For more detailed maps, scroll down through the blog. Click on any one to enlarge it; use the backspace button to return to the blog. That goes for the photos, too.
Day 51: Tuesday, 21st August. Destination: Big Sky Motel, Wolf Point, Montana
It's been no easy going for me for these past couple of days, struggling into a relentless headwind as I recorded my slowest daily average speed of the trip, to date: a mighty 8mph. There were long sections where I just had to get into racing position and keep my head down, watching my feet pump round and round as the road surface rolled by underneath. Dust-coloured crickets jumped out of my way and got blown onto my legs, some of them clinging on for the ride. Folks round here seem to enjoy throwing their empty beer bottles onto the shoulder of the road - where I'm sure they make a pleasing crash - adding an extra hazard on top of gusting wind and overtaking trucks. But yet...
But yet, when I turned my head sideways to take a look at the view, somewhere on the road to Culbertson, the grey had silently slipped away, revealing and almost endless blue sky reaching from one far horizon to the other. And the sky was full of little fluffy clouds, receding into the far distance. It was amazingly beautiful. Welcome to the Big Sky. And just for a while, despite the wind and the trucks, I was grinning like an idiot for the first time since arriving in North Dakota. My internal jukebox (supplying me with a rather random selection of tunes to sing along to, on various points of the trip), which had fallen silent for some time now, switched itself back on, and I found myself singing - appropriately enough - 'Big Sky' by Kate Bush (with extended drum solo) all the way to Wolf Point.
I've updated my blog. There are 3 reasons why: 1) so it reads from start to finish rather than the other way round; 2) so I can include some episodes that never made it to the original; and 3) to add some photos. A consequence of this is that the blog archive below reads as if all blogs were produced in June 2010. It's just the way Blogger works. The original dates are incorporated in the individual blog titles.
If you want to use the tags at the bottom of each blog, remember to click 'Older Post' when you want to go to the next, newer, one.
The detailed maps also work as chapter headings: they correspond to each of the 12 cycle maps I needed to get from coast to coast.
This Summer, I'm cycling across North America from Bar Harbor, Maine to Florence, Oregon. 4,300 miles, give or take a few. The first three weeks of my trip I'll be accompanied by my friends Edward & Ewa, and the rest will be solo. None of us are fitness freaks, but we do like the outdoors and looking at nice views. We've been in training since last November, and hopefully will be in reasonable shape come our start date, July 2nd.
I'm doing it simply for the adventure, but if you're interested, I'm also going to be raising money for the charity Architects For Aid. They do great work, and you can find out more about them by clicking the link at the top of this page. There's a link to my sponsorship page below.
I'll be updating this weblog regularly, so come back soon, John.
My Favourites List
TV Commercial: "Obsessing over celebrity is wrong..." Yup, the prize for best TV ad - and this will come as no surprise to Edward & Ewa - goes to Wendy's Baconator. Watch it here, if you dare (click on the black & white image of a guy screaming...)
Breakfast: Again, no surprises for E&E - a tie between oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar & maple syrup, and two eggs (scrambled) with hashbrowns and white toast.
State: Tough call, but the M's have it, in a tie between Minnesota and Montana.
The Internal Jukebox
I decided not to take my MP3 Player with me. Too heavy, and I wanted to listen to crickets and birds. But nature abhors a vaccuum so during this trip, from time to time, I've found myself singing or humming an assortment of tunes. In a roughly chronological order, here's the ones I remember:
Heard It On The X - ZZ Top
Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Acony Bell - Gillian Welch
11:11 - Rufus Wainwright
I Saw Her Standing There - The Beatles
The Carpet Crawl - Genesis
Don't Bring Me Down - ELO
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go - Bob Dylan
That Kind Of Love - Alison Krauss
Fun For Me - Moloko
Work It - Missy Elliott
Mississippi Delta - Bobby Gentry
Where The Lazy River Goes By - Teddy Wilson
I'm Gonna Love You Too - Blondie
Tie A Yellow Ribbon - Tony & Dawn
Big Sky - Kate Bush
Walking On The Moon - The Police
Old MacDonald Had A Creek / The Hokey Cokey (Medley)
Everyday America - Sugarland
Walk This Way - Aerosmith
The Gambler - Kenny Rogers
The End - The Beatles
I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself - White Stripes
and , of course,
(I've Got A) Sore Butt (& My Butt Is Sore)