The next morning we head south out of camp for lunch at Choteau. One of the women in our group is having trouble getting her snacks stashed on her bike and comes up with a new excuse to eat, "I'll have to eat more before I can get my handlebar bag closed!" Most riders have formed alliances with a few others who match them in riding style. The miles roll by quickly when sharing the sights and hills.
Our lunch stop is at the picnic tables in the grassy rest area of a cafe and dairy counter. Julie comes out of the cafe with a milkshake, and the rush is on. The antique-but-reliable green Hamilton milkshake-maker whirls inside of the shiny metal can. I can nearly taste my chocolate shake. Thirty people line up to order. Patrons at the tables look peculiarly at our lycra outfits but are open to conversation, and are interested in what we are doing. I'm sure they think we are mad, crazy, or both. Perhaps.
During the long warm afternoon ride through the rolling prairie, a glut of grasshoppers hop and fly about. They resurrect memories of summer time in Illinois. Light'ning bugs, grasshoppers, and crickets were the stuff of summer bug collections.
Augusta (elev. 4,080), another one-main-street town. Barbara, Lauren, and I walk "into town" after setting up camp. Down the street I see a hardware store, one of my favorite places to browse. Inside, the worn dark hardwood floor squeaks under my foot steps. This is more than a hardware store: this is a veterinary supply store, a native crafts outlet, a Christmas shoppe, and a general store for ranching supplies. In the crafts corner, a pink wooden tulip atop a green dowel lawn spike catches my eye. Gordon and I have chuckled about our pre-trip instructions not to bring lawn-decorating pink flamingos in our gear. At $2, this tulip is too good to pass up.
Back at the campsite while Gordon is elsewhere, I plant the tulip at his tent's front door.
Dinner is put on by the local Chamber of Commerce. They have prepared bbq beef ribs, macaroni and cheese (for the vegetarians in the group), green salad and a variety of dressings, baked potatoes with all of the fixin's, fruit salad, cookies, vanilla ice cream, coffee and tea.