In the days leading up to now, I had struggled like a penniless kid who pressedher nose up to the candy store window to dream about one day being able to goin and buy the whole damn store. I had genuinely hoped and believed I wouldmeet new friends to ride with on this trip. So today I didn't go to the candystore window - I shut down the dream of any friendly human connection. Justkept my head down and pedaled through it. Excessively loading my bike down withmore than a gallon of water was enough to distract me for most of the day. Thatextra challenge on the hills helped distract me from solitude.
And then, theclouds parted. Ok not really, but after nearly 70 miles of zero humaninteraction (and the first real rain on the trip) I coasted into tiny Rexford.And met Dawn Rae who served me a couple beers, offered me a place to stay andgave me a much-needed hug before I set off for the last few miles of the day.
In Eureka Ifound the spot where the Northern Tier route intersects the Tour Divide -- Ihad met my goal! I'd biked from the Pacific Coast Highway route to the Tour Divide,connecting Blackburn's two sponsored routes. Found an unsuspecting soul to snapmy photo in the otherwise dingy Subway-gas station parking lot. He obliged,listened patiently while I explained my accomplishment, then scratched his headand said "better you than me." I don't know about that, but it feelsgood to have done it.
A few moremiles and I set up camp among the deerin Eureka's city park. A quiet cold night, and in the morning I was off with asmile on my face to cover the remaining 58 miles into Whitefish. After a huge,carbo-loading breakfast of course. Got pretty comfy tucking in to my veggieEggs Benedict and chatted a bit with Richard, the town's unofficial mayor. Heknew everyone in the place, was literally kissing babies, hopping from table totable and it wasn't long before he came to see me. He was happy to show off histown and made sure I had what I needed for the last leg of my trip.
Well, he madesure I had all the supplies I needed. I couldn't get him to find me a ridingbuddy, but I figure if that was going to happen, Richard would have made it so.