TRIP 2017

Update #14 - July 02nd
Glasgow, MT
Mission Trip 5,776.57 miles (9,242.80 km)
Year Total : 3,825.52 miles (6,115.53 km)

The ride across Montana is almost over. I should be crossing into North Dakota Wednesday. My turning point and end of this trip leg is Bemidji, Minnesota 620.22 miles (992.35 km) away where I will be turning Southeast for the ride along the Mississippi River to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

June 20, 2017 : Libby, MT to Troy, MT : 22.57 miles (36.11 km)
Trip Total: 5,218.56 miles (8,349.70 km)
Year Total: 3,267.33 miles (5,227.73 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. The room was a lot better than what I had expected. There was a strong wifi signal. I went to sleep around 10 pm. I was pretty surprised that I slept through the night and I woke up a little before 6 am.

I left the motel around 7:30 am. The temperature was a little bit cooler than yesterday because the sky was cloudy. It looked like it might rain.

After about a mile of level ground, there was a several mile climb up to the top of a plateau. I stopped at a roadside rest near a closed weigh station for a short break. From the roadside rest, there was a bit of a downhill run. Once the terraign became level, there was a busy railroad next door. I rode through the Kootenai National Forest.

I stopped to check out Kootenai Falls Park. I didn't go check out the falls and the swinging bridge over the Kootenai River because they were down a steep path. At one of the picnic tables, there was a guy doing some wood carving with chisels and hammers. I thought that the guy was using a quarter portion of a log but the portion of wood that he was using was actually a portion of thick bark from a special tree in the area. The bark that the guy used was about four inches thick and the carving was very textured and several inches thick. The guy told me that the bark of the tree got up to a foot thick.

From the park, there was a good ride into Libby. I got into Libby around 11:30 am. I stopped at a McDs for some lunch. After lunch, I rode around town to check out the churches to see if there was a pastor available to talk to. I stopped at the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod). The pastor was in the office. He wasn't that helpful. He told me that there was really nothing that he could do for me. He didn't stand up to shake my hand.

I rode around the downtown area but I didn't find a bigger church that looked like there was going to be an office. I stopped at the police station. The station was closed so I talked to this guy over the phone. He was the dispatcher for the sheriff department at the courthouse a block away. He told me to come over to the sheriff department and talk to the administrative assistant. The husband of the lady who I talked to was the assistant pastor at the Assembly of God church. The lady called up the sr pastor. The sr pastor was out of town in Kalispell so there was an offer to get me a room at one of the local motels through the ministerial association.

Somebody at the sheriff department suggested that I stop at the local newspaper (The Montanian). The paper comes out on Wednesday. Two young ladies who were in their twenties interviewed me and took pictures of me and Alice. The article should be in next Wednesday's paper. This was the first newspaper interview for the mission trip.

I'll be camping out some place near Happy's Inn tomorrow. This will have me in Kalispell Thursday.

Tropical Storm Cindy is getting ready to hit the Gulf Coast. The storm is going to hit between Houston, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana. Storm surge is going to be one to three inches above normal. Between Mobile, AL and New Orleans, LA, there is going to be between eight and twelve inches of rain.

June 21, 2017 : Libby, MT to Thompson Chain of Lakes Christian Retreat Center (Happys Inn), MT : 46.73 miles (74.77 km)
Trip Total: 5,265.29 miles (8,424.46 km)
Year Total: 3,314.06 miles (5,302.50 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. It was funny that the motel was called the Caboose Motel but there was no railroad motif in the rooms and there wasn't a caboose there. The room was a lot better than what I had expected. There was a strong wifi signal. I went to sleep around 10 pm. I only woke up once but after staying awake a short time I was able to fall back asleep and stay asleep till almost 6:30 am. There was an okay breakfast with bagels, pastries, and orance juice.

Tropical Storm Cindy is suspected to make landfall Thursday morning between Lake Charles and New Orleans, LA. Heavy rains are being felt way over East into the Florida Panhandle 500 miles away. There wasn't any mention if any tornadoes had formed and if so what kind of damage they had done from the feeder bands that have already made landfall. Tropical Storm Cindy's storm track was going to be North up to Monroe, Louisiana and then swing East into NW Mississippi and Southern Tennessee.

I left the motel around 7:40 am. The temperature was close to sixty and the sky was clear. The high was supposed to be in the upper seventies. I rode across the street to a grocery store so I could buy some milk and some lip balm with sun screen. The ride East went okay. There were a few slightly steep climbs but there were some good downhills. In some places, I had a tailwind to push me along.

Around noon, I stopped alongside the road to have some lunch out of my food pannier. The break was about 35 minutes long. While I was packing up, this guy in van stopped. He told me that he was a Christian. we talked for about 8 minutes. The guy asked me if I needed anything. I told him that funds would always be appreciated. I thought that he was going to pull out his wallet to give me some money but instead he looked around for something else to give me. I don't really know how he could find anything in the van because it was really packed with stuff behind him and so was the passenger seat next to him. Don't know whether he lived in his van or he was just a hoarder. He told me that he had some extra AA batteries but I told him that I had no use for them. Nothing else came to his mind. He told me that he wanted to pray for me. He took my right hand in his right hand. As he was praying out loud, he was squeezing my right hand hard. The guy's expressed thoughts were really disjointed and were not really anything like a prayer. After about fix or six minutes of this rambling, I uttered Amen out loud and he stopped and let go of my hand. The guy was smiling when he left but he really left me puzzling why he ever even stopped. He didn't have any real idea or wants to help me out. His curiosity got the best of him. His words surely didn't match what he did. Just another person with dead faith.

The afternoon ride went okay. I got to see several deer along the way. I had one deer stop to look at me for about ten minutes. The vehicular traffic that passed it didn't scare it. I got to within fifty feet of it when it turned around and scampered into the woods.

I got into Happy's Inn around 6:00 pm. There wasn't much there. The gas station/ store/ inn was closed and up for sale. The only thing open was a small bar/ eatery across the highway. I was able to bring in several water bottles to fill them up using the men's room sink and I bought a cold soda to drink outside. After about a twenty minute break on a side porch, I rode across the road to check out a Christian church that was next to a fire station. The church was a church plant from the Christian Church in Libby. There wasn't a sign that mentioned any services. It was about 6:30 pm and nobody was around. I rode back to the closed gas station to use one of the port-a-toilets there.

I headed East out of Happys Inn. It was a quick ride because I was on a slight downhill and there was a tailwind. I was looking for some place in some woods where I could camp out but I was in a barbed wire fence corridor. About four miles East of Happys Inn, I saw a sign for the Thompson Chain of Lakes Christian Retreat Center. The Christian retreat center was a half mile to the South. There was a campground. The camp host had an RV. Even though I should have gone through the church who ran the retreat center, I was given permission to camp out in a camping spot that had electricity and water. I was warned that they had a bear visit the campground a couple of days ago. I feel that I'm going to be okay because there is somebody in a tent close by and I'm less that a hundred feet away from the camp host.

June 22, 2017 : Thompson Chain of Lakes Christian Retreat Center (Happys Inn), MT to Columbia Falls, MT : 67.67 miles (108.27 km)
Trip Total: 5,332.96 miles (8,532.47 km)
Year Total: 3,381.73 miles (5,410.77 km)

I had an okay night camping out at the retreat center. It was a double plus to be able to plug in my laptop inside my tent and also have access to wifi. Before I crawled into my tent, I watched a deer run through the campground and jump over the fence behind me. It was probably thirty feet away.

I was surprised at sleeping through the night even though it was a little cold. I got about six hours of sleep. I woke up a little after 6 am. It was also nice having access to a warm restroom.

It was about 7:35 am when I got back on the highway. There was some gradual climbs till about the small hamlet of Yakt. Once I crossed into Flathead County, I lost my great shoulder that I had from the state line. What small shoulder there was was covered in either small stones or piles of dirt. I tried to stay very close to the white line because the speed limit was 70 mph for cars and 65 mph for trucks. I rode my mirror a lot.

By 12:30 pm, I had the first twenty miles in. I found a spot off the road to have some lunch out of the food pannier. It got warm enough to take my jacket off. I started to ride through the Lola National Forest.

About 18 miles out of Kalispell, the highway sloped downward just beyond a place called McGregor Prairie. There was a two mile section of six percent grade. The downhill run lasted almost nine miles. The coast was tricky because of all of the truck traffic. There were a lot of logging trucks that pulled loaded trailors and there were also dump trucks pulling long trailors that were filled with rock and stone.

Near the small town of Kila, I got off US 2 and started to ride on a bike path. This was a rails to trails conversion of the old Great Northern Railroad line. The paved path lasted almost 9 miles. I got dumped out in a weird location where there were no signs. I stopped at an Albertsons to get a few things.

It took a while finding the public safety building in downtown Kalispell. I had about a fifteen minute wait before I could talk to an officer. The officer tried to contact one of the department's chaplains but he wasn't able to. I was given a couple of phone numbers to some agencies but these were probably closed for the day.

It was about 7:45 pm when I headed out of Kalispell towards Columbia Falls. The ride was pretty flat. I was hoping to find some place to camp out but there were little or no woods and if there were any woods there was no access to them.

I got into Columbia Falls around 9:20 pm. It was too late to try and find the police station so I headed out. It looked like there might be some open woods on the East side of the town. I rode over the Flathead River. On the East side of the river, I spotted some woods on top of a hill. There were signs saying that the property was for sale. There was a path going up to the top of the hill. I found a spot near some trees and some tall bushes in some tall grass to put up my tent. Somebody had stayed there before because there was a small pile of chopped woods and a small fire ring. I was able to get my tent up without using any lights. It was probably about 10:30 pm, when I had all of my things in my tent. I'm about 60 miles away from Marias Pass. The goal for tomorrow is to try and get as close as I can, find some place to camp out, and get over the Pass early Saturday.

June 23, 2017 : Columbia Falls, MT to West Glacier Village, MT : 20.23 miles (32.37 km)
Trip Total: 5,353.19 miles (8,565.10 km)
Year Total: 3,401.96 miles (5,443.14 km)

I had an okay night camping out. It was kind of weird camping out on top of a hill and hearing the traffic below me. It was about 11:30 pm when I fell asleep. I did wake up a couple of times during the night but I was able to fall asleep till around 6 am. It was really cool so I had to get out my jacket.

It was about 7:40 am when I got back on the highway. My good road shoulder had disappeared to almost something ten inches wide. For about two miles, I had to get through a work zone where they were preparing to widen the road. Once I crossed the Flathead River, the highway was much improved and there was a shoulder.

On the outskirts of Hungry Horse, I stopped at a church that was having an indoor yard sale. I bought an insulated metal thermos with carrying case for $.50. For sale at the church was a large HO model train layout and lots of track. The only problem was that the track was made in the 1960s so it was out of date.

Going into Hungry Horse, I got on a newly paved bike path that is supposed to go till West Glacier Village. I stopped at the Montana Fur Trading Company. There were some neat exhibits outside. There was a large metal sculpture of a buffalo that was welded. There were some nice things inside but they didn't allow cell phones. One of the weirdest things that they had for sale was dried raccoon penises.

I stopped to watch some people on a rope course with zip lines. The bike path switched to the North side of the highway. About five miles out of Hungry Horse, I met up with guy who had started in Calgary and was going to go to Missoula, MT and then South into Colorado.

About eight miles out of Hungry Horse, the rear tire went soft. I found one small hole but patching it didn't solve the problem. It was too noisy from traffic and wind noise that I couldn't hear the leak. As I was working on the tube, a young couple on bikes stopped. They were from the Chicago area. They had taken the Amtrak to Kalispell and had started the bike ride from Whitefall and were riding into Glacier National Park for a few days stay and then were taking Amtrak from West Glacier Village to Seattle to ride in the Olympics for a while. The guy helped me find a leak that was in a ribbed section. We got it patched and also he helped me put some electrical tape to cover up the rim strip that had some holes in it. The wife's pump had a tire gauge. We got the tire inflated to 60 psi.

The tube lasted till West Glacier Village. Even though there was the bike path, no store in the area really sold bike tubes or other repair stuff. There should have at least been a bike shop. There used to be one (bicycle rental place) but it was moved to Apgar but to get there you had to pay the entrance fee to the National park. I found two tubes at outdoor store about a quarter mile west of the village but they had just two tubes (20 inch and a 700cc). None of these two could help me.

I limped back into the village. A gas station had an air hose. I used up the last of my glue to fix one leak. I got the tube inflated but I didn't feel comfortable not having either a new tube or a patch kit. I planned to just find a place to camp out.

On the way out of town, I walked passed the Amtrak railroad station. In the hill next to it were some prairie dogs. I watched in disgust this pit bull who was trying to dig out the prairie dog holes to capture and kill the prairie dogs. The pit bull had a harness and leash on it. I didn't see the owner of the dog so it must have gotten loose some place.

I found a spot up a hill about a quarter of a mile to camp out. The hill was kind of steep so I had to portage my gear up it. At least the place where I camped out was almost flat.

Tomorrow morning, I've got to go back into the village to see if I can either buy a patch kit some place or see if I can ask one of the bicyclists who are there if they have some extra glue or patches.

June 24, 2017 : West Glacier Village, MT to Pinnacle, MT : 25.49 miles (40.78 km)
Trip Total: 5,378.68 miles (8,605.89 km)
Year Total: 3,427.45 miles (5,483.92 km)

I had an okay night camping out. It was kind of weird camping out on top of a hill and hearing the traffic below me. There was a lot of noise from the locomotive engines idling waiting to head out. I was able to fall asleep around 10 pm. I woke ip once and I woke up around 6 am. I had to do some sewing on my clothes before I took my tent down. I had to pump up the rear tire because it was flat.

It was around 8:30 am when I started the walk down the hill. I thought that I would might have to portage everything down the hill because it was really steep but I was able to carefully walk the bike down the hill. I walked back into West Glacier Village. I was able to buy a patch kit at the merchantile but the patches were made for inner tubes and blow up stuff. I walked back to the gas station and sat on the picnic table in back where the restroom and air hose was. It took five water bath tests in the restroom sink to find a small pinhole leak. While I was patching this hole, the guy from the gas station came by to see how I was doing. The gas station actually sold a bike patch kit that was cheaper than what I paid at the merchantile. I was able to fix both inner tubes.

It was around 10:30 am when I headed out towards Marias Pass. The ride along US 2 went okay but the shoulder was kind of narrow and there was a lot of traffic. Most of the traffic was from river rafting companies. The ride East went okay. I rode through the Southern edge of Glacier National Park. I saw a sign that said that I was coming into Bear country.

I stopped to check out some waterfalls and to watch the rafters on the middle fork of the Flathead River. For lunch, I stopped along side the highway to eat out of the food pannier. I took a break of about twenty minutes.

I stopped at a trailhead to use the pit toilet. I stopped to talk with a young family from the Netherlands. They were traveling in an old Mercedes German Army truck that had been converted into an rv. The truck was shipped across the ocean to Baltimore, MD and they were traveling around the country. The family had three young children between seven and three. The oldest was a young boy. I talked to the father for about fifteen minutes. His English was really good.

About twelve miles more down the highway, I stopped to check out a plastic pipe that was sticking out of the hill. There was a fast stream of really good water. I filled up my water bottles. As I was getting ready to leave, I met up with another guy who was travelling Westward on a loaded bicycle. He had started in Kent, Ohio and was riding to Kent, Washington. I had a good time talking to him. I got to witness with him. It was interesting that he was carrying several Christian cards with him. He said he was really close to accepting Jesus but he never heard of the Holy Spirit. I almost got out my small Bible to give to him but I did tell him about the free Bible app for his cellphone. We talked for about twenty minutes.

About a half mile down the road, I rode passed two other guys were were touring and heading West. I told them about the water pipe. I was just able to yell across the highway to them. They were travelling kind of light.

I decided to stop about a mile further down the highway. There was some woods on the North side of the highway outside of Pinnacle. The woods wasn't that thick but the trees were far from the highway. There was a slope down the hill to the river below but I was able to get the tent pitched so the tent was sort of flat. I camped out about a hundred feet from the road. I locked up Alice to a small evergreen tree in a flot of tall white plants. I learned that the plants were called bear grass.

I'm about eighteen miles away from Marias Pass.

June 25, 2017 : Pinnacle, MT to M.P. 247 (Gunsight), MT : 72.27 miles (115.63 km)
Trip Total: 5,450.95 miles (8,721.52 km)
Year Total: 3,499.72 miles (5,599.55 km)

I had an okay night camping out even though I was close to the highway and the railroad. I was able to get some rest. It was warm enough that I didn't wake up during the night. My tent was a little slanted so my sleeping bag kept on slipping off the sleeping pad. I used my sleep mask.

There was some kind of refuse drop off across the highway. Two trucks stopped near the entrance and the guys stood out of their vehicles to talk. They must have spotted me because they came close to the edge of the highway to check me out. I almost had Alice packed up. When they saw me put my bike flag up, they left.

I was back on US 2 by around 7:45 am. It was a little cool but I didn't get out my jacket. The ride East went okay. There was only one sort of steep section of highway to get up. It wasn't steep enough for a slow moving vehicle lane. The grade was maybe 4 percent.

Along the way, I stopped to take some good pictures. Along the railroad, there were quite a few long snow sheds. I was able to take some great pictures of an Amtrak train heading East through one of the snow sheds.

Around 11:30 am, I stopped at a bar/restaurant to fill up my water bottles, use the restroom, and to buy something cold to drink. I sat on the front porch to have some lunch out of my food pannier. From the restaurant, it was an okay ride to Marias Pass. It was a little longer than what I had expected.

It was really great getting up to the top of Marias Pass. I got to the Continental Divide at Marias Pass around 1:45 PM MST. Marias Pass was 5,230 feet above sea level. I might have gotten beyond 5,280 feet above sea level because I had to climb up a hill and go down it about a quarter of a mile to the West. I took several photos of Alice at the pass sign. I also stopped to take some photos of the different monuments. There was a monument to Pres Teddy Roosevelt. US 2 is designated the Teddy Roosevelt International Highway. The monument was a marker between Flathead National Forest and the Lewis and Clark National Forest.

Once I arrived at Marias Pass, I was basically out of the Rocky Mountains. The mountain chain was going from the Southeast to the Northwest. I was now in the high plains. The terraign was a lot flatter. The ride downhill was gradual and there was a tailwind to push me along.

The ride to East Glacier Village went okay. A couple of miles West of East Glacier Village, I started the ride through Glacier County and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. There was a lot of tourists in East Glacier Village. I stopped at a gas station to fill up my water bottles and to get something cold to drink.

I was planning to stop in the area but I decided to keep on going. About five miles out of Browning, I started to ride along the Blackfeet Bison Reserve. There was a huge herd of bison. The herd was right close to the highway. There must have been at least a thousand head. There was a lot of young buffalo. I took some pictures and a short video. The herd must have stretched out for a mile.

The rest of the ride into Browning went okay. I found a nice water bottle along the way. I got into Browning around 6 pm. I've not been in Browning in 25 years. There was a new casino/hotel complex on the west side of the town. The rest of the town looked kind of rough. There were a lot of bars and places where you could buy alcohol but not that many churches. The two churches that I did see were closed. I stopped at a grocery store for a loaf of bread and a gas station on the East side of the town to fill up my water bottles again.

It was around 7 pm when I headed out of Browning. The tailwind was stiff and pushed me along. The miles clipped by fast. The plains was pretty flat but I was losing elevation gradually. Most of the way, I was in a barbed wire fence canyon. There wasn't any open land. There were signs warning of range cattle.

By 9 pm, the sun was still high in the sky. Around 9:30 pm, the sun finally started to go down. I got out my safety lights. Right around dusk, I found a spot to camp out. On the western edge of a closed down farm was a double row (snow roll) of tightly packed bushes and trees. There was a stretch of tall grass between them. The grass was almost four feet tall so it would give my tent a lot of cover. I went into the trees about fifty feet and stamped down the grass to make a spot to [itch my tent. I was on the road about fourteen hours.

I'm about nine miles out of Cut Bank. I'm either going to try and stop in Cut Bank to connect with a minister to see if I could try and take a partial day off the road or go on to Shelby and stop there.

June 26, 2017 : M.P. 247 (Gunsight), MT to Cut Bank, MT : 11.73 miles (18.77 km)
Trip Total: 5,462.68 miles (8,740.29 km)
Year Total: 3,511.54 miles (5,618.32 km)

I had an okay night camping out. The grass made a soft sleeping area and I didn't wake up during the night. The grass was tall enough to hide my tent. I woke up around 5 am but I was able to fall back asleep till around 6:30 am.

I got back on US 2 around 8 am. The ride to Cut Bank went by quickly. On the west edge of Cut Bank, there was a steep drop down into a valley where there was a small river and then there was a steep climb up into Cut Bank. I also rode out of the Blackfeet Indian Nation. Largest Indian tribe in Montana - 16,000.

There was a McDs and I was hoping to have a working breakfast. In the parking lot was a really loaded touring bike with a bob trailor. There were signs in back saying that the owner was on a perimeter ride and they had started from Toledo, Ohio. The person was raising money for Habitat for Humanity and Save Our Children. I met Alan inside. He told me that he had started his ride three years ago but he had taken a little over a year break back in Toledo. He had started this year's ride in Portland, OR on June 06th. Along the way, he had stopped to volunteer with Habitat affiliates. The last one was in Spokane, WA. There weren't any electric outlets in the dining area so I just got a large sweet tea and sent off some emails on my cell phone. Before we parted company, we took pictures of our bikes.

I was going to ride to Shelby but I decided to try and stop for the rest of the day. It's been ten days since I've had some time off the road. I rode around the town to check out the churches. I couldn't find anybody at the churches. I did stop at the Presbyterian Church and saw a sign that said the office was open on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I stopped at the police department. I talked to a friendly officer. He's been with the police force for a year and before that with the sheriff department for three years. The officer offered to take me to a local motel on the East side of the town and get me a room through the ministerial association.

I'll be either riding to Shelby tomorrow or push on to Chester. There are four days left in June and I could pass the 1,000 mile mark. I'm only 157 miles shy of 1,000. Last month, I rode just 509 miles and in April I only rode 194 miles.

In 1891, the Great Northern Railroad started a settlement in the area. Settlement and a station and a wooden trestle bridge. Population was 26. In 1909, area started to be homesteaded. Town was incorporated in 1911. In 1919, Cut Bank became county seat of Glacier County.

June 27, 2017 : Cut Bank, MT to Chester, MT : 70.84 miles (113.34 km)
Trip Total: 5,533.52 miles (8,853.63 km)
Year Total: 3,582.29 miles (5,731.66 km)

I had an okay afternoon and night at the motel. The room was okay. There was supposed to be wifi but the internet was down. I got about 7 hrs of sleep.

I left the motel around 7:50 am. There was a good tailwind to push me along. After cycling a little over six miles, I realized that something was missing. I had forgotten the bike safety flag. When I had taken all of the stuff off of Alice and carried them into the motel room yesterday afternoon, I had put the safety flag in a corner of the room not near the two places where I had put my panniers and camping gear. The corner was between the wall mounted air conditioner and the desk on which the microwave and minifridge were stacked on top of each other. The flag might have slipped behind the microwave and fridge. This was the classic case of "out of sight, out of mind". Going back to the motel against the tailwind would have taken me almost an hour and a half. I couldn't justify in my mind wasting most of the morning so I decided to keep on going East. I've got a lime green hand towel fastened above my sleeping bag so this should give me some extra safety visibility. I'll just have to be more safety conscious until I can find another fiberglass pole and a flag.

The ride to Shelby went okay. I got there about 11 am. I stopped at a grocery store to get a loaf of bread. Being that it was going to be warm in the afternoon, I thought that I would try and connect with a minister. I found the secretary in at the Lutheran Church. She gave me directions to the First Baptist Church because the pastor there was in charge of the ministerial association. When I got to the First Baptist Church, there was nobody there. I stopped at the Toole County Sheriff department. The lady at the window contacted the pastor of the First Baptist Church. I was told that they only helped women and children during the summer months. Classic excuses for churches near an interstate. Before heading out, I stopped to get something cold to drink.

The afternoon ride went okay. There was one big hill to climb East of Shelby. This hill was steep because there was a slow moving vehicle lane. The tailwind kept on blowing. There were a few other hills to climb but nothing major like the Shelby Hill. The miles went by pretty quickly. I rode passed the Sweet Grass Mountains that were to my North. I did see two deer along the way.

About two miles out of Chester, a guy on a loaded bike rode passed me going West. He yelled out to me that he was going to try and push to Shelby. Good luck with that idea since it was almost 6:30 pm. Even with the tailwind, it had taken me nearly six hours of steady riding to get here from Shelby.

In downtown Chester, I stopped at the Liberty County sheriff department. There was a friendly Christian lady at the desk. She got me a bottle of water. She called around to some of the local pastors to see if somebody could come and talk to me and also maybe give me a voucher for a motel room through the ministerial association program. One of the pastors (a guy named John - he didn't give me his last name or what church he belongs to) did come by. The guy wasn'ty that helpful. He told me that the ministerial association only helps people out with motel rooms who are either injured or stranded for some kind of reason. He told me that people couldn't stay at a church (especially his) without advance notice. He led me from the sheroff department over to the city park where I was told that this is the place where cyclists spend the night. The majority of the grass in the park is off limits to camping because it is on a sprinkler system. There is a large pavilion that isn't fully enclosed but there are signs that say no camping in the pavilion. There is a narrow strip of grass between the pavilion and the street but it is too close to the street. There is a covered picnic area with a concrete slab and that is the place where I'll feel the most secure. At least, there is a restroom building in the park that is open and has real toilets and sinks with water.

My goal for tomorrow is Havre 61 miles away. There are a couple of small towns along the way. The biggest of these towns is Kremlin about 42 miles East of Chester. Technically, I'm almost a third of the way across the USA. From Ft Stevens S.P. (Hammond, OR) to Kittery, ME is roughly about 3,568.2 miles (5,709.12 km).

June 28, 2017 : Chester, MT to Havre, MT : 64.78 miles (103.65 km)
Trip Total: 5,598.30 miles (8,957.25 km)
Year Total: 3,647.07 miles (5,835.31 km)

I had an okay night camping out in the city park in Chester. The night was kind of quiet even though I really close to the street. Camping out under the shelter was a good idea. I was able to plug in my laptop and I watched a movie before going to bed. Sometime after dark, I heard the distinctive sound of hoof prints of a horse riding along the stone road through the park. There were also the sounds of fireworks going off. For the past couple of days, I've seen fireworks stands on the sides of the roads.

It took a while for me to fall asleep because a spot on my lower lip hurt some. I slept till around 4 am. After staying up a few minutes, I was able to fall back asleep till around 6 am using my sleep mask. I packed up quickly.

I was back on the road around 7 am. The ride East went okay because there was a tailwind to push me along. The only problem that I had was depending on what county you were in, the road shoulder went from very wide to something that had a continuous rumble strip in it. I used my mirror a lot so I could ride left of the white lane whenever possible.

There were a lot of prairie dogs on the sides of the roads. I was able to ride up really close to them before they scampered off into the tall grass. There were a few deer that rain across the road.

A couple of miles out of the small town of Gilford, I met up with a young couple on bikes who were traveling West. They had started someplace in Massachusetts and were going to Seattle. They had taken Amtrak across North Dakota and started across Montana in Havre. This was their first day in Montana. I told them about the ride along US 2 to Monroe, WA close to Seattle. They were happy to know that they were at least 900 miles from Seattle.

By noon, I had ridden 32 miles. I was going to stop in the small town of Kremlin but I decided to go on to Havre. The ride was a lot harder because the shoulder was really bad. A couple of miles out of Havre, two touring cyclists shot passed me going East. They didn't slow down to stop to talk to me.

I got into Havre around 5:30 pm. I stopped at the McDs. I was hoping to get my laptop charged up but there were no outlets in the dining area. I used my cell phone to check my email. I found out that I got on online donation from a friend of mine in Hattiesburg, MS. It came in yesterday. I should have access to the funds Monday.

I rode into the downtown area. Before stopping at the police station, I had to stop in the parking lot of a church to switch inner tubes. I've got to get a new inner tube soon. There is a bike shop in town. At the police station, I learned that they had no chaplain and there wasn't really a ministerial association. There was a Salvation Army in town but nobody had an contact numbers I was told that I could camp out in a city park a couple of blocks away. I rode over to the park to check it out.

Before going into the park to find someplace to camp out, I decided to ride around the downtown area to see if I could find a church that had a Wed night service. I stopped at the New Hope Apostolic Church (United Pentacostal). There was a small congregation. Most of the people there including the pastor were Native American. They were probably connected to the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation South of Havre. I was given the chance to share. There was a lady who spoke in so-called toungues but there was nobody to interpret. The pastor talked about false spirits. There could have been a false spirit in the church that night but nobody had the gift of discernment. I thought the pastor might be open to let me stay in the church overnight but he wsn't. He told me that he had to have the alarm system turned on at night because there are a lot of transients in the area and the church had been broken into a couple of times. It sounds like the church hasn't fully given God the control of their church. I didn't talk to the pastor about Matthew 25.

I rode over to the park. I was told that there was going to be lawn sprinklers going off mid morning. Near the playground was a shelter next to a concrete picnic table. There was enough room to pitch my tent under the roof. I locked up Alice to a metal support pole. I was hoping to be able to plug in my laptop like last night but the outlet in the shelter was dead. At least there was a restroom building but it wasn't going to be left open all night.

I'm not sure how much sleep I'm going to get because it was quite noisy. The railroad was just four blocks away and Havre had a division yard. This is where trains are put together and is also where trains get the extra locomotives to help them get through the mountains if they are going West.

Before heading East tomorrow morning, I'm going to have to backtrack to the Walmart that I had passed coming into the area to buy a new inner tube. I'm going to risk using what little I've got in my bank account because I've got the new funds coming in.

June 29, 2017 : Havre, MT to Chinook, MT : 29.74 miles (47.58 km)
Trip Total: 5,628.04 miles (9,004.86 km)
Year Total: 3,676.81 miles (5,882.90 km)

There were a lot of families with young kids playing in the playground till around 10 pm. A city worker came by and locked up the bathroom. I was able to get maybe 4.5 hrs of sleep. I had Alice almost packed up before 6 am. A city worker came by to open up the restroom. I was able to fill up my water bottles. I had to switch inner tubes again.

I left the park around 6:30 am and headed to the Walmart. While I was heading West, the two cyclists who passed me yesterday afternoon were cycling East. They must have stopped at a motel on the west side of Havre. They were so focused on what they were doing they didn't notice me on the other side of the highway. The walmart was open so I was able to go in and buy the new inner tube, a loaf of bread, and some razors. It took me about 15 minutes to put in the new inner tube.

The ride back through Havre went okay. There was a good tailwind to push me along. The ride to Chinook went okay. I was getting kind of concerned about getting caught out in a storm because the clouds in the sky were getting dark. I got the first 20 miles in by 10:20 am. The sky was almost black behind me when I got into Chinook. I was thinking about trying to call it a short day instead of attempting to ride on to Harlem. It started to sprinkle. I got into the downtown area of Chinook around 11:30 am.

I saw some activity at the United Methodist Church. Kids were coming by with bicycles. There was supposed to be a bike ride in the afternoon. There was also a sign that said "Loaves and Fishes". During the eleven weeks of summer, the local churches come together to provide noon day meals for kids of all ages Monday through Friday. Most of the kids wouldn't have gotten anything to eat during the day because they got free lunches during the school year. At least 4 dozen kids showed up between ages of two and fifteen. I got to meet the Methodist, Assembly of God, and ELCA minister. The ELCA minister was a lady and she offered to get me a room at one of the local motels. There were also about a dozen adults there to help out. I was told that over half of these kids come from families who don't attend church. This is like an extended vacation bible school. After singing some songs, the kids sit down to a home cooked meal served family style. I sat down at one of the tables and helped the kids. After the meal, I was given to share what I am doing and there was a great Q/A afterwards. The ELCA pastor told me that the kids were more attentive to what I'm doing than during regular times. After the Q/A, I helped some of the kids with their arts 'n crafts project. The program was done around 1:30 pm. I was so glad that I decided to stop for the day early.

My goal for tomorrow is to ride to Malta 64 miles away. I'll be either riding through the Ft Belknap Indian Reservation or follow the railroad along the old Savoy Road (MT 396). It's the same distance but the terraign might be a little flatter and I'll be going through some more small towns.

June 30, 2017 : Chinook, MT to Malta, MT : 71.37 miles (114.19 km)
Trip Total: 5,699.41 miles (9,119.06 km)
Year Total: 3,748.18 miles (5,997.09 km)

I had a good afternoon and night at the motel. I took a little over a three hour nap. I did stay up a little late.

I left the motel around 7:30 am. The ride East went okay. I got the first 20 miles in by 10:20 am. I took a short break at a gas station in Harlem. It's good that I had stopped in Chinook because there wasn't much in Harlem. I started the ride through the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. I stopped at a gas station in Fort Belknap Agency for some lunch.

The afternoon ride went okay. The tailwind kept on pushing me. I didn't see any deer but I did see some prairie dogs. The only problem that I had were mosquitoes and no-see-ums. They really swarmed on me and stayed in my slip stream especially around my face. I put on a lot of mosquito spray but that didn't help much.

I got into Malta around 6:30 pm. I stopped at an Albertsons for a few groceries. As I was packing up a lady stopped to talk to me and she slipped me $20. I rode around downtown area but I couldn't find either police or sheriff. I stopped at the St Marks's Catholic church. Friendly priest. He has been a priest nine years. I was offered the use of education building for the night.

July 01, 2017 : Malta, MT to Glasgow, MT : 76.34 miles (122.14 km)
Trip Total: 5,775.57 miles (9,241.20 km)
Year Total: 3,824.52 miles (6,113.93 km)

I had a good night camping out in the education center of the St Marks Catholic Church in Malta. I could have slept on one of the sofas in the large room up front but it was the old chapel and there were a lot of Catholic icons and statues. The back drop for the altar was still in place with the crucifix but the altar was gone. I don't sleep or eat in sanctuaries. I decided to sleep in one of the classrooms that didn't have any Catholic icons in it. The Catholic ten commandments were on a black board. Missing of course was "Do not worship any other gods, do not have any false icons, do not have any graven images".

The priest did give me permission to eat anything in the kitchen and I was able to pack up anything to take along. I had some ice cream for dessert. I slept on the floor in my sleeping bag but I didn't use my sleeping pad because there was carpetng.

Before going to sleep. I spent some time thinking about what the priest and I talked about before he went back to the rectory. He told me that the Catholic Church was the one true church and everybody in Heaven will be Catholic. Being an Evangelical Christian minister for almost eighteeen years, I'm pretty sure that this isn't the case. I tell everybody that I'm more Spiritual than Religious. Religion is man's attempt to put God in their box. We should be willing to put ourselves in God's box.

In a kitchen trashcan, I found a large wooden dowel three feet long and I found a yellow felt square so I was able to make a safety flag. The wooden sitck isn't really long but it should work. I got maybe five hours of sleep. There was a bathroom scale in one of the restrooms. I was surprised to see that I was down to 180 pounds. I've been noticing that my pants have been getting looser. Hopefully, the weight loss will keep on going. I'd like to either get into the mid 160s or mid 170s.

I woke up a little after 5 am. It was a little before 7 am when I left the church. Once I got out in the country, the wind pushed me along. I got the first 20 miles in by 10:15 am. I got into the small town of Saco a little after noon. There wasn't much in town. What stores there were on one one side of the highway and the railroad was on the right (South) side of the highway. I stopped at the grocery store to get something cold to drink and I sat at a bench at the library next door and got some lunch out of my food pannier.

I was back on the road in about twenty minutes. Between Saco and Hinsdale, the mosquitoes were pretty bad. I couldn't stop very long to take a break. They were pretty bad in hilly sections. I used a lot of bug spray but this didn't stop them from swarming in my face. When I got above 10 mph, they left me.

About a couple of miles out of Saco, I met up with two guys on loaded bikes going West. The older guy was from Germany. The younger guy (American) had started from some place in MA and he was riding to either Seattle or Anacortes, WA. I didn't get any information about the german guy's travels. We didn't talk much because of the mosquitoes. I learned that the guys had camped out in the yard of the Comfort Inn. The German guy told me that his prescription glasses got stolen last night. The guy was just using a bivvy bag instead of a tent. The American guy was using a small one man tent. He told me that he was charged $22 to take a shower in one of the motel rooms. They did tell me that there was a park for cyclists but they didn't know where it was. Both of them had started on US 2 in Wolf Point. The Adventure Cycling Northern Tier Route doesn't go through the Williston, ND area because of all of the gas and oil activity. They come into Montana at Sidney and go West to Circle before heading North to Wolf Point. That's a distance of almost 52 miles to the South. The younger guy told me that instead of going over the Continental Divide at Marias Pass he was going North at Browning to St Mary so he could ride over Logan Pass and through Glacier National Park to West Glacier Village and then get back on US 2.

Once I got out of the hills, the mosquitoes lessoned up. I stopped at a gas station in Hinesdale for a short break. The rest of the ride to Glasgow was slow because the wind had switched to being a crosswind and the shoulder got pretty rough. About four miles out of Glasgow, the shoulder got better.

I got into Glasgow around 8 pm. I stopped at the McDs for a late lunch. I then rode around the downtown area to see if I could find the city park where I was told that cyclists could stay at. I stopped at the sheriff department. I was told that the park for cyclists was on US 2 near the East end of town. The park was still under development. There was a picnic table under a tree but the ground was sloped. There was a barn silo on a concrete slab that had a opening and there was a picnic table. The silo had a hole at the top. I was hoping that there was a restroom and some water available but there wasn't. There was enough space to pitch my tent inside.

I had passed two churches coming into town (First Lutheran and First United Methodist). I'm thinking about checking out the First Lutheran church tomorrow.

Going through my trip journals I found out that I had ridden through this part of Montana in late June of 2008. This was during the double coast to coast between March 03rd and Sept 08. I had cycled 8,967.67 miles that trip and I had stopped in Glasgow June 26, 2008.

July 02, 2017 : Glasgow, MT to Glasgow, MT : 01.00 miles (01.60 km)
Trip Total: 5,776.57 miles (9,242.80 km)
Year Total: 3,825.52 miles (6,115.53 km)

I had a good night camping out in the grain silo shelter of the bicyclist's park. It was warm enough that I didn't crawl into my sleeping bag. The wind was really blowing through the trees and rattled the metal of the silo. I did wake up a couple of times during the night but I was able to fall back asleep. I was surprised that it was 7 am when I woke up even though I wasn't using the sleep mask. I had to go through my clothes pannier to find some clean clothes. I got out my back up pair of pants and my non-recumbent jersey. I had to do some sewing on my pants so that they would stay up.

It was about 8:20 when I left the park and headed back into town to the McDs for some breakfast. After breakfast, I rode to the First Lutheran Church (ELCA). People were already showing up because the service was going to start at 9:30 am. There was a bike rack out front so I locked up Alice to it.

I didn't really get a good first impression when I entered the church. There were some older people sitting around in the narthax. Instead of being greeted with a smile, I got a gruff voice from the guy who was giving out bulletins and he said "What do you want". I told me "Church". I had to ask him to give me a bulletin. It was pretty interesting that the main emphasis of the service was "Matthew 10:40-42" - Welcoming (serving) others, as a way to welcome Christ . There was a really large pipe organ. There was a large collection of elderly sitting in the back pews. Only one of the ladies came by to talk to me before the service.

The church has been without a full time pastor since last Christmas. They have a lay leader and I got to meet her before the service. The church might be getting an interim pastor in a couple of months. The service was on the radio so everything was pretty well planned. There wasn't any time to either acknowledge me. There wasn't any time to mention any prayer request or praises so I wasn't able to say anything.

After the service, I was very curious on what was going to happen if I saw anything about trying to find someplace to spend the day. Several people were contacted including the vice chairman of the church council. I was given the permission to stay downstairs tonight. The room had sofas and there was a television. Before leaving, the vice chairman slipped me $40 in a GH. I was given the password to the wifi network and a large bag of the leftover cookies.

I'll be riding to Wolf Point tomorrow. I was told by the two cyclists that it was unsafe to camp out in the park. I'll either try and connect with a minister like I did back in 2008 I might either try and get a motel room or keep on going and try and find someplace in the next town of Poplar. Between Nashua and Blair, I'll be cycling across the Fort Peck Indian Reservation

The next update will be posted between July 09th and July 16th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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