HWY 2 - Day 8 - Shelby, MT - Kalispell, MT
Met Anthony and Alex this morning as I was saddling up in Shelby. Black Barons from South Africa. Harley riders.
They had picked up rental bikes in San Francisco. Ridden up the coast. Headed east on HWY 2. Were on their way to Sturgis and points beyond for the next three weeks. Shared road stories. Even touched on world politics. The world is a small place these days. New brothers together.
Air was cool and fresh. So cool it felt good wearing most of the clothing I had packed for the trip. Cut Bank is popularly known as the coldest city in the US...mostly thanks to the presence of a US Weather Service monitoring station. But then again...who is to question a 27 foot-tall pengiun making a weather statement.
Twenty-two miles west of Cut Bank, a much abused monument along HWY 2 points out the most northerly point reached by Lewis and Clark on their cross-country expedition. On July 23, 1806 Lewis searching for the headwaters of the Marias River made it to this spot he called Camp Disappointment before turning back because of bad weather. Couldn't help but think how Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce had saved the lives of Lewis and Clark's entire expedition during one long winter when they were without food and shelter.
It's hard heading west on HWY 2 to believe that, despite having covered nearly 2,000 miles of undulating Pine and Prairie Plains I was yet to see and reach the mountains. Cresting a hill suddenly there they were...the rugged Rocky Mountains.
Parking my trusty Sportster took a moment to breathe in the fresh mountain air. A major realization hit me hard right between the eyes. All bikers name their motorcycles. Why was I still calling my bike a Sportster? How impersonal. Had I not the past few days experienced some difficult road conditions...yet handled them with confidence and style on the Sportster. This bike has to be one of the funnest Harley's I have ever ridden. Not named yet? What have I been thinking? Suddenly standing along the road it came to me. Ol' Sport. Yes, it's a friendly term of endearment used between equals, like buddy or the decidedly more modern... dude. Ol' Sport and me from this moment on heading down the road together...just a couple of cool dudes.
HWY 2 runs along the southern border of Glacier National Park. Traffic turning into the Park was congested and bumper to bumper. But Ol' Sport and I spent the rest of the day pressing and leaning into the twisty turns along the Flathead River on HWY 2. A beautiful ride together into Kalispell, MT.
Kickstand down Kalispell, MT 210 Miles.
Be strong, be safe, Talon and Ol' Sport