Good thing I brought my GPS navigation unit. It flagged down a passerby to help. So, there I was, driving north from Cody on some country road. I didn’t know what to do at a junction, so pulled over and got out my fancy Garmin Geosat 5 street navigator. Turned it on and, immediately a pickup truck pulled over and offered to help. “Which way to Billings?” I said. That way, he pointed, and gave me estimated driving time including current road construction. My poor Garmin had just reached the “Accept” warning screen. Modern technology lost this round.
Road “construction”? More like road demolition. Eleven miles of pitted gravel washboard. Ten minute wait in the middle for a pilot car to escort us through a war zone. I happened to be first in line and struck up a conversation with the flag lady. She used my camera to take this picture.
I’ve never seen anything like this road construction. Scariest ride of the whole trip! Giant pits like huge graves are dug 6′ deep through the middle of the road so they could work on sub-soil stabilization. We get two miles of a very narrow one-lane dirt track with potholes and loose gravel on a steep sideways slant. Unbelievably slippery. To the left is a gully of boulders and sagebrush. To the right is a 6′ deep pit. I picked my way through slipping and sliding and made it. Barely. It was the scariest riding of anything I’ve ever seen.
Good thing I brought a down jacket. Temperature is in the mid 40s and low 50s all day. Quite windy. I could not possibly have ridden for 11 hours in those conditions without it. Now I should find some down ankle warmers — a gap at my boottops made my feet and legs cold all day.
There are not many highlights today. The interesting spots are the desperate pleas for any sort of attention in town. For example: Lucky Lil’s Casino, Tavern, Carwash and McDonald’s. But no right turn, lol.
Montana and North Dakota sure are boring after the mountains of Idaho and Wyoming. They are pretty, in a soothing sort of way, but I’m spoiled by the thrill of winding mountain roads.
I taunted some Harley punks on I-90 for excitement. We were eastbound into a bitter cold headwind, all of us barely making the speed limit. I’m certain their noisy unbalanced H-D motors were running wide open to make headway. As I caught up to them, I must admit big BMW was barely doing much better. With my heated grips, bun-warmer and down I was pretty comfortable, but those boys were so chilled they were simply catatonic. They were riding side-by-side in separate lanes blocking my passage.
But those two guys looked so cold and frozen in their leathers and do-rags, I’m sure they would be grateful for a demonstration of how this ride should be done. So I popped up about 20 mph faster, put my feet out on my highway pegs, laid back comfortably on my cushion, and set cruise control so I could give them a cheerful “have a nice day!” wave with my throttle hand as I zipped in between them. I wish I could’ve seen their reaction but I was long gone in no time.
Arrived in Bismarck ND after cold windy 530-mile 11-hour ride from Cody WY. I got a wonderful warm reception from Dennis & Lorna. And a steak dinner. ♥
Tomorrow: Graceville Minnesota to see John M, who owns the home in Mesa next to Donna.