Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Days 15-16 Daunted Courage, July 14-15, 2013

Route: Jordan to Mosby (Day 15), Mosby to Winnett, Montana (Day 16)

I did not have cell phone coverage or Internet access between Jordan and Winnett, which meant that I could not update this blog until now.  I experienced withdrawal symptoms from being disconnected for 2 days and regularly checked my iPhone, hoping “no service” would change to at least a weak connection.  But it’s just too remote out here for AT&T to invest in cell towers, I guess.  I traveled all over the world in my 20’s without a cell phone or Internet access and don’t remember being bothered.  In fact, I liked the feeling of being truly out of touch back then.  But I’ve changed and feel pressure to stay in touch with my “contacts” and respond in less than a day to e-mails I receive.  When Sho, Saya and I ate at a local restaurant in Winnett, I noticed that all the other patrons were talking with one another.  No one was lost in a mobile device…

We cycled around 80 miles over the past 2 days, appreciating Montana’s big sky, sprawling ranches and stimulating views.  We continued to collect roadkill data, finding more snakes than before, several deer and even an elk.  There were no sources of food or water on the 55-mile stretch between Jordan and the rest stop at Mosby, but we were prepared, carrying a day and a half of meals with us.  We ate lunch at a picnic table beside a closed gas station and set up our tent behind the rest area in Mosby, which gave us access to a water fountain and bathrooms.  The night was clear, and the stars shone brightly after the sky darkened around 10 p.m.  Living in New York City, I miss the night sky without light pollution.  The Milky Way’s crowded collection of galaxies formed a majestic path above; the big dipper seemed almost painted in relief; and Orion’s belt shimmered like a crest of diamonds.  Sho and Saya still get excited by the simple experience of lying back and observing the slowly moving array of balls of gas burning billions of miles away.  It’s a memory all children should have.

Before falling asleep in our tent, we read from the Journals of Lewis & Clark.  I began with the sections from July 14 in 1804 and 1805, exactly 207 and 208 years ago.  Then the kids asked me to read the sections from their birthdays (Jan 11 for Sho, and Oct 20 for Saya).  In the January, 1805 entry, the expedition members were in Fort Mandan in present day North Dakota.  Meriwether Lewis wrote, “last night was excessively Cold the Murkery [mercury] this morning Stood at 40 degrees below 0…”  A man and a 13-year-old boy from the local Indian tribe got lost in the previous day’s hunt and had to sleep outside wearing only antelope leggings, moccasins and a buffalo robe.  When they survived, Lewis noted, “Customs & the habits of those people has anured [them] to bare more Cold than I thought it possible for a man to endure.”  Sho and Saya agreed that our cycling trip is easy compared to what that boy went through.

We shared dinner with several cyclists we met in Winnett who are traveling across the U.S. on tandem bicycles.  I enjoyed their friendly company and the opportunity to talk about our ride with people who don’t think we are strange for doing it.   

Here are some pics:
Interesting striations along the roadside
Our tent in Mosby, MT

Sho and Saya (with her sourpuss face) with Hillary and Eric, friendly cyclists we met in Mosby

Roadside yoga is a great way to stretch out after hours of cycling

Sho and Saya with our wonderful dinner companions in Winnett.  Adventure cyclists from Seattle: Margaret and Kurt Vance, Devon Hodges, Eric Swanson

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