Montana

Day 2028 Wednesday 4th May
Waking with the sun at five was not what I needed as it had been a noisy night, what with the waterfall and later the beep beep beep of the earthmoving machines that were carrying out repairs on the camp ground.
Later on the road to the border I saw a sign that advertised ‘big horn sheep skulls, beetle cleaned, export anywhere’. Beetle cleaned! yuk.
At the border the officers were helpful and friendly, a couple of them told us of which roads to take, with our six months secured we headed out into Montana.
Riding through Glacier National Park was yet more stunning scenery. Pulling into a small grocery store for supplies we met Adam and Laurel, after fifteen minuets chat of travel and bikes they offered us their garden to camp in, they were off to the mountains for two days in a cabin with friends. As we said our goodbyes Adam called us back and gave us the keys to their home, saying “get a shower and enjoy the rest”. Riding off with their keys and directions we soon fund their secured home and, again thick long grass. We spent the rest of the evening watching the sunset and enjoying peace and solitude. Jess came by to feed the dogs and invited us to stop by her ranch of Bison and Elk farming.

Day 2029 Thursday 5th May
Waking late we had a slow breakfast, then walked the two km to Jess’s to see her meat farm, she gave us an Elk steak to try. Later, not being able to grill it I pan fried it over a base of onion to stop it burning. It was as tender with a unique flavour, not too gamey, very nice, for a veg head! Later as the sky darkens with an on coming storm we looked around the Fairview Cemetry, many graves of the old and some very young from twenty years back to the mid eighteen hundreds, very interesting.

Day 2030 Friday 6th May
Riding out in warm and sunny weather we headed for a free camp off I ninety, after our ‘day off’ we were set for wild camping for three or four days.
Stopping off at Drummond for gas I saw an older guy walking from his truck with a walking crutch to the back of his vehicle. To my surprise he dropped the walking aid and proceeded to carry out a rep of very good sit ups, bizarre. We gassed up and went into the Wagon Wheel Cafe where we enjoyed biscuits and home made sausage gravy, very yum, hot and fresh. Lots of coffee and a great place to warm up on a now chilly day.
Fifty clicks further on I ninety my oil light came on, for some reason I looked down to see my left boot covered with oil, on stopping I saw my crank shaft blanking plug had fallen out, dumping most of my oil over Diane who was behind me, and the rest over my bike and the highway and its occupants. Taking Diane’s bike I tried and failed to find a helpful farmer with a trailer get me off the highway. In downtown Deer Lodge I found a Napa motor store where I bought an expanding rubber plug for three bucks, (could you make one for that?) and some oil. Back on the road I managed to fit the oversize plug and throw the oil in, it got me the five clicks into the Napa parking lot as it fell out. Once again bumping more oil over my boot. Just as they were closing I bought more oil and another plug. Taking a K.O.A. camp we opted for a cabin as the cold wind was extreme. Walking to the grocery store I saw a guy with workers hands, oil stained and grubby shirt and pants, I asked him if any one in town could make me a new plug. He knew of someone but no idea who, he called a friend who knew, gave us a name, he said this guy worked from home and could make anything. In the store we looked in the phone book and got an address, the name and phone number matched. Back at camp I called the poor guy as he was about to have supper, so I called him in an hour. He was very reluctant to help as he worked exclusively for the wood mill and had little time to live let alone work for outsider jobs. When I said the old plug was made from plastic he said call round and he would have a look. I arrived at half seven and left at nine with a new teflon plug. The poor guy was sixty seven years old with a wife who sounded like she had had enough. They were due to head out to their sons for mothers day weekend in the morning.
The owner of the camp advised us of the ten O’clock curfew sirens to ensure all minors were at home, and that it was not a prison break.
With my bike all hopefully sorted we slept the sleep of the dead.

Day 2031 Saturday 7th May
We were rolling by eleven and jumped back onto I ninety for three hours, yea boring, however with not a lot to see it was a way to get from A to Z. Turning off to Yellowstone we followed the beautiful road along side the Madison River to Bakers Hole camp. The azure blue streams ran through Gallatin, the water clogged with rocks and boulders alike. At the camp ground I watched a dog digging into the marmot burrows, while they ran around behind him, he was head and shoulders under ground, the rodents on top and observing.

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