August 29-30 (Renting a U-haul)

August 29: Upon waking up to another cold morning, I made the decision to rent a U-haul in Valley City. I could say this was a difficult decision. I could say that the reality was if I kept at my current pace I wouldn't make it to the west coast before snow covered the mountain passes. I could (and did) say that I needed to get safely past the wildfires in eastern Montana. While all of these things are true, I will also say I was a little bit sick of biking. I had traveled almost 2500 miles to date on a bicycle, towing almost 100 pounds behind me. That's like trying to run with a parachute attached to your back. I calculated I had approximately 6 weeks left on my trip, which would put me well into October before I finished. Some mountain passes in western Montana and Washington close in early to mid-October, and I really didn't want to take any chances of coming so close to my goal and falling short. I have zero regrets about the decision to drive through some of the route. 

I loaded my bike into a 10 foot U-haul truck, (the smallest option you have if you're not bringing the vehicle back to the same U-haul location) rented in Valley City, and laughed at how little space I took up with essentially everything I currently owned. You really don't need nearly as much stuff in your life as you think. I had to reacquaint myself with driving since I hadn't driven a vehicle in almost 2 months. I don't think I exceeded 50 miles per hour for the first 100 miles, which I'm sure made the other drivers on I-90 super happy. I drove most of 600 miles and stopped at a rest stop somewhere in Montana. The great part about all that extra space in the back of the U-haul was that I had plenty of room to set up my sleeping pad and bag, no tent-pitching necessary. I closed the gate to the U-haul, leaving it open just a few inches to allow fresh air and a breeze inside. It was an incredibly peaceful night.

August 30: The next morning, I drove the rest of the way to the U-haul drop-off, located in Havre, Montana. I spent most of the day in the library, updating a severely out-of-date blog (like I'm doing right now). While sitting in the library, my phone went off with an alert about a wildfire twenty miles south of town. I returned the U-haul around 4:30 and biked back into town to Havre RV Park. The tent camping was really just a grassy area next to a gas station but it was quiet, had the nicest showers and even had laundry! I thought I might not want to get back on the bike, but it was like coming home. I might officially be a cyclist! Sitting outside my tent eating dinner, back up against a tree trunk, the ash falling on my tent was reminiscent of snow.