Today is Friday, July 13, 2018. It is day many people consider unlucky because it is a Friday the 13th.
I have been on the road for over two weeks. Being on the road for long periods of time by yourself is lonely. For much of the day an old Billy Joel song called the “”Piano Man” played in my head. In the song Billy Joel talks about playing a piano in a bar where patrons request their favorites. The part stuck in my mind was all the people in the bar were “sharing a drink they call loneliness, but it’s better than drinking alone.”
I deal with the loneliness by talking on the phone to people back home after the cycling is done. Other opportunities for direct human contact are relatively limited in Eastern Montana, which has very few people. Fridays are especially lonely because back home, this is the main night of the week when guests come over for dinner.
I was not looking forward to the Jordan to Circle Montana stretch. It was relatively short, just 68 miles. However, it had many punishing hills to climb. I ended up climbing three-quarters of a mile today.
More importantly, today was expected to be especially lonely because there is almost no place to stop. There is one highway rest area at the 36 mile marker. There is one bar around the 55 mile marker. Other than that there is nothing.
I really mean nothing. There are almost no cross roads, almost no homes, and almost no animals. In a car the emptiness goes by quickly when driving at highway speeds. On a bike when slowly grinding up a two mile long incline the emptiness seems to stretch forever.
The loneliness was broken at the rest stop when I meet up with the Swanson family. This couple and their two children were pedaling from Seattle to Minneapolis. They had done many long distance cycling trips and had interesting stories. I had lunch with them, a drink of Gatorade at the 55 mile marker bar with them and dinner with them in Circle, Montana.
It was Friday and I got to share the day with interesting people instead of being lonely. Who says all Friday the 13th’s are unlucky?