Friday, July 13, 2012

Day Twenty-Eight: Winnett, Montana

Today we rode 57 miles from Lewistown, Montana to the tiny burg of Winnett (pronounced Win'-it), Montana. The morning portion, as usual, was a pleasure, particularly because we saw the color green again for the first time in a while. Lewistown, being in the mountains, has more rain and lushness, and it was a relief, even if it meant more climbing (which it did), to have contours to the land and trees again. This was mitigated, somewhat, by the fact that we were riding on Route 87, which, although it generally has good shoulders, really is a highway with a fair amount of traffic.

Our first stop, about 30 miles in, was the town (if you can call it that) of Grassrange, which apparently had its heyday in the 1920s as, you guessed it, another trading post. We stopped at The Mercantile for a bite to eat and a refill of our water bottles (a tip of the hat to the proprietor, whose name I apologize for forgetting, for being so gracious in letting us sit there, cool down and use the restroom).

By the time we got rolling again, however, the sun had come out and the wind had shifted to a headwind. This was mitigated, somewhat, by 87 turning off to the South and our continuing East on the lesser-travelled Route 200. But not enough. It was a real slog, and pretty exhausting, to go the final 20 miles.

Winnett, however, We checked in at the only hotel in town -- the Northern Motel -- run by Joe and Charlene, who were totally sweet -- and who were also surprised by the simultaneous, and unannounced, arrival of Charlene's cousin, Bob, and Bob's wife, Lisa, from San Francisco, who were on a road trip. Bob had come fully equipped, with his own cooler of long-neck beers and a plug in boom box. A retired teacher for the past 3 years,  his travel itinerary since then was world-wide and world-class. We were soon also joined on the patio outside our room by Pete and Mona, two bicyclists also staying at the motel, travelling from Portland, OR. Pete was turning around to go home in a few days (he actually has a job), while Mona was continuing solo on to Vermont. So the six of us sat there, joined by Charlene's daughter and grandson, and enjoyed the cooler early evening hours - with Bob's cooler.

Here are today's route and metrics:


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