Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 6, 2010: Cut Bank to Chester, MT. 66 miles

This day started out a tad chilly.... about 49 degrees, but warmed up nicely. I came out with bike shorts on, and Dianne had on my leg warmers. Sherrie offered me her spare leg warmers, which fit me very well, much better than my own, which fit Dianne very well.
Dianne and several other riders left early, planning to eat breakfast in Shelby, which was 21 miles up the road. I need to eat before I ride, so I stayed back and ate with the group. CJ and I left around 8 AM, and it was smooth sailing. We had a lovely tail wind, and stopped along the way to take photos of a windmill farm, a pronghorn posing for us by the railroad tracks, and an old wooden grain elevator. There were many horse farms and ranches along the way, but no trees. That is why it appears so much flatter than flat Michigan. There is nothing to break the line of sight, just plains on out to the horizon.

We still made pretty good time, even with all the stops for photos. We were at the 20 mile sag at about 9 or 9:15. We stayed on US highway 2 the whole day, and will be on this road all week. The shoulder came and went, but most passing traffic was considerate of the women on two wheels.

We passed many more white crosses. We have been passing them since we entered Montana. The Montana American Legion places them at the scenes of fatal accidents, one for every person killed on Montana highways. It is very sobering to see, and makes us very aware of safety. I have said more than once to my co-riders that I do not want to be a white cross on the side of the road.

Then just past mile 45 my chain broke. I was so bummed! I told CJ she could ride on without me and I called the sag. She would not leave me out there alone (thank you CJ!) and we waited for the van to arrive, which really did not take much time at all. We unloaded much of the luggage looking for spare chains and did not find them. Patty (the chef) had already switched with Denise and was driving the van while Denise biked. And Patty very graciously offered me her bike to finish today's ride! This photo is me on Patty's bike at our destination motel in Chester.

So I am still EFI on this ride! I was ever so glad to be back in the saddle, and we arrived at Chester around 1:30. Denise then told me that she did not have a chain for my bike and that I would have to take a van ride into Havre tomorrow. I thanked her and walked away with tears in my eyes.

Dianne and I went to a little restaurant to eat, where we saw at least a dozen other riders. When we got back Denise asked me if I would like to go to Havre right then and get the chain replaced.... I said YES! And we did. Now I am back on the road again, and will ride the 60 miles into Havre tomorrow. Thank you Denise and Woman Tours. This is why we sign up for supported tours!

We are right across the street from the grain elevator and train tracks. The motel owner said there are 53 trains a day. I expect sleeping here will be a lot like camping on the Great River Rumble--trains all night... I took a photo of our little bathtub--it is child sized! I wanted Dianne to get in it but she was out riding around town in a limo with the motel owner, so Sherrie complied. What were they thinking when they built this place? Oh well, it is clean and well run. What more do you need? When Dianne came back from her adventure I took another photo--those of you who know Dianne can now see how small this tub really is!

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