Northern Tier 2010

July 22, 2010

The Mountains Are Gone

Filed under: Geology, Montana, Section 03 — Henry Scott @ 10:00 pm

I can still see an occasional butte, faintly to the north, but otherwise I’ve entered the plains and have many flat miles, predominantly on highway 2, ahead of me. Perhaps surprisingly, I’m enjoying the contrast in landscape. We’ll see how long that lasts.

I had a good morning in Cut Bank. I got up reasonably early, but stayed around the Riverview campground to let my gear dry out. It didn’t get wet in yesterday’s storm, but rather from condensation during the night. To pass the time I went out for breakfast and spoke with the owner of the park. He owns about a mile along the ravine on which the park is located, carved into thinly bedded sandstone, and he told me that a complete T-Rex was found here in the 1920’s and is referred to as the “coulee dinosaur.”

The rest of the day was flat with winds that slowly veered from cross with a slight tailwind to cross with a significant headwind. I stopped in Shelby to get groceries, and stayed for over an hour because a storm rolled in while I was shopping; I watched it while eating lunch under a large overhang. The downtown has a lot of character, and the town itself has a rich history of boom and bust economics, ultimately succeeding due to the discovery of oil deposits.

I was hoping to get 100 miles in today, but I got caught in another small storm — it was after that the wind once again became my adversary. I’ve been told that this region usually does indeed have predominantly westerly winds, except for when storms roll through, and we’ve been getting lots of storms recently.

After the storm, my speed kept dropping until I could barely maintain 10 mph, and at that point I reached Chester. The town allows free camping in a pretty park — complete with a large covered structure, drinking water and a clean bathroom.

I met another eastbound cyclist here named Seth; he is ultimately headed for New Hampshire, but we’ll follow the same route for quite a few miles. Before long a westbound biker came through, a teacher from New York, and a motorcyclist after him. We all quickly became friends and set up camp under the protected structure; this turned out to be a good move because sure enough, yet another storm rolled in last night.

Here’s hoping for a return to the prevailing westerlies tomorrow!



  1. You weren’t tempted to find out what a “delightful” room at the O’Haire Manor might look like? I know that is where you would have found me.

    Comment by Erika — July 23, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

  2. Here is to prevailing westerlies!

    Comment by monika — July 23, 2010 @ 8:50 pm

  3. Welcome to the FlatLands! Now let’s hope for lots of tailwinds and few winds from your tail! (But with all those breakfast burritos you’re eating . . . . . )

    Comment by Bruce — July 24, 2010 @ 11:57 am

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