Saturday, July 5, 2008

Drunk in The Big Sky

Wednesday, June 18th. As I said before, we woke up happily knowing the crazy man in the lot next to us never returned. I was feeling pretty grimy and all I wanted to do was bathe myself and there was a river right next to us, actually quite close. Take a look-

As you might be able to see the river was running a bit too fast to get into. It was about a 3' drop off into the water and even I might had been swept away. Or I would had swam upstream to spawn like a salmon just to prove to Josh I could handle the current.

We ate some food and took forever like usual to get ready. I was really not looking forward to our four mile hike back up this hill to get on the proper road. Maybe I was just feeling good, or maybe the hill wasn't so bad, but we flew up that thing! We were back on the road, making our way through the Big Sky State.

We kept coming across all this "historic" sites as we traveled that day. Here's some of them for you history buffs out there.

All in all though a rather event less day. Pretty smooth and pretty easy. I must say, Montana is quite the lovely state.

See that last picture? Those snow covered mountains? Now I'm not sure but I believe those are part of the rockies. First time we had seen them. It was a pretty cool feeling! We had bike all the way to the rockies...

So what else happened? We biked through a little town called Paradise. How cute~ Although I must admit, right outside their town it was paradise. See, about a mile past town there's an artesian well (whatever the hell those are) and I was hot and thirsty. We chugged and filled our bottles with the cold clean water. I actually just got on the ground and let the spring flow over me. God it was awesome. This too is one of my "golden rules" for the trip. Anytime I can get cold I take advantage of it. I love the cold. I need the cold. It was soo cold. I laid there until my body went numb from the coldness. Josh hid from it like a dog from the vacuum.

We made it down the road to the store of a kindly old man. We stayed, chatted for probably an hour, bought some food, and asked him about the road ahead. Josh really liked this guy I could tell. He told us there was nothing up the road save a bar about 10 miles up. After that another 15 miles or so to town. He warned us though- the guy who ran the bar was a real prick! But maybe he'd make us a burger or two.

The night wore on, and as it approached seven we were hungry and wanting a place to stay. We were definitely on a reservation, you could tell by the intensely impoverished appearance of the community. We stopped at the bar, the only commercial establishment in town, asking to fill our water and see if the man would make us food. We walk into the darkly lit room, two men and a lady at the bar. All eyes on the two tan white boys wearing bike shorts, t-shirts, and bike gloves. Immediately we knew things were a bit off.

Me- "Hi, how you doing. We're looking for a place to get some food..."

Barkeep- "Well then you're in the wrong town."

Me- "Oh yea? Nothing huh. Damn."

Josh- "Oh, well we heard from a man down the road that a nice old guy at a bar up here might make us some burgers."

Barkeep- "What man? What shop?" (Sounds obviously annoyed at the reference to someone he dislikes)

Josh then proceeded to go into detail of the man, and how much Josh enjoyed him and the shop. Josh somehow hadn't picked up from the conversation with either man that the two greatly disliked each other. This obviously didn't win us any favor.

Me- "Well, could we fill up our water bottles?"

Barkeep- "I dunno, can you?"

Me- "Hah, yea umm... so... can we?"

Barkeep- "Bathroom's right there."

Josh, smiling still like always "Oh, thank you!" Looking at the bathroom doors confused. They were labeled Pitchers and Catchers. Took Josh a minute, but he figured it out. Everyone at the bar laughed.

Barkeep- "So where you from son?"

The question I was hoping to avoid. The last thing I want to be is from New York when someone backwoods redneck asks.

Me- "Back East. Vermont." (What's less threatening than Vermont?!?)

The barkeep pointed to a sign behind him reading "I have an East infection" saying "Yea, that's a real problem out here." Again, the three at the bar chuckled. We filled our bottles, and chatted a few minutes, very awkwardly, very uneasy with the whole situation. Right as we leave the barkeep goes..

"Well next town up there's a big Indian. Can't miss him. He'll cook for you..."

We thanked him and left. We really had no other choices. We were hungry. I guess we had to look for the Big Indian. I was a bit concerned though. We were on less than friendly territory I would say and I was thinking maybe the prick barkeep had called ahead to warn the "Big Indian" of our impending arrival.

It was about 8:30 and it was getting late. We really didn't want to bike the other 10 miles to the next town just to risk starting some trouble with some more locals. We were riding past a couple small houses and one stood out. A real nice house on a pretty poor reservation. We were starting to get good at this. See, most everyone who's helped us out on this trip has been either A- retired, or B- moderately wealthy or C- both. Not a perfect science, but it seems these factors increase our odds.

So we rode up to the house, and as we approached three dogs come running out! I didn't know weather to be prepared to be mauled or licked. I kinda just... played it cool. Oh yea. Cool cat Ross. An older man came out after them and I asked him if he minded if we pitched a tent on his yard. He quickly said yes and didn't even ask us a question about anything. He went back to his house, we went over to the yard to get the tent ready. About five minutes later we knocked on his door again, questioning if we should hang our food in case of bears. He said no, and if we wanted we could leave our food in a horse trailer he had. We thanked him and went about our business. Another five minutes later we knock on his door asking if we could just sleep in the horse trailer. He felt silly for not even offering! He came out, showed us the trailer and started chatting. That's the key. Gotta get 'em chatting. He talked to us about everything for a half hour. Then he offered us beer! Mmmm, free beer. Handing us both two we sit there on his porch drinking and talking for another hour. Since our stomaches were empty we were both pretty drunk. About a half dozen hummingbirds were buzzing around us and it was just real nice. We were in a gooooood place. The man retired for the night and we sat on his lawn in chairs, watching the sun set, drinking a third beer each, stuffing our faces and enjoying.

Honestly, sometimes this trip really blows. Biking sucks, and it's hot and you're dirty and yea. I just sucks. And sometimes you're sitting on a man's lawn, drinking his beer, eating treats, looking up at the big sky seeing a billion stars and there's nothing you'd rather be doing. Those moments make the horror worth while.

At about midnight we started packing up in the trailer. It was no Luxury Suites, but it did the trick. We were off the ground, it was easy. We slept like babies.

Trip Summary
Day's mileage- 63.87
Total mileage- 584.91

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