When we heard the alarm do its “thrrring” thing at 5.30am this morning, and it was already in the high 60s outside, we knew that the predicted 100˚C high was going to become a reality today. And we had the small matter of a 78-mile ride to complete from Miles City MT into Glendive, MT.
Despite leaving as early as we did, it was ridiculously hot from the start, and things didn’t get any better. We were “blessed” with a seriously strong side-wind: 25-30 mph would you believe, but we use that word wisely. For most of the way, it was actually just slightly behind us (more of a backside wind really), and most importantly, it performed a vital role in helping to cool us down as we battled our way through the heat of the day.
It’s crazy really to think that just 2 weeks ago, we were huddled around a hand-drier in a public restroom in Twin Bridges, MT, freezing cold, and peddling super fast just to stay warm. Today, it was the prospect of an air-conditioned grocery store with chilled bottles of water and iced tea that was making our hearts skip a beat. But, as has become the norm in the last few days, we had just one town on our route, meaning that we had to carry several bottles of extra liquid on the back of the bikes to top up the water bottles as we went along. Between us, we totted up a cool 20 pints of liquid consumed today. Just like an average pub-crawl when we were at Uni, except without the alcoholic content… And don’t even get us started on our quest for a bit of shade every now and again. The landscape is so stark that there are very few trees and practically no shelter. We found ourselves lurking under the bridges spanning the Interstate to fill up our bottles and grab an essential few minutes of respite from the sun before setting off again. Classy. It was so draining, that literally 2 miles from our destination, we were so overheated, that we had to pull over and sit down under a tree for a few minutes and drink some water before the last push.
But it was a wonderful day. Stark landscape, yet stunning vistas that were so difficult to catch on camera (although we tried). And a truly magical moment as a whole herd of about 20 wild horses caught a glimpse of Trusty & Steed out of the corner of their eyes. Before we knew it, they were galloping along, way in the distance, but keeping perfect pace with us, and then heading towards us, and…yes, heading towards us, and…oh, there’s a fence coming up. Well, they didn’t jump the fence, we’re glad to say, but they did gallop up at full pace right to the fence to meet us, and they were truly beautiful. If we could have taken a photo at that moment, it would have been amazing. Unfortunately, we were on the Interstate, and didn’t think the 18-wheeler drivers would appreciate it too much!
We’re now chilling out (quite literally) in our comfortable B&B where we will have a well-deserved rest day tomorrow.