David Freeze: After mosquitoes left me buzzing, time for a milkshake or two

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 26, 2017

Editor’s note: Salisbury native David Freeze is cycling from Anacortes, Washington, to Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Post is chronicling each day of his ride. Contact him at david.freeze@ctc.net.

Another cold morning greeted me in Havre, Montana, with at last one report of 41 degrees. Still I like to get going with little traffic on the road. Havre is a busy little town of about 10,000 and the downtown area had plenty of activity on a Saturday evening. People were moving around early this morning too, especially all the train workers getting ready for a busy day.

Headed east, still on US 2, and the first town along the way was Chinook. Chinook was nearest the site where Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians were defeated in a five day siege in 1877 called the Bears Paw Battle. Chief Joseph said his famous line, “I will fight no more forever.”

Next came a sign pointing to Zurich and then the town of Harlem. I got a breakfast burrito there even though the lady making it said, “Breakfast is over at 10 a.m.!” I missed it by five minutes but she made it anyway.

I rode past the Fort Belknap Agency, which is a tribal center for the Assinaboine and Gros Ventre Indians, then headed for Dodson. The only store in town was a market that I suspect a gracious older man keeps open to serve the community. We talked about the lack of rain and everyone making hay in the area. I don’t think I have seen in any other area such huge hay fields. The sun was bright and it warmed up later, so I suspect the balers will be busy tomorrow.

For about the last 25 miles coming into Malta, I was attacked by vicious mosquitoes. I couldn’t ride fast enough to get away and I slapped and kept riding for all I was worth. Thank goodness the terrain was not hilly today. There were so many mosquitoes that I hit five at a time on occasion. I just heard from the motel owner that this onslaught will continue on down the road.

I had decided to stay in Malta tonight after 90 miles that included a trip to Dairy Queen, and that first pineapple milkshake was great. Not too much that I can find is famous about Malta except the fourth biggest dinosaur skeleton ever was found nearby. Malta is certainly another grain elevator and train town but it does have a grocery store and I will visit it later. Kid Curry, part of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’s gang, pulled off Montana’s most famous train robbery near here. They only got a bag of gold coins for their efforts and soon left Montana.

Last night, I called ahead to a motel here and made a tentative reservation but when I arrived, the owner of that motel said I couldn’t keep the bike in the room. All this after his place was recommended by Adventure Cycling. I went next door to the Sportsman Motel and got the best price yet for the trip, not always a good thing. We’ll see.

This part of the trip has been along the Lewis and Clark Trail which I also used for part of my 2013 cross-country trip. Also, in Montana the American Legion puts a white cross on a metal pole at the scene of every highway death in the state. I have seen hundreds of these now since being in Montana. It’s a very sobering sight.

At this point, I don’t know where I will be tomorrow night but my traveling on US 2 will soon come to an end. There are few towns ahead for the next several days. We’ll just see how it goes.

Thanks again to a group of the sponsors for this trip. Father and Son Produce, Skinny Wheels Bike Shop and Dr. Tanya Williams Gentle Dental. You guys are all awesome to help make this adventure happen.

See you tomorrow after another potential battle with mosquitoes. I am thinking of heading for another milkshake!

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