Montana is a very long state. A sign at the border crossing into North Dakota explained that riding the length of the state was the same as driving from New York City to Chicago, Illinois. No wonder it took me so long!
I didn’t realize it yesterday, when I crossed the Yellowstone River in Glendive, MT, that they’re having a big “fish kill,” in the river. Nobody is quite certain as to how it got started, but I suspect it might have a drastic impact on the outdoor community around here. Our local paper in Sarasota, Florida, even had an article about it: Fish kill.
On my Day 39 post, I had some fun with making change. Today, in another restaurant, I enjoyed another scenario. The order came to something like $8.57. I gave the server a $10.00 bill and seven cents (a nickel and two pennies, there are those damn pennies again!). She too had that stunned look. “What to do with that change?” Alas, she was armed with better technology. With a sigh, she typed in the amount I gave her, confirming she could count, and lo and behold, the cash register told her to give me back $1.50. The relief on her face was indescribable. Sister Mary Hang-em-high would be so proud.
As soon as I crossed the border into North Dakota, the roads improved. They didn’t look that much differently, but the surfaces were smoother, there was far less loose gravel and those annoying joints in the road were filled. I figured the cracks or joints are caused by expansion/contraction and probably can’t be helped, but at least in ND they fill them level with the surface of the road. No more, “Bang, Bang, Bang,” every 30-50 feet.
The “roller-coaster” roads are improving as well. They still roll up-and-down, but the climbs are not as big and the grades are longer and more gradual.
As for the weather, no change there: hot, dry and a persistent hot sun. I know in a few weeks I’ll be complaining about sunless skies, but I could do with less heat.
Fried, I rolled into Beach, North Dakota in the late afternoon. There was a motel right next to the highway exit, but I saw a sign that said there was also one in town, the Badlands Gateway Motel. It had a certain ring to it that I couldn’t resist. Visions of Jesse James and the Hole-in-the-Wall gang came to mind.
When I arrived there were a few folks sitting on the porch and they greeted me with friendly hello’s and banter. Shelby, the owner, immediately fired up the air conditioning in one of the rooms and I was in for the night. I did go out later for food, but I was spent. The local diner was closed, but there was a Subway restaurant back down by the highway.
The room was comfortable and traveling bicyclists will feel very at home, for a reasonable price. The shower was hot and the WiFi worked well.
I slept like the dead.