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Mahlique’s Blog Post-Jul 15 SnR’s #acaLewisClark Tour of Discovery

So, we were on our way to Whitehall, MT and the ride was fantastic.  Kyvon had to get in the van, again, because he broke his seat post clamp.  Now, he has to stay in the van for 5 days until Rich can arrive with the part needed to fix it.

Anyway, a giant storm came out of nowhere so we decided to wait it out.  We put our bikes up against a bench on the side of a store and headed for shelter.  Shortly thereafter, a truck pulled up to my mom. The whole time I was thinking it was just another nice citizen telling her how cool the trip was, but boy was I wrong. According to him “(y)our kind wasn’t welcomed to stay” on his property. Maybe when he said “(y)our kind” he meant cyclists but when questioned further he looked at Ibn and Brentton and said to my mom “you know what I mean”. We left and cycled about 8 miles in the rain. By this time it was nearly passed and although it was cold it was a light rain and not a storm.

At the RV campground in Whitehall we met a guy named Justin who was pretty cool and nice. Much nicer than the man just 8 miles up the road.  He let us use his grill and in return we gave him dinner.  He was managing the campgrounds that night. By the way, dinner this year is great!  Each night it’s something new. We had Chili-Mac which is EVERYONE’S favorite.

After dinner, Jojo, Kyvon and I decided to take a walk.  We ended up helping an older man put up a fence post in his yard.

Oh, yea. I forgot to say that we were 30 miles from the Meth (methamphetamine) capital of Montana. Meth is a BIG problem up here.  Justing told me you could get it from ANYONE. That is some crazy stuff.

The campsite was OK and I got some OK rest. We awoke to another wet tent.  We all got up and got our tents put up really fast. I think the fastest, so far.  We ate muffins for breakfast and were out and on the road before 8am. That was a first and it felt great.

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2 responses

  1. Nancy Lien

    Upon reading your story about your encounters near Whitehall I felt compelled to respond that your interpretation of being asked to leave is an unfortunate misperception. I work at the store east of Whitehall to which you referred in your blog. The comments to move along we’re definitely NOT racially motivated, but related to the problems we have at the store with cyclists using facilities but not purchasing any goods or services. If there was any prejudice involved it would have been the general feeling that ranchers, like my employer, have about the arrogance of cyclists who are usually bad about sharing the road especially with livestock trailers. There are many accidents in our part of the country where a trailer with livestock has to brake for cyclists causing serious damage to the cattle or horses being hauled. It is not uncommon for Montanans to “cuss” cyclists fir this. Adding the freeloading on private property by some travelers probably just exasperated the situation.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    • Hi Nancy,

      Thanks for your comments. I really don’t believe that there was any “unfortunate misperception” with our encounter with the owner of the store. When asked to leave the property and questioned on specifically whom we was referring to by the “your kind” statement he looked directly at my two college interns, who were African-American and NOT wearing cycling gear like all the rest of us, and stated “you know what I mean”. It really can’t get clearer than that. Also, the veiled threat that he owned half the county was an indication that we would find no solace in the area.

      The youth cyclists did purchase items from the store but the owner stated that he didn’t care ift they’d purchase anything or not. We needed to leave the property. Sharing the road is important. We teach our youth cyclists this from the start. In Montana, unlike many other states, it is completely lawful to ride a bicycle on the highway so it would be incumbent upon any driver to be mindful and watchful of any slow moving vehicle.

      As far as judging the actions of a few cyclists on all cyclists I would caution against that as we don’t judge the residents of Cardwell on the actions of one man. The response from Cardwell, Whitehall and the surrounding area is resounding with that sentiment.

      August 11, 2012 at 2:55 PM

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