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The Art of Detachment
Conrad and Cut Bank, Montana
Days 96: Sept. 6, 2002

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It was a cold gray day in the beginning of September. The north wind was streaming through the desolate hills at the feet of the Rockies. Ragged clouds, dark and low, seemed to hang in the sky despite the wintry winds. From Great Falls the cyclist turned north along I-15 running parallel to the Rocky Mountains. The country was less rough and less barren then the withered heath of the eastern badlands; but the cold, cheerless sky and the bite of rain and wind hindered his travel.

Each day the land looked much the same as did the day before. It was a wide land of bleak hills and deep valleys once cut by ancient and mighty rivers where now only brown trickling creeks flowed.

The cyclist passed the night hours in crumbling somber town inns. Conrad the first night, and Cut Bank on the second. They were plains towns that had catered to summer tourists traversing the Rockies, and had met here before moving onwards to Glacier. Cut Bank was a cold, decrepit town where the howl of trains in the night competed with the hiss of wind sweeping down the mountain range, and frigid rain pattered upon the pane of windows with forlorn views.

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