Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 44 - Sleeping Buffalo to Harlem, MT

Total miles for the day: 55

Total miles to date: 2267

We woke up from our most unusual evening and Gretchen and I felt rested while Nicole had trouble sleeping all night. The girls grabbed a cup of coffee from the cafe, I made some oatmeal, the girls ate a breakfast bar and by 9:00 we took off for a 68 mile first day all together. The most miles Gretchen had ever completed in one day was 20 and this was her first ever bike touring day. As a gift from the bike gods on her first day we had (my 2nd day in a row!) some serious tailwinds!

Before we reached our first town I told the girls we needed to buy some olive oil if we planned to cook our meal that evening. Nicole proposed a challenge that we find someone to fill up our 6 oz. plastic bottle with oil. We clearly need tougher challenges because the only cafe in town gladly filled up our bottle with cooking oil (as pictured above).

After the first 2o miles we took a break at the grocery store to load up on food as this was the last decent sized town. While biking Nicole and I made a grocery list: HOP at the BP, the acronym we made up to remember our items when we went into the store. Herring, Oatmeal, Peanut Butter and a Bell Pepper. We sat outside to have a "snack" and 10 minutes later we devoured nearly 1/2 of a jar of peanut butter. With our bellies full of PB we loaded up to cruise in the winds. 20 miles later we stopped for a break at a convenient store and while eating more snacks we noticed two pedal bikers with trailers pull up - more touring cyclists! Tom and Reid joined us for over an hour over a large bag of Cheetos and we all shared stories between the five of us. These two have a pretty interesting story: two years ago these two men and another friend started to bike across America and their friend died in a fatal bike accident along the way. Their friend had the accident near Glacier National Park. Reid and Tom decided two year later they wanted to complete the trip in memory of their friend. They picked up the ride where their friend had died. What impressed us the most was Reid is 73 years old! We enjoyed our time together and went our separate directions.

As we pedaled down the road Nicole hollered at us to stop. She pointed out a HUGE snake on the side of the road and it made some pretty amazing scary noises as we stared at the animal as if it were in a zoo.

Further down the road we noticed a serious wind shift (so much for the tail winds) and the clouds formed a dark sheet above us. We stopped when we noticed some pretty serious lighting. I also voted for stopping as I had been battling with a new bizarre injury on my quad muscle and it had flared up to the point of serious pain at the same moment the lightning grew closer. The three of us stood on the side of the road brainstorming solutions. Moments later a truck pulled over and our new friend Phillip asked if we needed help. We told him our situation and we needed to find shelter from the storm. He agreed to help us and we loaded all three bikes and trailers in his bed and he drove us the 17 miles to the town of Harlem. This town allowed cyclists to camp in the city park situated next to the Sheriff's office. Other touring cyclists also told us that in poor weather the city of Harlem allows cyclists to sleep in the lobby of the Sheriff's office and that is exactly what we did.

After a colorful and heated conversation about finances between the three of us, we thought we could entertain ourselves in a better fashion over cooking dinner with our stoves, drinking some wine, eating a box of cookies and playing cards. Something felt strange about drinking wine in the lobby, but we went with it. We had a great night!

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