Went into bar/restaurant for some pie last night and ended up having 4 beers! Am feeling it now. Met a lot of really nice folks though – the bartender Ken (who runs both the bar and restaurant by himself) grew up near Clairion PA. Also met a guy running for state office who swore like a sailor! Good conversion about life in Montana, farming, politics.
Wel, I’m still rollin’. I’ve been riding the last few days with these three guys I met the other day at the city pool. Tim and Dave are from Grand Rapids, MI, and Mark is from San Diego – they (like most people I’ve met) are doing the entire Northern Tier route coast to coast, ending in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Yesterday, we had a great ride together – another killer tailwind which enabled us to ride an average of 22 miles per hour – we did 70 miles in just over three hours! We decided to end the day early at this great campground that had a pool, hot springs, cafe, and bar – the people who ran it were really nice. If you’re ever near Saco, MT, check out Sleeping Buffalo Campground. The one drawback is that the area is plagued with probably the worst mosquitos yet – still not quite as bad as what I expericenced in Wisdom, MT on the Trans-Am tour two years ago, but pretty nasty. I got off my bike the other night, felt something brush against my leg, and turned around to find about 9 mosquitoes on the back of my calf!
Unfortunately, we awoke this morning to find that the wind had shifted nearly 180 degrees, resulting in a long ride into a stong, hot, and dry headwind. When we were in the mountains, it was the terrain that was our fickle friend, aiding or hindering our journey with climbs and descents. Now, it is the prarie wind which has become master of our fate. Personally, I would gladly take one of the passes we climbed in Washington over a day of riding into the wind like today.
The good news is that Mark’s former roommate’s grandparents, Tom and Flora, live here in Glasgow, and they’re putting us up for the night. We had a delicious dinner, and now are pretty much just sitting around talking and enjoying not having to constantly be swatting at any exposed skin we have. The weather report has the wind shifting back to the west tomorrow, so here’s hoping for some more easy riding!
Finally made it out of Montana. Our tailwind came back yesterday, and we rode 123 miles, which is a new record for me. My stove fell apart yesterday, nearly starting a wildfire – i got it under control though. I’m feeling pretty sluggish today, so i lost the guys i had been riding with. Found a buffalo on the side of the road. He’s my new best friend!
First real rainy day today. Not too bad – just a steady drizzle. A nice change from the heat, and the folks here needed it – it was 110 a few days ago! Still felt icky this morning, got a really slow start. Started feeling better after my first piece of juneberry pie (also known as saskatoon berry). Met a guy today using plastic kitty litter tubs as panniers – he loved them!
Feeling much better now. Met a couple touring on a tandem recumbent. Picked up a package from Megan in Minot – bike shorts i forgot and tasty cookies! Then went to the ND state fair – totally rad! Saw horse show, cattle roping, giant horses, fat pigs, sheared lambs, frisbee catching dogs, diving pirates, and a ton of keith urban fans (never heard of him). Nearly halfway home!
At the geographic center of North America, slurpin’ down a giant DQ freeze – lemon-lime, baby! Wore a hole through my rear tire – good thing i’ve got a spare. It’s 250 miles to the next bike shop! Huge flying red ants tried to drive me insane while changing out the tires, but i persevered!
Took a short day today, due to a combination of the heat, lack of camping options, and the number of beers last night. Fairly certain i’ve been bought more beers than i’ve paid for so far! Bar last night had a 2 lane bowling alley! Spent the day with a german couple – great lazy day hanging out, talking about differences here and there, split 2 6-packs! They like Bud.
Had a great few days riding with the Germans. They were great company, and it was due to their good sense that i rode out a storm today in a farm shed instead of getting drenched! It’s been hot the past few days, but the people out here are unbelievably nice. Will be in Fargo tomorrow – expect pictures!
I’ve made it to Fargo! Bright lights, big city! Chillin’ in the library here, uploading pictures as we speak (are we speaking?). The new photos start at #331. Unfortunately, Megan’s camera has been having some problems lately, so I haven’t been able to take any pictures for the last few hundred miles. However, Nick will be toting along a shiny working camera, so fear not – the eye candy will continue!
I just spoke with Nick, and have learned that he has ditched his orginal plans to tunnel beneath the greater portion of the US to meet me here in Fargo. In lieu of that, he has opted to use the much faster method of catching hold of a flock of geese. The birds should drop him off in Fargo tomorrow evening (unless they take a detour to the Sahara). This gives me a whole extra day to explore all the wonders that fargo, nd has to offer. And don’t worry – I will steer clear from any wood chippers I see.
The trip has been going great so far – I just picked up a new set of tires (hopefully these will fare better than the previous set), as well as a new chain. When it came down to it, I really only spent about half of the solo portion of this trip alone – I found a fair amount of fellow tourists to keep me company, and my noble buffalo companion has not yet left my side! Yet I am looking forward to be joining up permanently with another steel horseman. Good times shall surely accompany Nick and I as we pedal towards the Twin Cities. Big wheels keep on turnin’!
Met great people in Fargo – Peter and Geni – who put me up for 2 nights, made food, lent tools, shower, laundry! Even picked Nick up from airport! They are superheroes who never stop running or riding – have toured all over the world. Nick’s first day went well, though hot. In fishing territory now! Whimpered for our lives during huge lightning storm.