This morning the wind was in our faces again. I thought I was going to spend the entire day drafting behind Roy. The wind was so strong that every time I thought "I can go faster than this" and popped out beside Roy, the wind drove me back into shelter.
When you are riding someone's wheel, and when the wide open spaces aren't changing much as you travel through them, the mileage marker signs become huge landmarks. This one is from after lunch.
This is how the mental math goes: 11 miles to 100, then 18 more to Lewistown. That's 29. Oh, that's a prime number. Darn. 28 miles to go at the next mileage marker would be four 7-mile increments. I can handle that, even though it's 1:30. At the speed we are going (7.4 mph) it will take less than 4 hours. Yay. Oh look there's the next mileage marker.
That's how how I spent my morning and the early part of the afternoon.
But our lunch stop, Grass Range, actually a mile out of our way, marked a change in landscape and mood.
The other thing I was thinking about was a 1960's myth that if a butterfly flapped its wings, it could affect the weather somewhere else in the world. So I decided to ask you all to try this experiment. Beginning Sunday morning, if you need to sigh or sneeze, face west while expelling the air. Perhaps we can get some tail winds going.
We ate our PB&J sandwiches at a picnic table next to this trailer for sale or rent. Soon we were singing the song. Best of all, the convenience store had Blue Bunny ice cream bars that were at least Magnum Bar quality. They had one of the widest selections we have encountered since leaving Minnesota.
There were gambling machines available inside. I thought it was interesting that their sign says that they will accept government debit cards.
The mountains became increasingly visible as the day wore on. At first we thought they were the Rockies. Roy is looking forward to conquering them. He described them as calling. I described them as looming. It turned out these were the Judith Mountains and we passed through them later in the afternoon.
The afternoon brought a change of scenery. Grass Range had a lot of haying going on. The ranchers were gathering in their rolls of hay and it was interesting to see the big rolls being loaded onto trailers by the mechanical arms.
We were passed by several trucks loaded with hay. This one passed while we were stopped on the side of the road.
The landscape became more rolling and the sky became more interesting. In one direction, storms were looming. In the other, it was sunny. These were taken from the same spot.
A little rain caught up with us. Fortunately, we sheltered in a three-sided barn while the actual rain passed.
Once on the road again, we encountered our first rude drivers of the trip. Two pick-ups honked at us in a way that indicated they were irritated that they had to wait to pass us. Oh well.
The rain dropped the temperatures considerably, so the climb we faced was entirely bearable. We were delighted when there was a six or seven mile descent into Lewistown, a town 5000 strong, the first outpost of extensive civilization since entering Montana. There are multiple coffee shops! Don't know if there is a Starbucks or not. Will report in a subsequent post.
Apparently Lewistown is having trouble keeping restaurants open. Even being listed on TripAdvisor doesn't mean it's open. The place we ate, The Mint, was supposed to be a bar and restaurant, but the restaurant was closed. The bar hamburgers and Montana beers were great though.
We are staying at The Calvert, a historic building, formerly the girls' dormitory for the Fergus County schools. The county is so large that when the school opened, the distances the children needed to travel were too vast for them to return home every night. Even the restaurant that is supposed to be in this building is closed over some sort of management dispute. The rooms are lovely. We are happy to be here for a couple of nights.