(Sorry for the repeat. Somehow the original post was switched to draft mode.)
Hank – We woke at 5:00 am, had tea and a light breakfast, and quickly packed up. By 6:20 we were on the road east to Belfield. And wouldn’t you know the winds were now coming from the east. Although I thought we were going faster, it took 2-1/2 hours to cover the 17 miles to Belfield. We had breakfast there. Another tourer was there. Mark from Grand Rapids, MN started in Portland, OR and was headed home. He didn’t seem to want to talk so we left him alone.
Leaving Belfield, we headed south to Amidon, ND (pop 21) the smallest county seat in the country. The east crosswinds weren’t much of a burden and thought we would get off clean. But nooooo. The wind switched to south southeast and all bets were off. Just like two days ago we battled the wind. The temperature quickly warmed to the 80’s and probably broke the 90 mark. I was thinking we’d get a break when the road turned west for the last five miles. Nope again. A couple miles from where the road turned, the winds changed again to come from the west. We can’t win for loosing, can we?
We arrived at Mo’s Bunker Bar in Amidon at 4:30 pm hot, tired, thirsty, hungry, sun burned, and wind worn. As we walked in a couple of customers greeted us.
“Welcome to Mo’s Bar.” Friendly place.
We had ice water. I had two cold beers and Kathy had two glasses of wine. Then we ate. Rather than get a tent site we opted for a cabin at the Amidon Cabins and Campground because thunderstorms are supposed to hit during the night. The owners own the bar, too. Anna and Travis are very nice people.
We showered and I had an “incident” during mine. After entering the shower I got distracted getting my stuff organized and forgot to lock the door. During my shower some guy opened the door.
“Oh. Oh.” And quickly closed it.
I apologized and locked the door. It’s not a treat to see me naked in cyclist tan lines and soap suds. I felt bad for the guy retching outside my door. I figured I owed him more than an apology but I wasn’t wearing my glasses so I don’t know who he was. I guess that’s for the best.
Kathy – So another day of sustained winds at 17 – 23 mph, wind gust at 31 mph, 55 mile ride today with 2,000 feet of elevation. The continuous rolling hills lasted the entire trip. Often we were pedaling up hill for 2-5 miles at a time. No break on the down hill parts as the winds were so strong that we had to pedal then too. It hit 90 degrees today and took us eight hours of cycling (in sandal time) to complete our 55 miles today. A total of 10 1/2 hours if you include our break times. Not fun at all.
So if I didn’t paint the picture clearly enough, let me add a few more details. Our first 17 miles was on the four lane freeway. We had a nice shoulder on the road to keep our distance from the cars and trucks. Our last 38 miles was on a two lane road that seemed to be a main route for all trucks in the area. There was a continuous flow of 18 wheelers the entire time. We had a much smaller shoulder on the road. White line, rumble stripping, then a foot or so for us to ride on. Often times our shoulder would slant downward towards the grass on the side of the road which made it harder to ride on with our loaded bikes. The cars and trucks were much closer to us. Each time a truck would go by in either direction they would stir up the wind gust even more so. We also would get pelted with dirt and small rock which stung with each passing. I quickly learned to squint my eyes to avoid all the dust and rock pellets getting into my eyes. Apparently you need more than sunglasses to protect you. You also held on tightly to your bike with each passing to prevent the strong wind gust from blowing you over or into the field next to the road. I’m not sure where all the trees are in North Dakota but we could not find a single one to escape from the hot sun today. And to top that off, with each break we took today the biting black flies would find us. Those buggars left some nice bites on both of us. Ok, now I think you can understand just how bad it was today. Let me know if you need anymore details. 😉
You may wonder why didn’t we just stop in a town and not ride so long, well there is nothing in between. We didn’t have a choice so we press on. It really takes some digging deep in your thoughts to finish days like today. We were exhausted when we finished.
The great company, food and drinks at the bar made up for the crummy day. I ate one of the BEST chicken sandwiches I have ever had today! Maybe I was just really hungry, not sure but it was fabulous. 🙂 Thankful for the log cabin with air conditioning also. Happy this day is done! No doubt we will both sleep great tonight. Then we get to do another 50 miles tomorrow. Hoping we actually get that predicted tailwind to push us along. Wish us luck!