Going Home

Bicycle Trip to High School Reunion

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Some Notes

It has been a couple of tough days. Lots of truck traffic, some sections of road with no shoulders, or let me say it this way, the white line was the shoulder. HOT! It was 95 today and I struggled getting the last 7 miles in. And to top it off for the last few days and nights I have not had any internet service (WIFI) to help with the Blog. I’m now in Roundup, MT and will be here for tomm also. Am taking a rest day tomm.. This will give me some time to catch up on the travel notes. I have some tough days left just to get out of Montana. Thanks for all who have called me and or dropped me an email or text message. To my FB fans thanks also. I want to make it as much fun for you as it has been for me. Let me do the sweaty work though.


Stanford to Judith Gap, MT. Day 4

When I left Ben’s home in Geraldine, Ben reminded me to make sure and stop at Andy’s Barber shop in Sanford to meet Andy. So as I pulled in Stanford I drove down main street to look for the barber shop. It is not hard to find a barber pole in a small town in central Montana.  Look for all flatbed pickups with cow dogs standing in the back of them barking at the next truck 4 feet away. You know I walked in the barber shop and Andy is cutting a fellows hair. It is like we have known each other all of our lives. I ask Andy if it is ok to camp in the city park and he says why do that when I can stay at his home and have supper and use of his shower. Momma didn’t raise no dummy here. To make a long story short, I spent a great evening with Andy and his wife Alverta sharing stories of local and world. They have a beautiful home. And too open it up to a complete stranger. Turns out we know many of the same peeps. This is what you call Podunk bingo. Here is pic of Andy and Alverta on my way out of Stanford.

Andy and Alverta are my heros on the Day.

Andy and Alverta are my heros on the Day.

And a pic of Andy’s Barber Shop

After leaving Stanford the plan was to head over to Eddies’s Corner and south to Judith Gap, Mt. Easy ride for the most part. Exception being that at times the white line was also the shoulder of the road. Just didn’t have a problem getting to Judith Gap. Of course not having a place to stay it was off to the city park to set up the tent and then to do just a little exploring of the city. Quiet little town for the most part. There is a train track that goes through the west side of the city and the train did blow its horn a couple of times that night. Night was cool for sleeping and the dew point was low as everything was covered with dew in the morning. Not an exciting journey this day.

Looking south down the only paved street.  Actually the highway

Looking south down the only paved street. Actually the highway

If you act up, you spend some time here.

If you act up, you spend some time here.

I guess there was a special moment on my stay at Judith Gap. I’m a poor sleeper. I’m laying in my freezing tent and way in the back ground I hear this screaming 2 cycle motorcycle getting closer and closer. What seems like 10 minutes, actually maybe 9, this motorcycle is in town and proceeds to rip the neihborhoods with his mufflerless crotch rocket. Now he is not looking for anyone, just saying hi at 3 in the morning. Surprised I didn’t hear a gun shot actually from a homeowner. But maybe I’m the youngest in town that night with good hearing. Well after ripping the village he proceeds to the pay by credit card gas pumps at the local co-op. I think anyway. As the cycle is turned off for about 15 minutes. Well I hear it start up again and then you know that sound, the sound of squealing rubber and nothing really going anywhere. I’m sure I could smell burning rubber from my tent a block away. And then he left to village heading north. Only to let us hear him for another 9 minutes. I did swing by the gas station in the morning and was not disappointed by black rubber donuts in the middle of the highway. Happy cowboy you suppose.

For me, a few more hours of sleep. I actually beat the chickens out of bed.

Good bye Judith Gap.

Here are the numbers:

OD for the day: 51.63
Total Time: 4:52 Minutes
Ave. Speed: 10.59 mph
Max Speed: 28.87 mph
Total OD: 182 miles
Total Time: 18:44 minutes

Road Kill: 6
Road Fatality Crosses 6



Geraldine to Stanford, MT, Day 3

What a great send off from Ben. I got up to pancakes, bacon, eggs and juice. All american breakfast wouldn’t you say. Oh, and coffee. Left the house at 8 am.

I knew the day would have some hills. And they did’t disappoint me at all. From Geraldine to Square Butte was painless and for next 12 miles it was just a beautiful day. No wind, very few cars, as one of the next pics will attest too.. So where do you think the little community of Square Butte got its name. Guesses, guesses, take a look at the pic. How would you like this monster for a back window view. OMG for sure

Square Butte

Square Butte

Heading for the hill of course. You read about this hill in the bicycle touring forums. It is called the Arrow Creek Hill.

This hill kills old bicyclists also.

This hill kills old bicyclists also.

Best I can figure is 2.5 miles

Best I can figure is 2.5 miles

Looking back.   Just about to the top

Looking back. Just about
to the top

I did have some fun also. I had stopped for a break almost in the middle of the road as there was just no traffic. I laid the bike over and took this pic. I actually left the bike lay there while I rested and I know it was 20 minutes before a car came along, Pretty sure that was a fluke also as I got back on the bike and it was at least 30 minutes before another vehicle came along. Lay your bike on almost any other street in this country and see how long before it gets run over.

Taking a nap

Taking a nap

Here is my dash panel:


So after the hill it was just a 20 mile ride into Stanford. And what a great time I had in Stanford. So that will continued on the next blog.

Some observations.

America we got to get out and clean up our roads and ditches. They are just full of junk. You name it, it is in the ditch. Might even find some lost souls.

For the folks that did honk, I hope it was a honk of blessing for me. What a shame if it was anything else. I pay taxes. I just happen to be going a little slower and enjoying the view. You should take some time to “smell the roses”.

And now the numbers:

40 miles
time: 6:22 minutes
Max Speed: 28.74

Live Critters: 2 deer, 5 antelope
Road Kill: 3

Auto Fatality Crosses: 3 and here is one of the very sad crosses


Ft. Benton to Geraldine, MT, Day 2

What a hassle setting up the tent and then tearing down to put it all back in the panniers. I will have to spend some time organizing for sure. As it was last night everything got pulled out and scattered around. It would be a lot easier just to hand the credit card to the counter clerk and say I will have a single room please. But no, I opted to rough it. Like riding a bike 1000 miles is not roughing it. Anyway.

Left the Fort (as the residents call it) about 8:00 am. Ft. Benton is on the banks of the Missouri River. So that means over the ions the city and the river are about 500 feet below the rest of terra firma. As most peeps would say, “In a hole”‘. You can carry this blog to the ends of earth but just let me say that coming out of any hole is never fun. So be it with coming out of the Fort. About a half mile of the ugliest grade. Yes I

walked a fair share of it. Skeeters were bad so had to stop and put on some lotion. And the next 29 miles were not much better. Up and down. Truck traffic was busy. Grain trucks to be specific. I would guess that today the price of grain was good so all the farmers were unloading the wheat in prep for the new batch that is growing. They were all very thoughtful and gave me lots of room. Honestly, rural drivers are much better than city drivers.

So here are some pics from today:

Nothing but Blue Sky and Wheat

Nothing but Blue Sky and Wheat


When in Geraldine make sure and visit Rusty's.  Very good food.  Love the fried chicken myself

When in Geraldine make sure and visit Rusty’s. Very good food. Love the fried chicken myself

I will be staying at a good friends house in Geraldine tonight and am looking forward to visiting Ben. Good a peep as you would ever meet anywhere.

And now the numbers:

Miles: 29
Total Time: 4.5 hrs
Avg. Speed: 10 mph
Fastest : 31.5 mph

Road Kill: 5
Old Glory Flying: 1
Auto Fatality Cross: 3

Great Falls to Ft. Benton, Mt. Day 1

Left Michelle standing on the front yard with tears flowing at about 7:45. Not sure if they are happy tears or sad tears. Boy I’m thinking this is nothing but a selfish thing to do on my part. But she almost demanded I do this trip so away I went. Must have been happy tears right?

Taking the back road to Ft. Benton does add about 10 miles but the fact that the traffic is very little made it a very pleasurable ride. Had a slight tail wind but that sure didn’t help with the 4 hills that I had to get over. I’m not ashamed folks. I do have feet and will walk up it if it gets me to the top. Remember now that on the other side of the hill I’m climbing is a hill going down. That is the fun part. The last hill had me going 37MPH on the downside. Weeeeeeeeee!

So here are some images of the this day 1:

Black Eagle falls was running abit of water today.

Black Eagle falls was running abit of water today.

So what was this fellow thinking?  He just left it

So what was this fellow thinking? He just left it

Really the Ferry is Open?

Really the Ferry is Open?

So the Ferry is Open. What a great time to ask the Ferry for fewer hills for this old tired fellow. So I wonders off to find the Ferry to make a wish and find this fellow that looks like Barnacle Bill the Sailer. I ask him if he is a Ferry. Mistake. He insists I not call him a Ferry anymore. Well I guess he must be the bad Ferry as he threatened to put the bike where the sun don’t shine. You believe that story! NOT! I’m an old sailer and the difference between a fairy (Ferry) tail and sea story is, a fairy tale always starts our “once upon a time” and a sea story starts out ” this is no shit” But the sign was real.. We do have about 4 active ferries here on the Missouri River to get peeps back and forth across the river. Not a lot of bridges up here.

Sign of the times of rural America.  Another vacant building in HIghwood, MT.

Sign of the times of rural America. Another vacant building in HIghwood, MT.

A great story behind this dog.  Please read the next photo.  This is very true.  I had a friend who was on the burial detail for Shep.  Sad ending I guess

A great story behind this dog. Please read the next photo. This is very true. I had a friend who was on the burial detail for Shep. Sad ending I guess

She's Story.   Everybody has a Story.

She’s Story. Everybody has a Story.

Now a walking bridge.

Now a walking bridge.

Will take me some time to get used to sleeping in this

Will take me some time to get used to sleeping in this

Nice easy ride to Ft. Benton and camped in the Canoe Campground at the County Fairgrounds. Met Katie and her friend for supper at one of the local Bar/Restaurants.

Now the numbers:

58 Miles
RoadKill: 1 Redwing Blackbird
Old Glory: 3 flying
Auto Fatality Cross: 1

Lost: My Bum. If found please return. Bring on the butte paste.

Going Home

A few years ago while heading to Seattle for some brain surgery I became very interested in all the touring bicycle traffic on the hiways.   Bicycles going East and West heading for who knows where.   I told myself that if I can get through this next big tough event in my life I would take up touring on a bicycle.    Some might argue that the surgery was not successful.   The surgeon did say ” I have some good news for you Mr. Rames,  I did find a brain and you actually might be a little smarter after this”.     Those are all the words I needed to start the next adventure of my life.   Anybody that knows me at all knows that I have done many, many different things in my life.   Some fun, some frustrating, a few expensive and a few  that I still consider part of my life.   Bicycling was given birth in my life about 5 years ago.

Flash ahead to more recently.   I did retire in Sept. of 2014 after a long career in Broadcasting.   In November of 2014 I enrolled in the Professional Bicycle Mechanic and Shop Operation class at United Bicycle Institute in Portland Oregon.    I have to say it was a tough school for an old brain.   But fun it was.   And just a next step in understanding bicycles.  Great school.  Thanks to my niece Angie for housing me in Portland for the time.   And to my wife MichelIe, thank you for giving me the time away.  I passed the school and am now a Certified Bicycle Technician.   Wow dude!

UBI School

The young fellow, come on now you know who that would be, is a professional bike racer and was attending to be able to work on his bikes

After retiring I decided to make my first trip on a bicycle back to Menno, SD for the 4th of July and All Class HS Reunion celebrations. Michelle and I grew up in the area and we still call it home. We both have many friends and family in the area.

My plan was to leave on June 1, 2015 but a few day of delay popped up. But tomm is the start of the trip. 950 miles is the distance. So please check the blog daily as I hope to post stories and pics of the trip. There will no doubt be days when no wifi connection will be available for updating this blog. But the intent is to blog this trip.

We had a sendoff party on Sunday with some friends, neighbors, and family.

Surly Disc Trucker bike with panniers

Surly Disc Trucker bike with panniers

The intent is to camp along the way and check into motels/hotels when the cattle, horses, and people start to avoid me because of odor.

Honestly, have you ever seen how lonely and quiet eastern Montana is? I love it.

So let the trip begin.

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