I left off writing yesterday after some man I met at a McDonalds suggested I go to Valier, Montana. It was only 25 minutes away (from the direction I was heading.). I had to go.
I got to the one gas station in town and asked the bubbly man behind the counter what there was to see in Valier.
“Depends what you’re looking for.”
“I heard there’s a nice lake.” And so he gave me directions to Lake Frances. I went to the lake, partly down a gravel road with a sign announcing: Bear Country. I parked at the point and watched a woman backing a trailer with a boat in it into the water. On another small boat a man with a hat kept yanking the rope on an engine trying to start it. Then it would die out and he’d start again. A cacophony of bird cries came from a small island. That was about it. No bears. So much for that sign.
I got back on the bike and rode to Great Falls and stopped at a Harley dealer to buy a T shirt. Then down the road a ways to Starbucks. A woman sat down and a table across from mine. She was a chubby woman with short hair, flat comfortable shoes and rumpled clothes. I could see she had legal papers that looked like a court order. Yellow sticky notes fell out of a file and she had a yellow legal pad with writing on it. She was mumbling occasionally to herself. Had to be a social worker. If I could see her car I could confirm it.
The thing about having no destination makes certain words irrelevant. How can you make a wrong turn? How can you be lost? How can you be late? Why rush? There’s no such thing as making up for lost time. How can you really make a detour? Makes you think about the expectations and demands we put on ourselves. I mean, I know we have to work, have family obligations and all that but what about the other times when we feel we have to be so busy? Setting goals, racing around. Why do we devalue certain moments? Hurrying down the road to what we think will be a better moment and feeling that we just have to quickly get through this one. Like the desert is boring? All moments are precious. Turn off the radio, the TV and cd’s, put down the phone, find and invest yourself in the beauty of each moment. It’s not coming back.
Thanks to all of you that are reading this blog! I had 74 views yesterday.
By the way, Divine Providence, in my humble understanding, is only allowed to come to me in the moment, on the road. Thank you for the suggestions to go here and there. If I did all of them I wouldn’t get anywhere. But maybe that’s the point.
Some photos from Glacier National.
Slept late. It was great not having to pack up and leave, as I did most mornings. I walked into town and had breakfast at the Two Medicine Grill. Then I walked back and took a nap. Before noon I headed toward St Mary’s and Glacier National Park, and the “Going – to – the – Sun Road” which cuts across the park. On the way there were signs saying: Road construction: motorcycles should take alternate route. I slowed the bike, looked around and said: what alternate route? So I went ahead. There were about 5 sections where the road had eroded or was being repaired. Loose rocks and gravel. It wasn’t too bad. Then there were some nice twisty roads which were enjoyable being able to lean into the curves. I was about 30 miles from the Canadian border. Finally, I made it into the park and rode along St Mary’s lake. The mountains loomed high behind them and were riddled with snow. I’ll try and attach a photo. The scent of the fir trees was amazing. The road was only open for about 15 miles because they were still plowing the snow from the road. So, I probably missed the best of the park. And while it was spectacular I thought about places that I had ridden through that were even more so: parts of Yosemite with my buddy El Jefe and the road from Canmore, Alberta to Banff to the Saskatchewan River Crossing with my friend Kevin.
According to a recent USA Today article: “The park’s glaciers are estimated at 7,000 years old and “peaked,” the USGS (United States Geological Survey) said, in the mid-1800s during the “Little Ice Age.” In 1850, the park had an estimated 150 glaciers. Since that time, its lost about 85% of its ice area and now has less than 30 glaciers.” It’s predicted that by the year 2030 there will be no more glaciers in the park. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether you believe in climate change or not.
I gassed up Big Red and packed before I went to bed. As I fell asleep I kept thinking: Where in the hell will Divine Providence take me tomorrow? Come to think of it: Where will It take you?
I can’t ride anymore. I need a break. But first I have a strange story to tell you. Got a minute or two?
On Day 7, in my quest for opening myself to guidance from Divine Providence on this trip I wrote in this blog: “If someone mentions a place I should visit, I must go there.” As soon as I wrote that I thought, well, maybe not “must”, maybe I just consider going there. But then I got to Bishop, California and Rusty’s Saloon and an old codger, when he heard my story, said: “What you need to do is go to Glacier Park. It’s beautiful man. Way better than Yellowstone.” I thought to myself: Okay, here may be an omen, a sign – I should go to Glacier Park!
When I got back to my motel I Googled how far it was to Glacier Park. 1100 miles! It wasn’t on the way to anywhere! No way was I going there! Not to mention that the guy in the bar told me he was known by his initials: EZ. Divine Providence would not speak to me through a guy named EZ!
Well, we’ll see. Maybe Providence just wants me to head in that direction and then he/she will send me somewhere else? So I headed toward Glacier and hoped I’d be directed somewhere else along the way.
Well, I wasn’t and here I am. Glacier National Park. And I have no clue as to why I’m here.
I felt really fatigued this morning when I headed out and when I got here and saw this beautiful cabin I knew I’d spend another night here. So that’s how things stand. I’m here.
Tomorrow, I hope to take it easy and go on the “Going – to – the – Sun Road” which cuts across the park. Safe riding to you.