August 12 - Uncle Frog Arrives! And Leaves!: Broadus to Miles City, MT

Let's see. where to begin...Oh Yeah.....ROAD RASH. No that's not it. Oh yeah....BEE STING....No that's not it.....Well, maybe I ought to start at the very beginning. I was born, not that far back.

This is Craig and this story starts on Monday, August 11,1997 in San Diego. After reading the wonderful journals of Al & Cheryl, I decided I had to be a part of this odyssey. So I hopped on an airplane and flew into Billings Mt.,rented a car (actually a Nissan Pathfinder), threw my bike in the back and drove 220 miles in a little over 2 hours (the speed limit in Montana is reasonable and prudent...although I believe my speed was somewhat less than reasonable and prudent), and joined this family in the wonderful little hamlet of Broadus,Mt.

I slept with the wiggle-worm Cody that night and was sure he was going to wiggle me right out of the tent.

Today began simple enough. Al had figured out plan for the extra car which required some hop-scotching and a lot of extra driving for the main support person, Cody. So he (Al) left at 6:30 to ride the 35 miles to Volborg, the only "town" between us and our eventual destination Miles City, Mt., the birthplace of Harry, and the reason for our trip to Miles City.

Shaine and I went out for a cowboy breakfast at the local watering hole/cafe .I ordered ham and pancakes and Shaine ordered one of everything on the menu. ( Note from Shaine: I did not! I had the same amount of food that Uncle Frog had.) I think her parents have been starving her on the trip. She even substituted a donut for the breakfast roll when we found out they wouldn't be ready for 20 minutes.

Cheryl and I got started for our ride at 8:30, although we were a little late as Cheryl hopped on her bike and then decided she could ride better with her bike shoes and not her sandals. Well, everyone was gone so I rode out to find Cody and the girls to get a key to get back in Bikrutz, the camper. No luck. I rode back dejectedly thinking I would be riding alone, only to find Cheryl with her bike shoes on and ready to roll. Turns out she had a hide-a-key and it had just slipped her mind. So here we go 79 miles mostly on my bike.

Cheryl is a wonderful photographer and we stopped often to record the incredible scenery which surrounded us. This might be called the badlands, but it has a charm and beauty all it's own. This is cattle and ranching country, but there are lots of small farms dotting the countryside. I found myself singing America the Beautiful as we cruised across the gently rolling hills. When we stopped for a photo opportunity I told Cheryl what I had been humming and she laughed and told me she had been doing the same thing.

Al, Cody, Shaine and Annie met us at Volborg. Population 5, actually 4 because the postmistress Jean Stanley told us mother had moved to town. We had a delightful time talking with her and eating lunch, and then we were off and riding again. Cheryl and I on single bikes and Al and Shaine on the tandem. This is where I learned how to fly.

I was cruising along minding my own business and leading the pack. All of a sudden I had run out of road, I tried to correct and that made matters worse. So, me and my bike went flying down SR59. I swear it was the only time I wasn't riding out of the 80 miles we rode today. So I flagged down my fellow riders and we stopped and tried to put me back together again. Fortunately Cody and the support crew had not gone ahead to the next meeting place. He pulled over, nurse Shaine Cratchett put me back together again, Al checked the bike and we were back on the road in less than 15 minutes. Road rash is a terrible thing but a great teacher. Lesson #1 when you are on the road you must pay attention or pay the price!

Well, things proceeded splendidly from there. I had not slept well the night before, not only because of Cody the wiggle-worm, but I was suffering from performance anxiety. I had never ridden more than 40 miles on my bike and our goal today was 80 miles. And here I was 60 miles into the ride and only a little the worse for wear. At this point Cheryl was helping Cody ferry the two cars to a convenient place. Calamity was to rear its' ugly head once again.

This time I was paying attention....but that damn bee wasn't. It flew right into and stung me in the only exposed place on my face, that small space between my sweat band and my glasses. At this point I was beginning to think I was the trip's sacrificial lamb. Well, it didn't hurt very much and as Annie said that bee wouldn't sting anyone again, it was dead! I guess that is some consolation.

Well, the rest of the trip was somewhat mundane. More beautiful scenery, more photographs, more wonderful riding, and more special time with the Bikrutz family.

I fly back to San Diego tomorrow, but my heart remains here. This was how America was made, families traveling West.

Miles: Craig, 80; Al (Tandem&single) 80; Cheryl (single) 56; Shaine (Tandem) 22.5; Ann (Tandem) 12.

Total Miles: 2542

-Craig Bikrutz

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Have You Ever Seen Cows Run? (a mini journal by Shaine)

Have you ever seen cows run? Well, I have and I must say that they run quite gracefully.

We passed through cow (my dad says that it is actually cattle because they are used for beef, not milk) country today and the cows were all bunched up into small herds or grazing with their babies. The odd thing was, though, I don't believe they have ever seen a tandem or even a single bike, and they were reasonably startled when they saw me and my dad riding by them. You know how I know they were startled? Every single cow we saw would look at us for a couple seconds then turn their heads and flipped their tails and dart off into the surrounding hillside (they actually didn't dart seeing as how cows are large and fat and they can't dart, but oh well). Once one cow did this, all the other cows would proceed to do the same exact thing.

I have no idea why this phenomenon happened, maybe itwas something I said that offended so greatly (I did try mooing at them, but I can't imitate cows that well). If there is a cow expert out there who is reading this, and you know why this happened, please E-mail us promptly.

Oh yeah, I made a horse rear by neighing at him (I really like neighing at horses because I like them to neigh back). I wonder what I said meant in horsie language?

I will now leave you pondering my last question. (from cody: apparently she forgot her last question....)

**Next Day's Journal**

-Shaine Bikrutz