Hank – We set the alarm for 5:00 am so we could get an early start while it was still cool. We each had tea and a 6-pack of tiny Little Debbie chocolate-covered donuts. Breakfast of champions. We left Amidon at 7:00. The wind was from the north so we had an easy time covering the 24 miles to Bowman. We arrived there around 9:30. We had a nice breakfast at the JABBR Restaurant and hung out until around 11:00. The day was warming up and the winds were lighter. We were traveling in the same direction as the wind but a little faster. Consequently, there wasn’t much of a breeze to keep us cool. But on the bright side, the wind wasn’t hindering us. I’ll take it.
I had contacted Andy, a WarmShowers host in Spearfish SD. He told me that we would have heavy rains on Saturday and Sunday. Rather than allow us to ride two days in the rain, he said he was willing to pick us up in Ludlow SD, today’s destination. What an incredibly generous thing to do—driving 220 miles round trip like that.
We forgot to mention that yesterday we saw a van with “STORMCHASER” written on the side. It was festooned with antennas. But it was headed north while we were going south. Today we saw another car with a ton of antennas headed south. They must be bust this time of year.
Leaving Bowman we again made good time towards Ludlow. Things changed a little when we hit the state border. The road went from very nice to pretty crappy. The shoulder was cracked and broken up. The main roadway is full of depressed cracks patched with tar. We had a choice between “Crackle-thump-skritch” and “Thump-thump—thump-thump,” depending on when we had traffic coming behind us. It was only eight miles to Ludlow and we were happy when we were done with that. We went to the Crooked Creek Bar and had hamburgers and drinks and waited for Andy to arrive.
When Andy showed up around 3:30 we loaded our bikes and gear and rode into Spearfish. Andy is pretty cool. He was cooking the evening meal in a solar cooker. He made a rabbit curry dish and a beef and vegetable stew. They were both delicious. And his homemade bread was awesome, too. He teaches physics at the Black Hills State University. Andy has a large screened in porch and we set up camp there. We had to mostly close the windows because of the rain to reduce the amount of cool air blowing through. Lefty, Andy’s cat, was not please we were occupying her space, which is the screened in porch. After we went to bed she tried climbing the screens a couple times to find a way inside. She was unsuccessful.
Kathy – So today was a much better day than yesterday. I’m thankful for the cool day of temps in the mid 70’s, the wide flat shoulder on the side of the road (until we hit South Dakota), and the long rolling hills that continued today but we also had flats and downhills that we could actually enjoy cruising on. Most of all I am grateful for the North Dakota Wind Goddess that blessed us with a nice tailwind during our entire 51 miles of riding today. Maybe she felt sorry for us after our hard day yesterday. We didn’t have the pesky black flies biting us today either. As our bodies ached all over this morning we were concerned about the headwinds and how long it would take us to complete the 51 miles today. To our surprise, the ride today was absolutely outstanding!
We did avoid saying the “W” word, or “wind” because of fears it would jinx us. It reminded me of my 20 years in the Emergency Department where the “S” and “Q” words (slow & quiet) were not spoken because if they were all hell would break out and whoever said it was frowned upon and given extra duties for opening their mouths. So today, the “W” was not discussed until after our ride…whew, it worked! We also thought about visiting the Bowman, North Dakota museum but decided to skip it as I was concerned the North Dakota Wind Goddess would think I was slacking and switch those winds against me as the afternoon wind always increase with time. It looked like it would be a great place to visit. Maybe another time. My goal today was to get to our destination before any wind pattern changes happen. Tailwinds ROCK. We completed our 51 miles in only six hours (including breaks). If you ever want to visit North Dakota, I recommend do it by car, airplane, train, or boat…NOT by bicycle. The winds are just to fierce and not worth it. However, today was really sweet!
I planted my packet of flowers in North Dakota yesterday – part of my campaign to Make America Even More Beautiful. Today we entered our seventh state, South Dakota!! Looking forward to seeing more of this state. Must say the last eight miles of our ride today were uphill in South Dakota and the shoulder of the roads here are horrendous. We are hoping it is only this road and not all of the roads we will be traveling on.
Lastly, I enjoyed talking to the cows again today. Since we left I make a point to talk (or MOOOooo, MOOoooo, MMOOOOOooo) to the cows every chance I get. I love how they all lift their heads, point their ears up, and stare at us. Once we are a distance from them the often will start “talking” back to us. Today a heard of about 100 brown cows started chasing us down the fence line for quiet some time. I love doing my part to help motivate those cows to getting a little exercise. Yesterday we had a heard of about 10 -15 horses chase us along the fence line. The animals we “meet” and I “talk” to (often telling them GOOD moorrrning) just makes me smile. It’s a silly thing that Hank and I enjoy during our time on the road. So, a wonderful day today. I’m thankful.