Day 20 (99 miles)

Trip Start Jun 13, 2008
Trip End Aug 09, 2008

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Flag of United States  , North Dakota
Friday, July 4, 2008

our last day in montana... by far, the most time we would spend in any state would be montana. highway 2 stretches for something in the neighborhood of 637 miles from one side of the state to the other, and we even took a couple zig-zaggy diversions from it. once again, we woke up to a headwind. it's quite unfortunate that the prevailing winds aren't coming through for us...we're starting to get into the realm of statistically improbable amounts of headwind. it's a bit of a bummer because it's starting to wear a little bit on my motivation.

the terrain today was definitely typical eastern montana. the first couple of towns (with the stands of trees and the water towers) we went through were on indian reservations, and to highlight even more the racial tensions, we had been told repeatedly in the white towns that these places were unsafe. quite to the contrary, the folks we ran into were really pleasant. there was a really great family that we talked to for a while, and the husband was really interested in our story and thought it was great. our route was schedule to take us over another indian highway, but it added a few miles. we thought we'd be so smart and stay on the main highway to cut off a few miles, but the joke was on us because that section of us-2 has some really steep hills on it. the man warned us about it, but unfortunately we'd already set our route and the support van was schedule to follow that route. oops... a few miles later, he and his family drove past and gave us a friendly honk and a wave.

once through the hills, we found the van and the rest of the team resting in the shade near a small town high school, so we decided to take our lunch stop. we holed up in the air conditioned sinclair gas station. sinclair is a chain that we've loyally been visiting, and the reason we choose it over the others (well, really i chose it and julie and brad go along with it) is because their logo is a green dinosaur. this particular sinclair was a "fully automated" sinclair station (i.e. it's all credit cards at the pumps and vending machines on the inside), so we could sit in the air conditioned goodness for as long as we wanted without someone kicking us out. and the best part? they had a fun little dinosaur mural on the side.

many windy, hilly miles later, we reached the border of north dakota. we would have been able to tell without the "welcome" sign because the road instantly improved--suddenly, we had a nice wide shoulder with great, smooth pavement and the amount of roadside debris was much less. sadly, the wind and the hills persisted...

fortunately, we didn't have too many miles to go once we reached the border. a really nice family had offered to host a 4th of july dinner for us, and they were about seven miles closer to the border than williston. originally, we were going to eat with them and continue into town, but once dinner got started, it was already getting late (especially with the time change), and they offered to let us stay with them. dinner was really great and definitely what i think of when i think midwestern...there were casseroles and jello salads aplenty. they had prepared a mountain of food with us bikers in mind, and our appetites definitely didn't disappoint. after dinner, we were thinking it would be fun to light off some fireworks, but unfortunately the mosquitos were too much of a nuisance for that. i keep getting to say this: the mosquitos were unlike anything i'd ever experienced. as soon as you stepped outside, there would be a brown swarm swirling around you. we would go outside in pairs--one person to accomplish a task and the other to beat away the mosquitos. they especially liked maxine, and if she went outside, there would be at least 20 landed on her in a matter of seconds. it was really crazy...

they had a really unique room in the house. the husband really loves animals and thinks they're beautiful creatures, so with a strange leap of logic (at least to me), he likes to kill them and mount them on his wall. his trophy room was really a sight to was museum quality down to the display cases in which he had created action scenes using a couple of different stuffed animals. he's traveled all around the world and had specimens from at least 5 continents. when it came time to lay out the sleeping mats, strangely enough, nobody set up in there...
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