Left Forsyth knowing I had 26 miles of frontage road and then the last 20 miles would be on I94. Not excited about the interstate passage at all. A couple of good things about frontage roads is the traffic is very little. The bad thing is that the road going up the hills are pretty steep but the road also comes down fast. My fastest speed was 36mph. Kids don’t do this at home. Only a crazy, tired old bicycle rider can do this. And I know my bike will not fly apart. So about 4 good up and downs and I’m approaching the end of the frontage road. I’m passing a Mt. State Road Dept. building and a couple of state highway workers are cleaning up around the place so I pull in to ask some questions about the interstate drive I will be taking in a few minutes. One thing leads to another as conversations go and I’m asking if they know anything about the 81 mile stretch of highway between Miles City and Baker. I mentioned that I had contacted the Custer Co. Sheriff Dept and they (sheriff dept) assured me that a rest stop was in place and it had drinkable water. Well the deer in the headlight look came on the workers face, and they said no water. I’m destroyed. I think I can make the 81 mile trip with the rest area and water but if not water that means hauling lots of water, and of course water is heavy. And this stretch is a nasty road for hills. What’s a mother to do I’m thinking.
I get on the interstate, and as I assumed the traffic is just terrible. Semi’s screaming by, cars honking ( oh could these be honks of atta boy, wish I could be doing that? ) Not. Miles City could not come soon enough. One thing about the Interstate system is that they can make a hill 5 miles long that I can peddle up rather than the 1/2 miles hills on the secondary roads.
On the frontage road coming into Miles City I see the Mt. FWP District building. I know they have cold water and nice shade to relax a while. As I’m relaxing and stressing about tomm’s 81 mile man killer, I notice a young man leaving the building and heading for his vehicle. Hi’s and how are you’s are exchanged and a conversations ensues. I go over the broader details of my journey and of course the 81 mile upcoming ride comes up in conversation. He says “I will drive you to Baker”. Did I just hear what I thought I heard. He is a saint. Within 5 minutes we are in Ben’s new Chevy truck heading for Baker. Bike is in the back. Well Ben’s story is he is an intern student from the University of Pittsburgh studying wildlife management and is in Miles City for the summer working. We had a great trip to Baker with lots of great conversation. What a wonderful young man Ben is. Thank you for caring for fellow man Ben.
So I’m somewhat feeling guilty about the car hitchhike but honestly, I was looking at some unknowns on that 81 mile stretch. I will get over it. This is a trip, a journey with stories, not a competition.
But Baker, MT. I think I got bed bug bites on my shoulder. Didn’t use the shower either. Not a pleasant stay. Ah, but the Rexall Drug Store was another story. My bum was feeling somewhat irritated. Imagine that. You stick a leather bicycle saddle where the sun doesn’t shine for 8 hours a day and see what happens. The pharmacist whips up this magical concoction of salve and Marlowe is good to go. My hero of Baker is the pharmacist.
Day is done.
Here are the numbers:
45.46 miles plus 82 as it turns out to Baker total: 127
9.98 mph avg. speed
36.28 mph max speed
511 total miles including the hitch.
Thanks for staying with me on this.