You’ve probably all seen the movie. Truman (played by Jim Carrey) thinks that he is an ordinary man living an ordinary life. In fact, since birth, he has been living in a large studio with hidden cameras, all his friends and family are actors, and his daily activities and interactions (all scripted and set up by the TV crew) are aired on a hit TV show: The Truman Show.
Well, we’ve started to feel a bit like Truman. It seems like everywhere we go, there is a big raincloud just above us following us along. People will talk about glorious sunshine just down the valley. We will look outside our motel and see sunshine. We will dress accordingly. Then we will step outside. As the door swings open and Trusty and Steed nudge their front wheels out, the raindrops start. It happens time and again. Yesterday evening, after arriving coated from head to toe in grit from the road, soaked through and miserable, we showered and then headed out to do our laundry in town (which wouldn’t have been necessary had it not been for the rain during the day). When we were inside showering, the rain had stopped. When we stepped out again to go into town, the rain started coming down hard and we were drenched in just minutes. This morning, there was no rain as we clipped the panniers onto the bikes. In the few minutes that it took Margaret (Anthony’s Garmin) to calculate the route, the rain had started to come down. We waited a few minutes, trying to sit it out, but after a while we just had to head off…we figured that the road was already wet anyway so we might as well just go. And don’t even get us started on the headwind. Sometimes we swear that we hear one of the directors shouting, in his Kiwi accent, “Hit the wind machine button, Wendy!”
So, we got wet again. Then it dried up, and we stopped to get the yummiest cookies ever from a little roadside cafe, then it rained again. Lunch was an interesting affair, not so much due to what we ate, which was rather ordinary, or where we were, as it was just an average supermarket, but because we had a great chat with Scott, a math and chemistry teacher/football coach from the local school and all-round “good egg” (as we would say in England). He told us about the local area: the Flathead Indian Reservation. St Ignatius, where we had stayed the night before, was founded by Native Americans under direction of Catholic Missionaries. Hence, it is a very religious place. It also explains why the ladies who came to clean our motel room this morning were wearing clothes that looked like Amish traditional dress, but in white cloth rather than black. Also, the area is home to the Salish and Kootenai tribes, and all the road signs are written in English and Salish characters, with an explanation in English of the meaning of places e.g. “near the cold, chilling waters” – that’s Missoula… It was a fascinating conversation, and Scott made it all sound so interesting that we bet he is a talented and popular teacher. If Scott was an actor, set up for us by our “Directors”, we were very happy about it!
Back on the road, and feeling culturally enriched, if not well-fed, we continued to climb on the bad road surface, against a strong headwind, and with the rain coming down. We peaked out around 4,200 ft (which surprised us as we did not realize that we would be climbing much today). Over the top, and we found the road surface suddenly smooth, the wind behind us, and a nice gentle downhill for a good few miles. Rolling into a small town called “Wye”, it started to rain again. We figured that the Directors do at least have our sense of humour; it’s just that they can’t spell.
It was a tough 42 miles into Missoula. Perhaps we had expected it to be easy because we just did 85-mile and 72-mile rides over the last couple of days. It’s a mental game. But we did at least arrive in Missoula at a decent time.
Checking in, we picked up our new replacement for Audrey (Kat’s Garmin/Gamine) that we had delivered here by Amazon. Unfortunately, we have been unable to revive Audrey, and so we’ve had to replace her. We guess it was the work of the Directors again. How do you keep the ratings up without a sudden death every now and again? Kat’s quite choked up about it, but relieved to have a new Gamine. But we don’t know what to call her yet… Followers, your suggestions are welcome.
“Audrey” (2009 – 2010) RIP.