August Second. The longest day.

August 4, 2012

Thursday August 02



6:40 AM, can’t sleep.  I arrived at this campsite in the darkness so I had no clue…  This road is a truck route and we’re about 200 feet from it. Each truck that barrels by hits a bump and the whole thing goes KABLAMMMM!  I tried to sleep but it was useless.  I got up.  Packed up and at 8 AM I was hitting the road.  

the name of the place should have been a clue…

The sun was glorious. In Minot, the oil boom is obvious. Trucks everywhere, pick ups, workers, blasting by. I understand the Chevy, Ford, Dodge ads now. This is the clientele.  Greedy, demanding, in a hurry, save money, make money, tough, determined.

All along the way there are oil wells with the plunging apparatus, a pipe coming out of the ground with a tangerine orange burning flame and a slightly acrid smell in the air.

the endless number of semis, tractor trailers rushing by

All around me is this industrial gold rush.  It is an aggressive vibe.  Trucks barrel up and down the 2.  I’ve never seen so much road kill, mostly in the form of oily stains left on the pavement.  So many…   The vibe is ruthless.  All around you can see “man camps” trailers lined up where workers live.  I’m told the crime rate skyrocketed.  There is a locals against the oil people feud going on… “They’re greedy, they sell their lands to make a quick buck.. it’s this new technology “Fracking” (spelling?) that allows them to go 2 miles down in the earth then go  horizontally up to 3 miles, with pipes then they use a technology that breaks the earth and releases the oil… the plan is to pipeline all these single wells. Urgh..  The future is dark and oily.

I turned into a small town 3 miles North  for breakfast.  It is a frontier town kind of place.  There are license plates from everywhere : Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Washington all over.  They are here to work, to make money.

trucks and trucks


old school


things of the past

Again the cafe looks like it was built in the 50’s and no one ever changed a thing, it just go used and old.  It’s all brown.  I walk in and I am greeted by some customers. I can’t quite imagine what they think seeing me.  People are actually quite friendly in a gruff sort of way.   I ordered then ate. After a while a man came to me :

I’m sorry to bother you but… I know you… I’ve seen you before… you were with this tall fellow and you kept looking up at him… you were outgoing, laughing…” I’m trying to find where I should have met him but our locales don’t match. I’ve never been here before in my life.  I’m thinking it must be some doppleganger of me.  Like me she had someone she adored, looked up in his eyes, was happy…  but the parallels stopped there.  Nope, it can’t be me.  

Sorry to bother you while you are eating…”

Oh no worries, I mean, all I have to talk with is my plate!” but he would not converse any longer.  He left, not long after I left and got some gas in this station,  hard to believe but they call that place Kum and Go it just seems so… wrong, rude or something.   The whole place was looking fishy…   I thought of getting back on the bike and get gas somewhere else but I  filled up anyways paid and was on my way.

Then it was hours of road. There was a lot of water, ponds, small lakes and they reflected these amazing colors, shades of blue, green and gold, I wanted to stop and take photos but somehow the overall vibe of the place made me feel like just going on.

Some things got me to stop though






fields and skies


all together





I passed the state border into Montana sometime around noon I think.  I stopped at a museum-tourist info place and they allowed me to use their wi-fi and do all the business I needed to do. Very nice folks.


Trusted mount


My heart soars.  I’ve dreamt of those colors, the red earth, the open range… and here I finally am.  I am relishing this. When I was a child I had gotten an image. A copy of a Frederick Remington’s painting “Dash for Timber” it came from a Reader’s Digest magazine, an ad of some sort for either books or painting reproductions. That painting haunted me. The skies, the colors… In 2010 when I passed through Huston I saw a Remington exhibition at their art museum. Breathtaking.  I swore I’d see the real thing and here I am in the middle of a Remington’s painting. In the middle of the “Far West” and it’s even better than I imagined. I am so thrilled.

brands display




flowers and more flowers


3 friends




all colors and shapes


they were a whole gang




…and dinosaurs

So all day long, I whooed and Ahwed for the colors, the vistas, the clouds, the fences… everything. 

By 4-5 PM I’m toast.  As cold as I had been in the morning, the day heated up dramatically and I started to feel the effects of the little amount of sleep, the heat and being battered by the winds all day. I stopped in Glasgow, was hoping to find a room, but I was so tired all I managed to do was to get back on the bike.  

I decided to stop for a couple of hours. I needed to lube the chain and that needs to sit on there for a bit to settle and not fly everywhere. I ate some sardines, celery, almonds and fruits that I had gotten at the grocery store and after those bad diners that felt like glorious food.

rest area


Two bikers showed up.  Both riding Gold Wings.  En route to Sturgis.  They tried to get me to ride with them but no thanks.  One was quickly getting too friendly.  They were nice enough but really… we took pictures of each other with our rides (the thing to do among bikers) then we said goodbye.

Stan, wolfish biker


Steve I think… both guys’ names started with ST…




the day wanes


follow the signs


the cowboy bar, long dead

I headed into the sunset, I got a show from mother Earth… Oh my… undescribably beautiful. My mood at this point is of utter elation. I am so thankful to ride, to be here. To see this is … it fills me… I come to a place in my mind and heart where it’s almost like a liberation, can’t explain… It’s like this all the way to Havre, when the sun finally disappeared completely on the horizon and I  really had to get into finding a place to sleep.

There is rain in the air, camping is out, as my tent is not waterproof. I was hoping for a motel.  There must be 10 hotels-motels in this place and they are all full.  A big Powwow on the week end. I’m hooped. At this point I have been riding since 8 am, it’s 10 pm I was fried at 5 pm with the too little sleep I had.  

 I stopped at a restaurant-casino and ate a steak. I devoured it. Didn’t realize I was that hungry. The waitresses were so very nice to me. I asked if I could stay for a while to rest, I told them there were no rooms in town and how tired I was.   She said yes. So I stayed there until 1 AM, then I had to move on as they were going to close.


2 Responses to “August Second. The longest day.”

  1. A few weeks ago I walked into Havre – enroute from North Carolina’s Outer Banks to the Peace Arch -…had a gut feel you would show by and by…my timing was a bit off.

  2. Charlotte Says:

    Bummer I just read this… In general, at a Pow Wow, you can camp if you pay the entrance fee. Usually people are a little suspiciuos of a ‘white girl’, but then they warm up if you show a genuine interest in their culture. I can sit and listen to the drums all day… : )

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