Day 17. June 30 – Our 3rd anniversary as married people and 8th year of togetherness! Whoop!
As soon as we started out from the campground we hit a snag. Ethan had a flat tire. We decided to head back to McDonald’s so he could change the tube out even though it seemed to be a slow leak. As soon as he flipped the bike over we found the problem. There was a tiny piece of wire stuck in the tire that had punctured the tube. We checked the tire for more wires (we learned our lesson from last time we dealt with these things!) and didn’t find any. Ethan replaced the tube while I charged my phone.
The flat tire was only a minor setback and we were on the road by 8:15. The wind was at our backs, for the most part, and with its help we went 24 miles in two hours and stopped in Shelby for breakfast. Shelby is a decent size town so we were hoping for McDonalds, but there wasn’t one. So disappointing.
About 10 miles after Shelby, we thought we were home free with the wind, but it turned on us and started blowing from the north. We were caught in a pretty awful crosswind basically the rest of the day. It wasn’t as bad as a headwind, but it did slow us down and really made me angry. We kept hoping the road would turn to the south a little so the wind wasn’t hitting so dead on from the side, but it didn’t. It just kept going and going straight to the east.
I got pretty tired and the rest of the way was pretty rough. The scenery didn’t change at all. It was also very, very warm and sunny and we both ended up having to put shirts with sleeves on to protect our arms from the sun. Ethan ended up putting on his rain jacket with nothing underneath and I just put on a t-shirt. We sweated and pedaled until we got to a tiny town called Chester.
Ethan really wanted to go the next town, Hingham, but it was 24 more miles we were both dead tired and hot. We pulled up to the one of the two restaurants in town to get a late lunch. As Ethan took off his jacket I thought he had like giant sweat droplets on his shoulders. Turns out tharu were actually blisters. It was probably the grossest thing I’ve seen in a while. We think what happened is that he got sunburned a few days ago so his skin was ready to start peeling, then he was sweating so badly that it just bubbled up under his skin (sorry if that grosses you out, but it was worse in person. I promise).
For lunch, we each had a burger (I’m doing really bad at the whole vegan thing on this trip!) and shared a heaping portion of sweet potato fries. They were amazing! After we had rehydrated and got a little bit back to normal, we decided we needed to stay and give our bodies a break. As we were leaving, Ethan noticed his back tire had gone flat again! Ughhhhhh! He walked his bike and we headed over to the city park where they allow people to camp for free.
The park was pretty nice and there was a big pavilion, so Ethan set up shop there to fix the tire. It was another wire and he decided he needed a new tire altogether. The current one had little to no tread left and he figured that’s why things were getting through. After he fixed it we headed to the grocery store to see about an anniversary treat! We bought some Chips Ahoy! cookies (my favorite) and as we were leaving I noticed that the cafe connected to the store had a special for a large, one topping pizza for only $8!! What?!? I mean it was a gas station/grocery store, so there was a slim chance that it was actually good. But hey! A large for $8 is a steal and we couldn’t pass that up. We went back in and ordered and 20 minutes later devoured the entire thing. It wasn’t the best pizza, but it wasn’t the worst either! We were full and that’s really all that mattered.
After our pizza we headed back and set up camp. As we were getting ready for bed we heard a few kids running through the sprinklers on the other side of the parking lot. They were screaming and being kids and we kinda hoped they didn’t notice us. But they did. One of the boys came over and stood right in front of the tent and asked what we were doing. We tried to explain, but I think it was a but beyond him. He asked where our parents were, so we told him and he gave us a look like he had never even heard of Michigan before. It was pretty funny, but we needed to go to sleep. We told him it was bed time and then I think one of his sisters dragged him away. It was cute.
It was a long, hot Montana day! It was a great 3rd/8th anniversary, although I will say that I don’t think I want to be biking across Montana for our anniversary ever again. Or really biking across any state! Anyway, the past 8 years have been an adventure and we only hope we can continue to grow as a couple and as humans and keep adventuring!