So the drive out from Pennsylvania to Points West had its perks early on. I had crossed the Ohio, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers, seen the National Grasslands of Iowa and South Dakota, and been amazed, once more, by the Badlands. But the real trip started as I neared the Continental Divide in Montana. The eastern part of the state is relatively flat…And then you see the mountains in the distance.
The drive through the Rockies in Montana is less strenuous than Colorado or Wyoming. This and the length of the state reminded me of 1972… My two younger brothers rode their bikes from our home near the Pacific Ocean to their respective schools. Their end point was New Hampshire. If I remember correctly, 48 bike days for 3000+ miles. And this was in the early 70s when the bicycles were good, but not titanium-good. They told me stories of sitting at campfires in the evenings and patching tire tubes. Their journey always impressed me… I am a believer that we all need to accomplish a few things in life that can be reflected upon as being something that very few people do. This bike trip was one of those…They could look back and personally boast that very few had ever arrived in school via a continental bike ride!!!
The other part part of their journey, remembered during my drive, was their loathing for Montana. I recall being stunned when this was mentioned. But they told me about the seemingly endless ride across this state with a constant headwind of 10-15 mph. This prompted them to think of Montana as Big Sky? My Eye! Remember that this was the 1970s… The rhyme and language would probably be coarser now.
So here’s to my brothers, Jan and Kevin, as I continue to follow the basic route of Lewis and Clark to the beginnings of our Old Fart “Drive About” adventure.