In addition the the generous offer to share their hotel room with us, Leo and Tom also helped us out by getting us out of bed at our goal wake-up time of 4:30AM. This is getting to be particularly important now that temperatures are climbing to the upper 90’s. We were on the road by 5:45, increasing our speed over the day as the lovely tailwinds picked up. The mosquitos were as aggressive as the last few days, so the winds were helpful in reducing their bites as well. While the mosquitos were at their worst, we took turns riding behind one another, calling out “right calf!” or “left shoulderblade!” to warn the person in front of where a mosquito had landed. Those tailwinds propelled us along, easily reaching Havre by 11AM. We saw about 10 antelopes on the way, some of them quite close! We don’t have any pictures of them though, owing to their speed and the mosquitoes attacking us at every stop. The ride was mostly flat until we reached Havre, which is surprisingly hilly. We wanted to go further, but in that heat, it didn’t seem safe to continue. We wandered around the 9,000 person town, trying to find Northern MTU, where they’ve set up a cyclist-only lodging in one of the dorms. Unfortunately they’ve just increased the price from $10/person to $17/person, and given the lack of A/C or wifi or sheets on the single beds, we were not exactly thrilled with the price. But it was away from the mosquitoes, and slightly cooler than camping, so we did it.
In Havre, Nick got to the bike store to get new rim tape for Rachel’s rear tire and some new tubes while Rachel drank a frozen coffee drink at the university library, working on a couple of research projects. Back at the dorm, we met back up with Leo and Tom, the father and son we met the day before, as well as Cassie and Joey, a pair that just graduated from college in MN and are biking to Seattle.
We spent some time warning each other about the rides in our respective directions, and then we went out for pizza and beer at Pro Pizza, which was ‘t half bad. They had local dark beers too! When we got back, the custodian had gotten us ice cream bars, so we enjoyed our dessert with our fellow cyclists (well, sort of – Rachel kept working on a research proposal). We went to bed far too late, given the next day’s wake-up of 4:25AM.
today’s ride: 61 miles (approx)
time in saddle: 5 hours, 15 minutes (approx)
total distance: 1,134 miles