Miles: 41.2. Total Elevation Gain (ft): 905.5 Weather: Rainy, Mostly Cloudy, Cool
Hillbilly Insults: 0
Roadkill: 0 Bugs Swallowed: 0
Mean Dogs Chasing: 0
Just as a cheesesteak is in your face, so are Philadelphians. Hot and spicy, they confront you with their boldness. Unwieldy and sloppy, they challenge you to react. I found this refreshing attribute in my host Joe, the proprietor of the Swan Lake Trading Post. Along with his affable wife Jocelyn, they've been running the place for twelve years.
It was getting dark and I saw a tattered Eagles flag flying at half mast above a tiny general store. I needed to stop riding and it was worth investigating why such a symbol of East Coast acrimony was flapping wildly in remote bear country. I arrived after hours, but Joe and Jocelyn greeted me and showed me around their place. They put me up in a new cabin, gave me keys to the shower and laundry and I was set.
Jocelyn is native to Seattle, and her friendly, refined nature matches that of her city. Iconic Joe is one if the friendliest chaps I've met, but I surmise that during a game against, say, the Giants, this Eagles fan can be pessimistic, obnoxious, uncultured and disagreeable. I never asked whether he threw beer at other teams when he was a season ticket holder. i witnessed that several times at old Veterans Stadium. Philly football culture is rooted in the violence of the sport, not the new sissyfied pansy-assed NFL foisted upon us by that mountebank, Roger Goodell.
Joe knows that in nicer cities, where the people are polite and smart, they eat salads ... and they are bored. So, South Philly to the core, he serves up a hefty breakfast sandwich that would do any cheesesteak fan proud. I had mine sitting at the counter, but it's made to be wolfed down while standing up, preferably on a curb next to an idling Chevy.
Needless to say, I recommend a stay or a stop at the Swan Lake Trading Post. Here's their vital information:
As I left, Joe whipped out his Eagles green vuvuzela and blared the horn upon my departure. He's honorably added to my Philadelphia Honor Roll of John Chaney, the Phantom Rider, Ben Franklin and other irascibly contentious people who add spice to life.
I was a couple of miles down the road when a green pick up truck sped by, then pulled in front of me on the shoulder. It was Joe. He saw that I left a receipt and Jocelyn's handwritten directions to my next stop on the counter. It was a hand delivery. Swell guy.
By the way, Joe, I'll take mine wid.
I don't think that Western Montana has the vitriolic type of Christianity I grew up around in Kansas. I moved from Brooklyn to the Bible Belt around age ten and observed the most daring liars denounce science and fact in favor of buffoonery for almost three decades. It was pure entertainment for me as I got to spar with and skewer my peers as they embraced the corporate buddy Jesus. Nonetheless, it was a surprise when I came upon the sign pictured below. I'm pretty sure that Christ doesn't need a state by state referendum mimicking the marijuana debate.
The ride today was pretty short, but I had to stop at the nearest place to Glacier National Park as I await the arrival of Katy, Felix and Camille. It turns out that I shouldn't have been so ambitious yesterday. I'll use the time to idle and relax in the condo like motel I stumbled upon. It will be the place the whole family can rest before camping.
I met a couple of young forest ranger/ecologists. They trap female grizzly bears for a living and take important measurements. They let me know that the area I rode through outranks the park for bear populations. Apparently, there's about one black or grizzly bear per square mile throughout the valley. They reassured me that I'd probably have no encounters.
Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events that are apparently unrelated, yet are experienced as occurring together in a meaningful manner. It was first described by Carl Jung in the 1920s.
Okay, it's just a bit of a reach, but today's big coincidental bonus is that my Aunt Debbie, Uncle John and their friend Liza were visiting Glacier Park today. They've come up from Naples, FL. What are the chances?! Skeptical stat wonks will scoff at my wonder, but the hell with those choates.
John picked me up by car and we all had dinner in tiny Columbia Falls. It was a blast as we discussed our family psychosis and educated Liza about hoarders, rageaholics, and the outrageous property tax rates in New Jersey. I'm sure she was riveted.
Tomorrow will be a pedestrian day of sloth. Yippee!