A real pain in the neck

Day 22. July 5. After our lovely stay with Mary and John we woke up feeling refreshed and were really glad we ended up taking the day off. Also, the heat finally let up today, so we were extra happy that we waited a day. The only issue we had was that I had slept funny on my neck and was woken up several times by thunderstorm… Just my luck. 

Mary made us breakfast and once we were full with pancakes and sausage (and had a very large bag of delicious oatmeal cookies ready to go), she drive us into town. We pulled into the DQ parking lot and as soon as we got out Ethan realized that we had left our spare tire at their house. We felt really bad about Mary goinh back for it, but she insisted that it was not a problem. We loaded up our bikes and she was back in 15 minutes.

That little goof aside, we still got on the road by 8:15. We only had 50 miles to go to our next destination, Wolf Point. As crazy as it sounds, 50 miles is a pretty easy day for us as long as the wind isn’t coming right at us or it’s really hilly. The wind wasn’t in our faces, but it was coming pretty strong from the north and crosswinds certainly don’t make riding easy. It’s hard to keep your bike straight with strong crosswinds and when big trucks pass you going the other way the wind they bring can literally stop you in your tracks. It’s pretty frustrating.

At first, the wind was kind of at our backs and the road was pretty flat, so we made good time to our first stop in Nashua. We used the bathroom at a cafe right off the road. We had barely broken a sweat yet, so we didn’t stay long. We continued on and the wind got stronger, which really frustrated me. My neck was also starting to really hurt and it was hard to keep my head in my normal biking position. I kept having to stop and stretch, but that would only help for a minute or two. I took some ibuprofen hoping that would help, but after another hour it had barely helped at all. 

The shoulder had been pretty wide for most of the way, but narrowed to one or two feet at one point. This doesn’t really bother us and when most people drive by they move over into the other lane a bit. Normally this is fine and really nice of people, but you shouldn’t do it when there is oncoming traffic. This causes the oncoming traffic to have to move over and when there’s little to no shoulder the car or truck kicks up rocks and dust. This is exactly what happened when someone tried this as theywere passing me, except a semi truck was coming and when it moved over into the other shoulder, it kicked up a ton of rocks and one hit me square in my left cheek. Ugghhh! It hurt pretty bad, but it the rock was small. I definitely cried a little bit. Some of the tears were from my neck too and when I finally made it to Ethan I had pretty much gotten over getting hit in the face. I did tell him that my neck was killing me and that we would definitely need to stop in Wolf Point.

We didn’t end up stopping for lunch and just ate snacks. Other than my neck and the wind, it was a pretty easy day. We got in to Wolf Point by 2:30 and we could probably have continued on like Ethan wanted if my neck wasn’t hurting so bad. As it was, I was done being in pain. We headed straight to the grocery to get food for the next day and then to a park to eat lunch. 

We were staying with a Couch Surfing host and wanted to wait for him to be home, so we went to McDonalds to pass the time. There was a tour bus there full of older folks and a few of them chatted with us. This one couple was really worried about us staying with random people and just did not understand how that could possibly be safe. We assured them that we would be fine. It was cute. 

After that we headed to our hosts place. His name is Paul and we really didn’t get to talk to him too much because the US Women’s team was playing Japan in the World Cup final. We did find out rather quickly how he felt about women’s soccer (he wasn’t impressed), but we were just glad he had TV. I put hot water in my CamelBak for my neck while we watched… It helped a ton and felt amazing. Paul left before half time to go play basketball and after the U.S had pretty much secured the cup, I took a glorious shower. After we watched the ladies hoist the cup and get all their medals, we decided to get Chinese for dinner. We hadn’t had it at all on the trip and it sounded really good. We didn’t have high hopes for it given that we were in rural Montana, but we thought “how bad could it be?” 

It definitely wasn’t the best, but it could have been worse. However, we will likely never recommend the place not just for the sub par food, but because they ended up charging us for tap water – 50 cents per cup!!! Unheard of! Ethan was thoroughly outraged. We left feeling annoyed, but we’ve certainly made worse decisions.

After dinner, we went back to Paul’s and watched Big Bang Theory, then headed to bed. That was the mosh TV we’ve watched in three weeks! Can’t say that we miss it, but I could go for some Netflix pretty soon. 🙂 

PS: we didn’t take any pictures of this day. It was pretty boring, trust me. 

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