Day 19 of the journey
Wayfarers State Park
08:01 – Chris farts. He asks me, “Did you hear that? The alarm went off!” He giggles at his joke. I pull my sleeping bag up over my head and tell him to snooze it.
08:05 – Chris gets out of the tent to get our food out of the bear box and to heat water for coffee.
08:15 – I release the valve on my sleeping pad and listen to the air hissing out as I slowly sink down onto the stones beneath the tent.
08:17 – I really have to go to the bathroom, I realize, so I hurry to roll up my sleeping pad, sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, and pillow. I walk groggily down past the picnic table where my mom and Chris are conversing with another cyclist who also camped here last night.
11:04 – Three hours later, after a breakfast of caramel M&Ms and homemade granola mixed with powdered creamer and water for milk and topped with sliced bananas, we are finally packed up and roll out of camp.
11:45 – Chris and I leave my parents at an intersection where the route turns right, and we go straight for one mile to a convenience store in Ferndale, where we purchase sandwiches, cookies, salted nut rolls, carrots, peanut butter, and apples.
12:15 – There is a big climb, and going is slow. It is very hot, and my mom is starting to lose her cool.
15:37 – We finally reach the top! We plop down on the ground to eat ham and turkey sandwiches, peanut butter and apple wraps, and chocolate donuts. Chris and I each drink a beer that we had left over from last night.
15:58 – A car, a rare sight on these dirt roads, pulls up and rolls down the passenger side window. A cute young couple sits inside, and they ask if we are OK. We learn that their names are Reesa and Ryan, and that they are moving from San Francisco to Bozeman. Reesa grew up nearby, on Swan Lake. They have a nine month old son in the back seat. They offer us four more beers, the same kind that we just drank from Flathead Lake Brewing Company, and drive away.
16:05 – We begin the downhill.
16:35 – We are nearly down the hill. I go around the last gravely turn and glance backwards, just in time to see Dad crash.
16:37 – He lays in the grass on the side of the road, eyes shut, moaning. He points at two white and yellow flowers, one on each side of his head. “Look,” he says, “I’m pushing up daisies.”
16:42 – Chris checks Dad’s bike; it is in tact – no damage.
16:43 – Chris consults the map to see if there is a town nearby with a hotel and a pharmacy.
16:44 – Mom cleans Dad’s wounds with a wet handkerchief and applies Neosporin. He has huge raspberries on his knee, shoulder, and hip, and his thumb is torn up. Also, he has broken a rib or two.
17:02 – My dad insists that he can go on, so we do.
19:10 – We finally reach Fatty Creek, where we set up camp, rinse off in the creek, and start a fire.
20:00 – After a hearty dinner of rice mixed with beef jerky and a teriyaki chicken Mountain House meal, we roast marshmallows and eat them inside of oreos.
21:05 – After hanging our food, we settle down to sleep, with groans coming from my parents’ tent.