After a big Montanan breakfast, we hit the road a little before 10am MT. Britt and I differed in our opinions on what would be better, riding uphill or against a strong headwind. Britt claims that riding uphill is better, and I chose the latter. After today, though, I prefer riding uphill. Our ride consisted of both, and after facing them back to back, riding uphill is favorable since the downhill is somewhat of a reward. When riding against a headwind, the only reward is stopping… These hills were a bitch, but I soon made them my bitch!
Upon entering badland terrain, we crossed into the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Locals from Montana and North Dakota warned us of the big bad dangerous Indians (no one cares about being PC so the only people saying Native American were Britt and me), and told us to not stop in Brockton or Poplar, just to ride on to Wolf Point. When I first got my license, my father forbade me to drive to Detroit – not only did I venture there the first week I started driving, I moved to there when I was 18. So I was inclined to stop in both Brockton and Poplar to meet some of these people whom only occupy 2.3% of the U.S. which was once THEIR LAND. The Sioux were nice in both towns, and although they weren’t as friendly and forthcoming as most westerners, I didn’t feel threatened for my life. The best way I can describe Poplar is to imagine a project or ghetto filled with Mexicans, but replace the mariachis with drums, and you got an Indian Reservation. But in all seriousness, Native Americans are a mistreated minority. Because their communities are not governed by our federal government and each society is so far and few between, it causes bureaucratic difficulties as well as creating more obstacles for an individual who wants to acclimate to “American” life. Visiting these towns didn’t scare me, it made me feel sad for the people who are stuck in that system, just like other minorities in this country. The only difference is, Native Americans didn’t migrate here!
We had to stop in Wolf Point for the night because it was past 6pm. The late start and wind prevented us from covering much ground. At this point, Britt was limping pretty badly because of her knees and I could barely use my right hand due to a weakened wrist. To the Sun Road, the route we want to take into the mountains, still has 10 feet of snow on it. We were told the snow probably won’t melt for another two weeks, and we’d still have to wait before they allow bicyclists to travel on this scenic road through the continental divide. With our physical ailments, and this major road closure, we may have to end our journey in Montana. But I am not disheartened, and I don’t feel as if we are quitting. I don’t want to have Britt button my pants for me every morning because I lost function in my hands. And I’m not ready to get her one of these to bike around the city – at least, not before she’s 30!