Day 65 – Glasgow, MT to Malta, MT – 72 miles
(Glasgow to Malta – 2190 miles – fun fact)
Perhaps you’re wondering how these towns got their name? The guy who built the Great Northern Railroad, James Hill determined the name of these towns (and others along the line) via a spin of the globe. So, Glasgow was chosen when a GN employee pointed to Glasgow, Scotland and Malta was chosen when the finger landed on the island of Malta, in the Mediterranean Ocean. Malta was previously known as railroad siding 54. And evidently Hill also generated business for his railroad and settlement along the line by encouraging immigrants to settle in the area & sometimes paying for their travel from Europe. So there’s a bit of a history lesson. 🙂
We got up early, with plans to avoid the heat and wind by riding in the morning. While waiting for Tim to come out of his room, we got talking to a guy who was walking his dog. I don’t think we caught his name but he is from Wisconsin & traveling to Glacier National Park with his family. He was interested in our trip and said a cross country bike ride was on his bucket list. As we parted, he said he’d honk two times as they passed us with their family truckster and pop-up camper in tow – and about 20 miles down the road, sure enough he did! Simple pleasures!
McDonalds was very close to our motel, so we were at their door when they unlocked the doors at 6 am. As we were eating, a bike rider came in for his grub. We spoke and met George, he is a fellow east to wester his blog is at: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=13906. it was good speaking with him. He wasn’t going as far as we were today, but we are planning a rest stop in a few days so he may just catch us.
Today’s ride was mostly along the Milk River, no major hills, but few long climbs were coming at the end of the day. We had some nicely spaced rest stops on the route too. There was a roadside rest stop at 14 miles. A perfect place to stop and stretch. This was the first clue that we might have a some gnats and biting flies to deal with. We had heard horror stories about the town of Saco – 16 miles down the road – one of the east bound riders told us: “don’t slow down in Saco, the mosquitos will carry you away!” He also added, “but, make sure you get some jerky there, it’s delicious!” With bugs on our brains, Tim joked that maybe Shawn should have grabbed a fly swatter so she could keep Jim’s back cleared during the ride. Jim joked that Shawn probably would use the swatter like a jockey and whip me in the shin to boost performance!
We met one eastbound rider today. John was from Tahoe, he started on the Olympic Peninsula and will wrap up in Maine. When we told him we started in Maine, he high fived Shawn. Sure fun to get confirmation of our accomplishments from a fellow rider!
Speaking of performance… These two months of have been very beneficial to our riding! Today we held 15 to 16 mph on the flats, without a great deal of effort. We are getting stronger! The Cascades may be another story, but for now, we are feeling like rock stars!!
We rode into Saco, covered with bug spray (except Jim – who likes to live dangerously!) and ready to enjoy jerky. But the ride was going so good we were there before anything was open on Sunday morning, and the town was bug free! We enjoyed a peanut-butter-banana-tortilla-shell in front of the Saco library with out a bug to be seen! But the day was young…the bugs got us as we made some climbs into Malta. There were a lot of different varieties, most were very blood thirsty. Shawn stayed bite free (having used the bug spray!), but Jim got a few bites. He said the flies had the unique feature that after they were done biting (or swatted), it still felt like they were biting you! They were giving the bite that keeps biting!
We rolled into Malta at about 1 pm, called a motel and then rode right over (well, once we found S 2nd WEST) and got into our rooms. It was hot & it was good to get out of the sun. Jim & Tim enjoyed watching the World Cup Finals in their respective rooms while Shawn went out to the grocery store & laundrymat. We had planned to head out for dinner at 5:30 & as we were heading out, another cyclist was rolling his bike to his room. We stopped and introduced ourselves & we found that Andrew (from Pennsylvania) is also going west on the Northern Tier route. And he stayed at the same motel as us in Glasgow last night! We invited him to join us for dinner and he said he’d stop by after his shower. So we walked a few blocks to a pub (the only place open for dinner on a Sunday) and had dinner. Andrew showed up & we all sat and talked for quite awhile after finishing our meals. It sure is fun to meet up with others! People like Andrew & Tim have added so much to this adventure!