Day 56. Clyde Park MT. | End: Townsend West MT. | Mileage 3214.8
Seeing that the night was clear and promising, sleep came fast for a change. The wind became my white noise and the cold was somewhat refreshing. Dipping down to the 30’s, the mountain weather doesn’t bother me once I am within my sleeping bag, warm and cozy. As the wind shifts and blows in from the south, I roll over to face the fence, keeping my face warm and my nose from turning Rudolf red.
Not more than a few hours later, we were awaken with a shock. As if the town was playing a sick joke on us, the park sprinkler system kicked on and had its sights on us. Dirk was the first to get hit. Hearing him yell to only being hit myself seconds later, we were up in seconds. Dazed and half asleep we set out on a campaign to kill the mass of water that was raining down on us. Packing my sleeping bag under the tarp and running out into the night, I tried to cover the jet of water with one of our coffee cups. When that failed, getting shot in the back as I tried to run back, I remembered a huge pile of firewood on the other side of the park. Grabbing three huge logs and hauling ass, I constructed a wall barrier. Our nightmare was over and sleep came once more, a little soggy, but swift and refreshing after the battle was won.
The route set forth for the day was long and barren. Towns were non-existent and the water, none. We had to pack smart and press on without too many stops. Each stop would account for wasted time, but a cool down for our legs and time to think was crucial too.
Thinking becomes dangerous to a certain extent. When I look up and see nothing but high dessert terrain with mountains on both the right and left towering above the land, it makes one feel so minuscule….
As we pass what seemed like a ghost town, we turned around and pursued some water. After Dirk asked the postman, the only soul that seemed to be trapped there, we filled up from the tap of a run down school. A school that seemed to once house at most 10 children, now just a beat up old building with car remains in its yard. As we filled the bottles the mosquitoes began to swarm. They were big enough to scare a pit bull and we ran for it. Not more than five miles down the road Dirk informs me that I had mosquitoes on my back. By now I am used to these crafty insects catching a ride as we cycle, only to bite us once we stop some distance down the road. Little did I know how many were truly on me until I slowed down and saw Dirk’s back. His entire back was covered in mosquitoes swarming like a mass of bloodthirsty vampires. He turns around to tell me he started seeing them in his shadow, a mass so big. After a fit of shaking and smacking ourselves with a hat, we managed to get them all off as we hauled ass, leaving the cloud.
We finally reached town after a long climb up several unnecessarily steep hills and one mountain pass. The legs were torn, the spirit almost broken. Having not eaten a true meal today, tons of power bars and a quarter of a subway sandwich from the night before don’t count, I longed for something cooked and full of flavor. As the town was small and lacked some of the big fast food chains that we would have settled for, the corner gas station was again our oasis. Sitting down for a huge 1000 calorie burrito, corn dog, chips, Arizona ice tea and a 44oz mountain dew, I was pretty much set.
There we met Connie, a very nice lady that wasn’t scared of our travel beards. After some short talk, she invites us to camp in her yard rather than pay for the KOA down the road. More than happy, we took the offer and with that decision, all the stress of the day was gone.
We made it to Connie’s house and felt the warmth of Montana hospitality. Connie, her husband Les and son Brandon all built a magnificent house out in the countryside, a true artistic vision. We all bonded instantly, maybe it was the fact we were all artists and loved the outdoors, or maybe just the fact that we all believe in living day by day and enjoying what we have. After a great dinner that almost made me pop I was so full, we all hit the hay.