Greg hangs out in the park. It’s a small park in a small town. Eureka, Montana. A little green space behind the City Hall plus a couple picnic tables by the bend in the river. Visitors could put tents up on the green space – first come first served. No services. The bathrooms are in the convenience store a half block away. Open 24/7.
Donations of $10 to the City are appreciated. All this and more I learned from Greg.
Brian and I put up our tents there after a long day biking from Fernie. It hit 94 degrees that afternoon. We were hot, tired and thirsty.
As I left to walk over to the convenience store, Greg said hello from the shadows. He was sitting cross legged on the lawn next to the hedge. A skinny guy with rough grey beard and a baseball cap. He had that hollow look of a lost soul. I stopped to talk with him. He launched into a rapid fire dissertation about all aspects of this little green place. The underground automatic sprinkler system starts at 8:45 am on the outside near the road, 9:00 in the middle and 9:45 where our tents are put up. No warning, they just start raining. The water spigot across the road is right next to where RV’s drop their sewage. It’s there for those emptying their units to hook their hose and wash out their system. They water couldn’t be worse. He had warned me about it but we learned that when Greg feels dissed by people he tells them, “Best water in town,” then sits there and watches them as they wash their dishes or rinse out their clothes. He says that he draws the line when they head over to the spigot with their toothbrushes. I’m not so sure. Greg pointed out the outlet on the outside of City Hall where we could charge up our electronics. He warned us about the 7 pm town whistle. The dumpster is just around the corner.
We walked up the street to the restaurant Greg recommended – when we returned he had switched from pop to beer. Stories started flowing. Now he got his pot out. He was getting louder. A lot more vulgar. I learned that Greg had spent time for armed robbery. Prison taught him to keep his back to the wall. He is 57 years old but looks much older. He has a wife and kids in Kansas but left them for Eureka. He came here to die.
I waved to him next morning as we pedaled out of town. I would trust him totally to watch our stuff. He liked us because we listened. Look out if he doesn’t. I wonder about all the choices that got him there.
We put in our toughest day yet today. Pedaled on rough gravel to a remote mountain lake where there is a small camping area with no services. Two passes of over 5000 ft of climbing to get here. A couple from Whitefish gave us each a cold beer. Since they own Glacier Cyclery they like to see people on the Divide Trail. They were here to meet two other couples for a weekend of camping. We met a number of bikers on the Trail today including a young couple pulling their 3 year old in a trailer behind his bike. People from all over the world come to the Divide to test their mettle and enjoy life.