Why is Montana so windy? Because Idaho Blows and North Dakota Sucks. We’re in Montana: Home of the Studmuffins.
June 5, 2010
Honestly, folks. It must be magic. We are two ladies who decided that it would be a better idea this summer, to wander around the states, stinky homeless bums on wheels, than to work jobs and be productive members of society. And we get all of these miraculous coincidences practically dumped into our laps. We show up in these tiny little places, reeking of sun and sweat, tired and barely able to afford the beers we so desperately crave after a day of heavy hauling, and all we do is utter a few standard phrases about what we’re up to. We’re normal people behaving in an abnormal, physically straining, and probably really really idiotic fashion. And for this, we receive the hospitality of the entire Midwest – offered up to us as though we were goddesses of the sun and fields and could rain down upon the inhabitants of the land the blessing of our favor? Here are our tales of the last few internet-free days.
Moments of Truckstop Zen:
“You’re from where? Minneapolis? You musta been biking since you were 12. You got a reason for doing this, or are you out there just because you can?” –Trucker “Mostly just because we can.” –Colleen “Guess that’s better than suicide… I guess…” – Trucker
A trucker that we had seen previously in Jamestown, ND who had wanted to give us a ride [a little too hard at that] recognized our bikes outside the truckstop in Beach, ND. He walked in, with a clearly visible pickle? in his jeans. Liz noticed and did not look away. Colleen did not notice, for Colleen typically looks at people’s faces and not their nether-regions. In any case, this trucker goes, “I saw them two bikes outside, and I knew it was those two hot chicks from Minneapolis. Man, I saw you guys forever ago.* That musta been only, what, 260 miles? I saw you forever ago. You guys haven’t gotten very far, have you?” After he left, Colleen called him a fucker. And it was the truth. *[It had only been a week.]
Waiting to hitch a ride from Dickinson to Medora in an overpriced truckstop with nothing to do and no one to love for six hours: Not Fun.
Finally getting a ride from Rick, who actually drove a bit further than his destination in order to drop us off in Medora: Quite Enjoyable.
We travelled in style in the cab with our Harley-Drivin’, Party-in-Semi-Cab hostin,’ Pitbull-lovin’ truckerman. Our bikes travelled in style strapped to a flatbed, wheels flying and panniers flapping. [It didn’t make us AT ALL nervous that our frames would get bent or our gear would fly off or our trip would be ruined when the semi would go over massive hurdle-like bumps on the interstate that set our rumpuses a rumblin’ and our bodies a flyin’.]
Medora is a tourism-driven little town that dies in the winter and magically comes alive again in the summer. It is located in the heart of the Badlands – ie. A large pile of pretty rocks, interspersed with buffalo, horsies, and cuuuuuute witttttle prawie dogs. James, son of the owners of the bike shop in Medora, put us up in his doublewide trailer-home for the two nights that we stayed there.
Words of Wisdom from James: “You can only polish a turd for so long before you just start smearing shit all over the place.”
Plan: Spend a nice easy day relaxing and resting the muscles. Later in the evening, sneak into this musical extravaganza with James and his buddy, Jerome without paying. (Apparently, the locals know how to get in for free instead of sustaining a $34 blast to the wallet.) Skidaddle on across the border to Montana the next day.
Reality: Do a 36-mile bike-ride (without our 100 lbs of gear, for once!) in the “Scenic Loop” in the “Theodore Roosevelt National Park” up and down raging hills, nearly broadside a wild horse as it crossed the road at a bend in the road where we couldn’t see it until we were already on top of it, avoid enraging the buffalo that roamed free less than 15 ft. from where our bikes ripped up the pavement, make really unbearably stupid noises at the adorable prairie dogs sticking out of their little prairie homes, and get wicked tired. After this lovely “rest and relaxation,” the sky decided to leak torrents of fluid all over Opening Night. Which means that Opening Night at the Musical never happened.
Medora Musical cast: Drunken Revelry
Liz: Exhaustion. And Meh. And Beer-Lust
Colleen: Exhaustion. And Rampant Disappointment and Enlivened Fury at the Weathergods
It’s ok though, because James was a super rad host, and even did a once-over on our bikes at the cycle shop FREE OF CHARGE! Before the musical got cancelled, we travelled to the magical land of his childhood – ie. We got on our bikes and rode them 3 blocks to a little bridge where he used to hang out and smoke shit tons of the magic leaf when he was a wee young highschooler. How flippin cute is that?
Plan: Bike across the border to Wibaux, MT. (ca. 35 miles), and head towards highway 12.
Reality: Bike across our third border (WOO! MONTANA!) to Wibaux, and walk into the Beaver Creek Brewery (where their “Beaver Tastes Better!” http://www.beavercreekbrewery.com/ ). Within this locale, we had, hands down, the best brews of our trip.
The bartenders and patrons gathered ‘round and helped us reroute ourselves to a more bike-suited route, ie. Highway 2. Apparently, the route we had planned on was riddled with monster hills, impossibly difficult swathes of land, and a recent wolf infestation. And as soon as we decided to head north to Highway 2 instead of heading on our ignorant, suicidal way, the bartender offered us a ride to Glendive and some patrons offered us a ride to Sidney – both of whom were leaving within an hour. FLASH DECISION MAKING TIME! To go to Sidney and eliminate a large stretch of hilly terrain, but have to make it through the entire length of a Reservation? Or to go to Glendive and have to bike up some hills to get to highway 2, but miss the “Res”? Shortly thereafter, we found ourselves magically whisked away into a pickup truck bearing us onwards to Sidney, MT with 3 dudes who had come down to Wibaux in order to compare THEIR homebrews with the Beaver Creek Brewery’s concoctions. (They never did say whose beer was best.) We crashed at Brad’s places for the night.
Day 16: Plan: Bike 38 miles from Sidney, MT to Culbertson, MT.
Reality: Bike 38 miles from Sidney, MT to Culbertson, MT. The internets told us we’d have a tailwind this morning. Spirits soared with the eagles – the majestic, majestic eagles! The internets were WRONG. Another headwind. Colleen nearly blew a fuse after our first big hill while Liz carried forth into the morn, merrily singing a song to herself – “Don’t Stop Believin!” Colleen contemplated both suicide and turning around to sit on her ass in Sidney and refuse to be consoled. However, after 12 miles of death-pedaling, we turned to our best friend for help – COCK. Just kidding. (Note to Colleen’s mom: That was Liz’s sense of humor. Colleen protested before allowing the joke to pass. Sorry. Sometimes, Liz can manipulate.) We turned to our best friend for help – CHEMICALS! Ie. 6 hour energy shots that taste like Hi-C mixed with battery acid. Immediately, a flying dolphin swooped down from the heavens and took us into her sleek, wet flippers, pushing us forward into the gusting wilderness of Montana. “Oh majestic Flying Dolphin, why have you come to us?” said Colleen. “Because, my child, you have summoned me with the Energy Shot of Power, and I shall be your protecting daemon as you sojourn into the future!” A smile crept stealthily onto Colleen’s lips, and washed away the sorrow of disappointment as ENERGY surged through her weary, peeling, disgusting legs. Liz felt nothing. Colleen probably felt a placebo effect. But damn, that was sure some fine placebo.
The day before, our bartender at the brewery, Sandon – the man with the piercing blue eyes (Liz also made that observation. Because Liz is rather fond of making observations (and none too subtly) about older men that she is probably far too young to be making.) told us that riding up Hwy 16 would be a “groovy little ride.” And it was. Just as we passed over the Missouri River, there were all these rocky bluffs and shit that looked pretty cool. (Not to mention the fact that the rock formations blocked almost all of the wind for the last 15 miles of our ride this morning. Which was heavenly.)
When we got to Culbertson, we rejoiced excessively because Kevin (our friend from Sidney) discovered that one of his co-workers was driving clear across the 100 miles of Reservation (of which we were strongly advised to be very, very afraid) to Glasgow, MT. And so here we sit now, in a Pizza Hut, drinking extraordinarily shitty coffee. It’s Highway 2 all the way to Washington from here on out. Probably. Maybe. Kinda. We don’t really know. Our plans don’t seem to last all that long.
Here are some memorable lines from Greg, the guy who brought us to Glasgow today and saved us.
“A chicken laid an egg, and the wind pushed it right back in.”
“They was tryin’ to kick me out of the kitchen the other day because I got a tongue piercing. Only it wasn’t a tongue piercing, it was a tic tac, and I was talkin’ funny like ‘mwa mwa mwa mwa’”
“I got a speeding ticket the other day. It was all foggy out, and I figured them cops wouldn’t be able to see me. So I go speeding on forward into the thick fog, and there was a little break in the fog and those fuckers caught me. Now, look at this road here. If it was foggy, we could go sooo fast, and those cops wouldn’t never see us.”
“Them Canooks – they know how to party.”