Montana is nice


It’s always nice to make visible progress on the map. I am still amazed that I can actually propel myself across counties (in an hour or two), states (in a week or less), and continents (months). Western North Dakota is experiencing an oil boom; construction and roadwork follow right behind. Many area towns such as Stanley and Ray have become oil towns, with transplants from all over, many from the Gulf region, mostly men. The romantic image previously held regarding lumber camps, 1970’s Alaska pipeline work and similar man-parties, has been tarnished. Williston is at the heart of the boom, clogged with trucks, full of dirt from nearby roads, and altogether hectic. I passed through on Friday afternoon at 3:30 in the rain, and have nothing good to say.

Friday, 3-6 PM is the worst time to be travelling on a bike through cities.

Montana seemed peaceful, instantly. I expect every town for the next several hundred miles to offer free camping, and US 2 continues to be good, no nonsense riding. And finally, I am seeing other cyclists. Two at the border, three at camp last night, a handful on the road this morning…where have they been hiding?

A Scottish woman rides “around the world”, sort of. She has a Thorn Sherpa with the now discontinued Schwalbe XR tires. The Sherpa is like a badass Surly LHT. Secretly, it’s a lot like my bike as well, but nobody seems to appreciate that. The Sherpa is a great bike– Thorn only makes great bikes for serious touring. If anyone wants to buy me a bike, Thorn would be the place to go. Thanks in advance.

Looking forward to getting there; that is, to Jasper/Banff. Then the games begin.

A foggy morning, and a big sky day.