July 12, 2005 – Tuesday – Day 17

48 States or Bust – The USA on Two Wheels
Miles Today: 300 – Total Miles: 4375 – Daily Average: 257.4
12:30-7PM – 6.5 hours
Livingston,MT to Superior,MT (just west of Missoula)
(-stayed at the Budget Host Big Sky Motel (MT– 18/48)

It was to be a travel day of mainly hunkering down and putting in the miles on a hot day in July motorcycling through the state of Montana.

We slept a little later than usual. Then it was heading into town to send some more things home – more articles that we didn’t need and some of Karen’s souvenirs she bought yesterday.

I had a wonderful morning run out into the country, down lanes with wonderful rural names like “Willow Bend.” I was going out for the usual mile and then, as I like to do, thought of what I was hoping would be another way back. In some ways regrettably, it was not a way back without considerable rounding about to get to the main highway again. Got some good pictures along the way though.

Our first leg to Butte was 110 miles through the afternoon heat. Huge, mainly rocky mountain landscape on both sides throughout the day.

At Deer Lodge, a friendly fellow with a huge moustache was leaning out of his truck window with a warm wonderful smile on his face. Kelly was a water tester and I could see he was taking samples at that gas station. He traveled all over the state checking water purities. We chatted for awhile about Butte and how it had changed in the 18 years since I had been there before. I asked him if he remembered the buffalo that use to roam near the interstate, but he did not. He mentioned how much the place had grown in the intervening years.

Some dad at the Taco Bell in Missoula was wearing a t-shirt that read, “Bike Naked in Yellowstone – It Will Bring Color to your Cheeks!” I motioned him over with a smile and said to him, “Well sir, it begs the question, ‘HAVE you biked naked in Yellowstone?'” He gave a hearty laugh and said no, not on this recent visit. His cute 4 year old or so daughter laughed at the idea.

Whenever we take off from a dead stop, I get a little couple taps from Karen on the back of my helmet to let me know she’s ready.

A few miles out of Missoula, toward the end of the day, the red little rain proof pack which we keep on the top of the back bag came flying off on Interstate 90! I saw it go in the rearview mirror, pulled over to the side, and then trudged the quarter-mile or so after it.

Karen noted it’s odd to see big billboards and advertisements just have seven digit phone numbers listed. Back home, of course, in the more populated East, we need 10-digits to even call across the street. She also noted that seeing the trees on the top of ridges reminded her of seeing old John Wayne movies where the Indians would be watching the wagon trains coming through the passes.

A common courtesy among motorcyclists is to give a little wave as we pass when we go opposite directions on the roadway. Except for the most hardnosed biker, most do. When riding, Karen and I both generally wave to a passing biker. Karen, so used to doing it by now, was walking along the street with me recently and gave a wave to a passing motorcyclist without even thinking.

I ran out of energy around 7:30ish and we decided to stop at 300 miles, well short of our goal of Spokane. Found a very nice and surprisingly reasonable place in Superior, MT, just off the interstate.

After I finished checking in, I came back to the bike where Karen was engrossed in conversation with someone who just had checked in. Tom was a bicyclist and he had brought his and his wife’s bicycle from Seattle (his license plate: RAINY 1). And they were in the area for some cycling. He was impressed with the map of my cycling and he told us that his daughter had bicycled around the world.

Karen got somewhat caught up on keeping track of the receipts and her emailings. I worked on the journal and was happy to finally have a room’s wireless internet work properly without losing time to get it fixed.

Author: Joel Perlish

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *