. Again, it was strange for me to say “I’m heading back to Pennsylvania.”
Some people never get to cross the country. If they’re lucky, some scrimp and save and plan for months and then cross the country. And then there’s me who is crossing the country and not really even thinking of it as that. I’m just getting back to Pennsylvania. That’s sort of obnoxious of me.
It’s not that I’m not enjoying it, or that I’m planning on not enjoying it. I love riding. I could ride all day. I’m just spent on appreciating things like scenery. I explained this to the nice couple who then talked about the sage brush they saw on their way from Spokane to Wilber. I saw that very same sage brush about an hour later. Riveting.
I packed it all up and rode off towards Montana. I haven’t really looked at a map to see how not straight this road actually is. Sure, there are long straight stretches, but it also winds its way through eastern Washington, Idaho and western Montana. Who knew?
US 2 took me through Spokane, which really reminded me of Hagerstown, Maryland. Weird, huh? But it did. It was still up and running, but kind of used and abused. I didn’t stop to take pictures.
But soon, and actually before I thought it would be, was Idaho. Going east, the mile marker numbers go up. I have no idea when they’ll end. Going west, on the other hand, you’re counting down to zero. Idaho crept up on me! ((Sneaky Idaho!))
But it was longer than I thought. Maybe 80 miles. Reason? Well US 2 turned north, straight north, while following US 95. That took more time than I figured, but it was a nice ride.
I don’t think I’ve seen a part of Idaho that I didn’t really like. I’m not sure many other states can say that. And I’ve been through quite a bit of Idaho!
Idaho seemed to last forever, though, like I said, it was only 80 miles or so.
But not too long after I had given up hope of Idaho actually having an eastern border, I crossed into Montana.
And things probably got a lot prettier. I’ve heard Montana was really fun to look at. And I’m betting they were right. It’s not that I didn’t look. I mean, I sort of have to, right? I saw mountains off in the distance. Or maybe that was in Idaho. It’s all pretty mountainous.
Not a huge fan of tourists.
Montana was, well, so far… Montana is full of trees. Big green ones! Not California big. Not even Oregon big. But still, big. Conifers! I bet there was a larch!
One way to tell if you’re on a Montana road is that they mark their highway fatalities with white crosses. Each cross represents one fatality. They’re placed in the “exact” spot where they died (or where they were hit before being taken to the hospital where they died). It’s kind of creepy.
Usually, there were one or two crosses, signifying one or two fatalities. Those were all over. You could hardly go ten miles without seeing some.
This might have something to do with US 2 being a 70mph two-lane winding its way through hills and along cliffs. Maybe?
But I saw one that really made me pause. Actually, it made me turn around to make sure I saw what I thought I saw.
As macabre as it might seem, I’d really like to know what happened here. I think it was near Kalispell. I could be really wrong about that, and I doubt anyone would really know (anyone who reads this, I mean). But 17 fatalities in one spot can’t be a good thing.
I shook off the grizzly reminder of how dangerous the road can be and traveled on.
Not too much longer and I was nearing West Glacier, where the KOA is. Ah, my home for the night! I entered and it was pretty busy. I didn’t figure I’d get a spot.
Honestly, I thought about just riding till dark. It was only 4pm. Yeah, 350ish miles before 4pm. And that’s with losing an hour due to crossing into the Mountain Time Zone! Go me!
But I didn’t have to keep going. While they didn’t have any spots open, they had “overflow.” What’s that? It’s a small strip of grass along the road. Hey, it’s only $20! AND I get a pretty ok WiFi connection there.
In retrospect, I probably should have kept moving. There’s this drive to not be traveling when you’re on your way home. It’s happened on all of my trips. I have an entire continent to cross! I even considered doing an IronButt Challenge (1000 miles in 24 hours or 1500 miles in 36 hours). I think I could totally do it! But I’d have to print out forms and such and don’t have that ability. And then laziness kicks in. Maybe tomorrow I’ll do 500 miles. Work my way up to 1000.
Oh tomorrow. Where will you take me?
Miles today: 344
Miles total: 8,328