Canada 2013

Day 15

June 29

  Today is a real tough route - get on I90 and ride 740 miles to Gillette, Wyoming. On trips like these, it's just the sort of days you have to put in to get where you need to be. That's why I have my ST1100s set up to be as comfortable as you can be on two wheels. After yesterday's little 'challenge', I sleep in until I wake up naturally. But it's probably still early by most folks standards when I hit the road.  
  It looks pretty gloomy but there are plenty of places to pull over on the slab if I need to get the rain suit on.  
  Seeing that bright spot up ahead, I hope that there is sunshine over the next pass.  
  And it's still holding off as I make rapid progress down the ribbons of asphalt.  
  Soon I have another challenge to face as I come upon some really nasty gravel on the interstate. In all my travels on two wheels, this has to be first time I have seen gravel in the travel lane on the slab.  
  It's a unpleasant experience that I am mighty glad of when it ends. At least judging by the sky, I should be back in the sunshine before long.  
  It's a lovely run through the foothills as there is not much traffic out and about as of yet.  
  When I get into Missoula, I see a familiar sign that tells me I know where I will be having breakfast.  
  I leave Frost outside resting ...  
  and me inside feasting. If I am at a Cracker Barrel, I always know what I want for breakfast - the Sunshine Sampler. It's got a little ham, a little bacon, a little sausage, some gravy, taters and eggs. With the fried apples, grits, biscuits and jelly I'm one happy man.  
  But I've still got a long way to go, so I don't tarry too long at the plate.  
  The scenery varies greatly as I make my way across Montana.  
  You can be in the arid foothills and then ...  
  you come down into a green, lush valley.  
  It's easy to see why they call it the 'Big Sky Country' once you've been there for a spell.  
  There are some pretty steep grades out here, so I understand why they have the runaway truck ramps like back home. I always try to be careful that I am not blocking them when I ride for they can mean the difference between life and death for a trucker whose brakes have failed.  
  Looks like I've got blue sky as far as I can see and that's a real good thing.  
  When I've got miles like to cover, I generally run tank to tank which is usually 200+ miles at a pop. I begin to think of this kind of ride as 'how many gas stops do I have left to do?' It would be nice to leisurely wander down the back roads, but I've got to be back at the Holler at a certain time. So it's either do some days like this or stay at the house - so I do some days like this!  
  And just about the time I think I am really cooking, I hit another construction zone.  
  But it clears up soon, and I'm back out across the dry plains.  
  At least the monotony of dryness is broken up by a lake every now and then.  
  And the dryness tends to require more stops as it is easy to get dehydrated. I'm a bit like a camel - I tend to drink a lot at one sitting instead of a little as I go along.  
  But even though it's a lot of miles and it's on the slab, I'm still like the old dog that enjoys having his head out in the wind.  
  I've always enjoyed trains since I was a kid, so I watch this one with interest as it chugs past me in the opposite direction.  
  Along this section of highway, there are a series of old iron railroad bridges like this one. But I reckon they must being doing the job because this appears to be a real active line.  
  When I see this sign for Little Bighorn, I am tempted to stop. But I've still got a ways to go so I shelve it for another day. After all Custer was a union soldier ....  
  and he probably wished he had this structure before the end of his last day.  
  It's just a joy for me to be out and able to enjoy views like this from my mobile chair.  
  But then I hit another construction zone - at least this one is not thick gravel!  
  When I see the Wyoming state line sign, I have an urge to stop. But then I remind myself that I am all done with that now.  
  Unfortunately, I am not exempt from construction zones in Wyoming either.  
  When I see these snow drift fences I sort of shutter to think just how much snow piles up here in the winter to make these necessary.  
  I've always wanted to have a place on the lake that I could step out on my back porch and cast line. So when I pass a lake like this, it reminds me of my dream.  
  Farther along, mesas stretching out across the horizon like soldiers on parade.  
  And it seems so do the construction zones.  
  I get to Gillette in good time so I make tracks for my motel for the evening.  
  I usually stay at Super 8s in the States, but I decided I'd try Motel 6s for a couple of places on this trip.  
  I ask the lady behind the desk about places to eat in walkable distance and she names off a few but nothing pushes my buttons. Since I have time, I strike out on foot to get my walking. I see this place in my journeys, so I figure I'll give it a whirl.  

I see a ribeye steak on the menu so that's what I pick. Then the server tells me that don't have that anymore. But she adds -

"We have flank steak and it is so tender you can cut it with a butter knife."

It sounds pretty promising so I sign on for the cruise. Well, when my meal finally arrives, I wish I had taken a different ship. The only way you could cut the piece of meat with a butter knife is if you spent a whole lot of time grinding a fine cutting edge on the knife. The tater was baked a long time ago and green beans haven't been baked at all. It is not exactly what I am expecting for the price of $20. But at least it is somewhat edible though not very tasty. So needless to say, I decide I will skip them as a breakfast option.

  It's a nice walk back to the motel as the sun is slowly setting.  
  I've got almost 800 miles to cover tomorrow, so I hit the sack soon and drift off to the land of peaceful slumber.