Nick on the bike 2005: Oregon to Virginia
Home Journal Who am I & why am I doing this?
Back to contents
Day 20: Sand Springs to Jordan, Montana
August 3, 2005, 5:51 PM
Where am I now: Jordan, Montana (47.32113N by 106.91007W at 2669 ft.)
Today's distance: 34 miles

The waitress at the Hilltop Cafe in Jordan, Montana told me I looked like a drowned rat & asked where I'd come from when I walked in around noon. I replied "Sand Springs"; she looked at me quizzically and offered "there's nothing there". Where have I heard this before?

Seems like it was raining on the tent much of the night. Not a heavy rain, just a steady sprinkle, I slept well. At first light there was a pretty strong blow going. Eventually I emerged from the tent, grabbed the food and cooking gear, and fled to shelter on the leeward side of the store where I made breakfast & listened to the weather radio. It talked about a cold front, with rain likely much of the day.

I decided to make the 30 or so run to Jordan, but I hung out for while watching the sky. This is after all, big sky country. There were several storm systems visible churning their way across the range. It all looked like a big mixing bowl, the clouds were moving every which way. But there was no lightning. I packed up and waited some more for a good looking slot to the east.

Around 8AM the postmistress showed up, and opened the PO and store, which are pretty much the same deal. She is a very engaging lady, family runs a ranch 25 miles away. She explained that Daisy owns and operates the store, but at 89 years old, Daisy likes to take off in her truck and drive a couple hundred miles to Billings if she feels like it. The store doesn't get opened if she's out on the road. But they do make sure the bathrooms are clean & functioning (they are), and that there's water for people traveling through.

The postmistress has two kids in school over in Jordan. They've bought a mobile home over there, and during the school year she goes over with the kids during the week, and they come back to the ranch on the weekends. The distances are too great to do it every day, and in the winter time the roads are sometimes not passable.

They're making hay like crazy this year because there's been so much rain. No irrigation on their ranch, they get all their water from wells. The price of fuel is taking a big hit, they just paid $3200 to have a tanker truck drive out to the ranch & fill their tank, it will last them about 3 months. It was a great conversation, there's indeed a community of people around Sand Springs, albeit dispersed.

There appeared to be a break in the clouds, I hit the road. Within a half mile I stopped and put rain gear on. It took me about 3 hours to ride the 32 miles to Jordan. This was my comeuppance for all the fair weather and tail winds I've enjoyed. There was a mild head wind, and steady rain all the way. There will be no photo documentation for this portion of the trip because I didn't want to get the camera wet..... At one point I got off the road & took a rest under my white plastic mattress cover that I use to cover the bike at night. So, for those who have gotten the impression that Nick is having a cakewalk across the country, where the wind is always right and the sun always shines, today was not it!

After lunch at the Hilltop, I went into town and booked a room at the Garfield Motel, which is picturesque in an eastern Montana sort of way. Even though the clouds were breaking, I'd decided to make the rest of the day a time of rest, the morning ride was exhausting.

after the sun came out.....

Jordan is alive and well, a small town of around 350 people, county seat of Garfield County. Some of the streets are paved, others not.

these things take up the whole road!!!

This afternoon I'd sought out a (the) laundromat & used soap to wash all the stuff that up to now I've been rinsing in creek water and occasional sink. Then I found a place that sold me a needle and spool of thread, which I used to repair a couple of leaks in my aging down sleeping bag. I've been waking up with increasing amounts of feathers floating about the tent....

There are southeast winds predicted for tomorrow, if that comes to pass I'll probably stick with the ACA L&C route up to Fort Peck Dam. Otherwise I'll continue east on 200 toward Circle and Sydney.