Day 23. Jordan

100 miles 2,936 feet

I started out arising early in the church and joining the regulars for a 6 am breakfast at the Little Montana Truck Stop & Campground. The 8 or so middle aged to older men in the restaurant were mostly ranchers and very friendly. They seemed very familiar with one another and curious but also skeptical about biking across the country. Much of the conversation was about the sad health-related problems of the truck stop owner forcing closure and placing it up for sale. This means loss of a business in a small town unless a buyer can be found. The store adjacent to the restaurant had been blocked off with 4'x8' OSB sheets nailed to form a barrier. This is a big deal in Grass Range. The owner's children lived elsewhere and weren't inclined to continue running the business I'm told.

So I had breakfast and set off east, not sure where I would spend the night. 2 options were Sand Springs, 68 miles away, or Jordan, a long reach at 100 miles. The route was largely flat for the morning and I made good time, and held out hope I could make it to Jordan and a motel instead of camping again. Then the wind turned in my favor, and in combination with the loss of 1,000 feet moving east off the high plains, it became increasingly clear I could make it 100 miles, a first for this trip.

Today was one of several "Limited Services Next xx Miles" marked on the Adventure Cycle map indicating there wasn't much for food or accommodation for a long way. I had some snacks but there was no place for lunch. I eventually stopped at Sand Springs and was delighted to see that it was a Northern Tier destination rest stop complete with posters, a log book and a wonderful woman who makes brownies and banana cake specifically for cyclists. This was the first place so far that seemed aware of the Norther Tier route, and catered to cyclists. I ran into several who were also drawn by the food and hospitality.

The owner said it was 3 hours to Jordan, so after snacks to took off east. There were ups and downs, hills and valleys with a period of about 1 mile between the up and down, as though the prairie were comprised of half-mile long waves. The vegetation became drier with sage and scrub and also eroded buttes that attract paleontologists. The Hell Creek Restaurant where I had dinner was named for the Hell Creek Formation where some of first Tyrannousaurus rex fossils were found in the 1900s.

I pulled in to Jordan about 5:15, having completed my longest ride and arriving earlier than usual.

Because of the 4th holiday and motels that are often nearly full despite the fairly remote location, I booked motels for the next 3 nights at 60-70 mile intervals. The last, on July 4, is in North Dakota!

Biking along one cannot help but notice the vehicles passing you. There were lots of very large pickups and many bus-sized motor homes each pulling a fairly large SUV. Electric vehicles, so common in Seattle, are nowhere to be seen in eastern Montana. One may forget this seeing all the Prius' and Teslas in Seattle. This doesn't bode well for greenhouse gas reduction.
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Early morning scene from the church

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Breakfast with regulars at Little Montana Truck Stop

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Drier, flatter terrain of eastern Montana. The eroded buttes expose fossils that draw paleontologists.
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My motel in Jordan

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Cyclists and high calorie food at Jordan restaurant

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