After being warned ad nauseum that we would be murdered and raped as soon as we set foot on a reservation, we decided to play it safe and stay in a motel in Wolf Point. I felt weird about taking advice from obvious racial stereotyping, but hey. We have over 2000 miles to go. Can’t be getting raped and murdered already.
This morning we woke to find that Molly had gotten her 5th flat tire overnight. By the time we were ready to roll, it was later than our usual start time. The sun was already brutal, and we had a 20mph headwind blowing our way. Just before we left, a guy we had met at a gas station the night before drove up, handed me a giant golden eagle feather, and said, “Take this with you on your trip. Keep it close, for protection.” Then he drove off.
Uh, I know the whole mystical Native American thing is also a stereotype, but THAT IS SOME MYSTICAL SHIT.
We rode south into the miserable wind and sun. It was miserable. On the prairie there are no trees, no buildings, and therefore, no shade. And with the wind, we were averaging 8mph at best. We doubted the powers of the feather. Molly was sure it was cursed. Nearing delirium and heatstroke after 30 grueling miles, we stopped at one of the only farmhouses we saw for water. The wonderful family who lived there gave us not only water, but a ride for the last 20 miles to town. As soon as we got to shelter, a thunderstorm hit.
I will never doubt the magical golden eagle feather again.