DAY 4 - Thursday, July 11, 1968
IT'S ABOUT TEN O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING AND I'M SITTING alongside the machine on a cool, shady curbstone back of a hotel we have found in Miles City, Montana.
We got in here in the afternoon and made up for a lot of sleep.
This establishes their location overnight. Day 3 was a shorter 206 miles, and this day 4 will be short as well due to a late start from Miles City.
Under some shady trees I find Bill’s Cycle Shop but no Bill.
This cycle shop is now gone.
We head down the main street, find a restaurant and order steaks for lunch.
They have a slow morning due to running errands and cycle tuning, not moving yet. Day 4 mileage is only about 171.
NOW WE FOLLOW THE YELLOWSTONE VALLEY RIGHT ACROSS Montana.
Sometimes we cross over bluffs that take us out of the irrigated area, but usually we stay close to the river.
They don't give specific location points, but we don't really need them for this short day. From Miles City to Laurel, MT is pretty much a straight shot and the only options are I-94 or a series of back roads that also parallel the Yellowstone river. Based on the guidance from day 1 on how he selects routes, and based on a lack of freeway references, I'm assuming he's taking the back roads as much as possible.
We pass by a marker saying something about Lewis and Clark. One of them came up this way on a side excursion from the Northwest Passage.
Pompeys Pillar National Monument is the only thing Lewis and Clark related in this area, and is right on the route about 126 miles in on the day. Might be a nice rest stop.
We pull off into a little town that could be in the middle of Iowa. The corn is growing high all around and the smell of fertilizer is heavy in the air.
The little town isn't going to be possible to identify. I don't think it's as far as Billings, MT, as they wouldn't call that a small town. But looks like a stop pretty late in the day, it could be around Worden, MT or Huntley, MT. Worden has streets named after Lewis and Clark as well, so that could be the L&C reference.
We retreat from the parked cycles into an enormous, high-ceilinged old place. To go with the beer this time I order every kind of snack they've got, and we have a late lunch on peanuts, popcorn, pretzels, potato chips, dried anchovies, dried smoked fish of some other kind with a lot of fine little bones in it, Slim Jims, Long Johns, pepperoni, Fritos, Beer Nuts, ham-sausage spread, fried pork rind and some sesame crackers with an extra taste I'm unable to identify.
I don't know if their last meal - which he called lunch - was an early lunch, or was really their breakfast.
No help later as he doesn't reference dinner either. Just a late afternoon snack here I guess.
OUTSIDE IN THE VALLEY AGAIN THE SKY IS STILL LIMITED BY THE bluffs on either side of the river, but they are closer together and closer to us than they were this morning. The valley is narrowing as we move toward the river's source.
Not much of value here, they're still following the Yellowstone. There isn't much travel left to be done in the day at this point, however. Maybe 35 or 40 miles, and much of that is through Billings.
At Laurel, in sight of the mountains at last, we stop for the night. Sylvia and John and Chris and I walk up the long main street in the gathering dusk and feel the presence of the mountains even though we talk about other things.
It's not stated, but I'm assuming they're walking the main street to a restaurant for dinner. There is a long "Main Street" in Laurel, and it has plenty of restaurants....Continue to Day 5