Call it a metamorphosis, but there is something to be said about driving across the entirety of the continental United States, alone. As I left behind the flats, and the rolling hills I had come to appreciate, the landscape changed, and I was wide awake again. The badlands were beautiful – I`d never seen such an assortment of colors on stone, and in nature nonetheless! Before I felt like a road tripper with two cats. Now I felt like a cowboy as I crossed into the dusty tundra of Montana. See, this major change in the landscape meant two things for me: 1) I was getting closer to the apogee of my journey, both figuratively, and literally. 2) I was finally seeing some reward for the ludacris amount of driving I was doing. The excitement wasn’t meant to last – yet. Montana is big. Like, really big. Maps do NOT do it justice. So, as I blazed on, cats lounging in the windows, bikes still secure on the roof, I fell into the same trance I had been under for the whole trip. @Stuffyoushouldknow podcast? Check. Coffee and emergency energy drinks? Check…
Let me reiterate that Montana is HUGE. The sun went down, and I kept forward. I lost track for how long I was driving through the night, all I know is that I had to stop about ¾ of the way through to sleep. There was simply no way I was going to be able to push through alone. It turned out to be for the better though, as this ensured that I would cross the Rockies during the day time, and really get to feel the insane terrain around me.
The vegetation had changed at some point as I drove through the night, and now I was surrounded by tall rock faces and beautiful evergreens – everything felt decidedly…open. I felt much better after letting myself sleep in and scarfing down some food. By now the process of unloading the car, bringing the cats inside, taking the bikes off the roof and inside the hotel had become a part of life, and so I relished in repacking everything as I geared up to leave. The landscape was beautiful now – I was happy, no I was lucky to drive through it. The phrase “Big Sky” was no joke, the sky actually feels bigger in Montana. This was some of the most unique terrain I had ever seen, and I hope to explore it via bike one day.
Westbound. A combination of wide dusty planes guarded by immensely beautiful mountain peaks that caught the sunlight in just the right way made this part of the state one of the most beautiful places I’d ever seen. Factor in the massive clouds that built up on those peaks and it was even more so. At one point, I started to ascend, and decent these beautiful peaks, crossing the continental divide, and driving my first miles on the west coast. The cloud cover was thickening with every mile, and with every foot higher that I drove. I had to make a brief stop to enjoy the scenery – tall mountains, lush evergreens and snow-covered peaks – these were all things that were new and exciting to the boy from Florida who dreamed of flying. I got back in my car to continue my ascent, not knowing that the most pivotal moment of my journey was right around the corner.
Due to COVID-19, I have all of the time to write! Stay healthy and safe my friends.