August 31 (Hingham, Montana population 118)

August 31: I headed out of Havre, Montana on US 2, aka the Great Northern Highway, which is a pretty major one-lane-each-way highway going through Montana. There was a "town" about every 7 miles on US 2 after Havre, set between the road and the railroad tracks that ran parallel. I use the term town very loosely here. I imagine these communities exist solely due to those trains that are the lifeblood of the midwest. Each of these towns consisted of maybe twenty to thirty houses and virtually no people. I literally wouldn't see a single person while biking down the one street looking for.... anything. One town, which my Adventure Cycling Association map listed as having a general store, had only one public building and that was a post office. The postal worker was nice enough to let me use the restroom and refill my water. Another town was supposed to have a restaurant. Turns out it had burned down about two years previously.

The day was getting progressively windier as the afternoon wore on. Passing some semblance of a town every seven miles. Battling a headwind. Always a headwind. People I met spoke of tailwinds and I would smile and nod like I knew what those were. Around 3 o'clock I finally came upon a bona fide public establishment. Spencer's Hi-way Bar, located in Hingham, Montana, is located directly on US 2. I left Dobby outside in the shade (out of the wind) with a chew toy and his mat to lay on. After eating lunch and talking to the bar owner and other patrons for an hour, I decided I was fed up with battling nature's insistent air currents for the day. So I sat and talked with the bar owner some more. He told me about a bicycle trip he had taken when he was younger. He told me about buying the bar, about his granddaughters, and about the horses they love to ride that live out back. He told me about his RV park, also set up right outside the back door of the bar. I saw patrons come in to buy various items. You see in Hingham, Hi-way Bar is a bar, restaurant, liquor store, and probably more. It is the only store in that town that I am aware of. It is a truck stop for weary truckers, or a place to stop for lunch while traveling along the seemingly desolate highway. The winds got so bad Spencer lost the top of his flagpole, flying off down the road east. I sat for so long in the bar I ended up eating dinner there too.

Spencer ended up offering me an efficiency for the night, one that he usually rented out. He let me stay there for free. I had my tent, and he had space for me to set it up, but he was concerned stray dogs may bother me or some other trouble may find me. I got to sleep in a bed, take a shower, eat and sleep and be in a shelter. I was out of the wind and dust, clean for the night.