Thursday, November 10, 2005

Day 9: Montana to Wyoming

I had planned to go as far west as I could get in Montana, but the briefer said gusty winds into the 40s all along the Front Range. So abort the west plan. To the south I go. but first to the north. to the US-Canadian border in hopes of getting all the way to the Texas coast and thus seeing a complete cross-section of the us from the air. Forty minutes north touched Canada airspace and then south I went and into Wyoming after a lunch in miles city, Montana.

I planned to go to Rapid City, South Dakota, via Wyoming’s devil's tower, but after seeing the devil's tower from the air, a magnificent piece of rock sticking straight up, I decided to land for further exploration.

Landed in the tiny town of Hulett, Wyoming, to increase the town population of only 400, self served myself and then got out the bike - the tower being only 7 miles to the south-west. An hour before darkness, I should have no problem. But it turned out to be a bit more considering it was a long dirt road into the town and then more than 10 miles on roads to get to the national monument, and then a few miles once inside the park boundaries. I did eventually made it, and also made up for missing some exercise. It was a beautiful sight up close lit by the half moon. It was a bit disconcerting to be more than 10 miles from the plane in the dark, in sometimes quite cold air, but it was fun. I ran around the tower trail and then biked back to the plane. I had not eaten much of a lunch and did not bring any snacks in my pack to the tower, so I was exhausted when I got back to the plane. It was a matter of not stopping pedaling. The Wyoming landscape was fascinating on the outbound bike, but on the way back, it was dark and all I could think about was bananas. It felt like I was doing the last sprints of a hockey practice only it went on for more than an hour.

Then it was time to hop in the courtesy car and drive to my new friend Dave’s house. He is a local bachelor, age 65, who invited me to stay at his house. I met him at the airport before I left on my tower bike ride as he was flying a remote control airplane. He was a very nice fellow with a beautiful house. He is a retired electrician and served five years in the navy as a submariner. You can imagine my fascination. I got to hear all about it. It was very nice to have a real house and bed to lie down in after my night time bike ride epic, and he seemed very happy to have some company.

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