Day 58 – Bismarck, ND to Glen Ullin, ND – 57 miles
Wow! What a great day riding! Maybe this is the difference a rest day makes! (We ought to do that more often!)
We said our goodbyes to cousins, Ronnie & Bella and made our way out of town on the route recommended by Ronnie. It was a great route – light traffic & few traffic lights to slow us down. Just as we were approaching the bridge that crosses the Missouri River, we saw another touring cyclist up ahead & wondered if it was our Aussie friend, Tim (from our Gackle day). So we pedaled harder & caught up & sure enough it was! After catching up on news, we decided to ride together today. He was quicker on the uphills and we were quicker on the downhills and there seemed to be enough of both that we were able to ride pretty close for much of the day. We were so glad to have him right behind us because for some odd reason, we had an awkward gear shift which caused a “chain suck” – it took a lot of muscle to get that undone and he helped Shawn hold the bike while Jim unstuck the chain.
We had a 10 mph wind out of the northwest, not much of a problem for us – the continuous climbs out of the Missouri River valley was a bigger problem, plus we are adding elevation as we pedal west. We figure the more we climb now, the less we will have to climb in the Rockies. We’ll see if that logic pans out for us!
We saw more riders going the other direction and that has been a lot of fun! One cyclist, John, is an 80 year old (!) cyclist going from Anacortes to Cincinnati. He said his strategy for going over the mountain passes in the Cascades was to stop and look pathetic on the side of the road. He got 4 rides uphill that way! He was riding with his daughter, Lois who joined him mid-trip and was riding to Fargo. They were riding with Steve, from Everett, Washington. We traded stories and shared information going both directions. Its fun to meet other riders and get inside tips.
We pedaled along until we saw a gigantic cow on a pretty good-sized hill. There was no mistaking Salem Sue – a gigantic tribute to North Dakota Holstein Cows! We even heard a song about Salem Sue at the Bismarck fireworks! Sue is certainly a big deal in North Dakota! Now better cyclists would have climbed the 200 foot high hill to take in the spectacle but we were more than happy to view from lower ground! http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salem_Sue
We had lunch (as recommended by another eastbound cyclist, Greg – he starts riding at 4:30 each morning to avoid the heat and wind!) and then hopped onto I-94. It felt kind of naughty to be getting onto the interstate (because it isn’t legal in Michigan), but bicycles are allowed on the interstate in ND. Adventure Cycling recommends this route instead of 10 miles on a dirt road. We spoke with other cyclists who rode the dirt road & had widely varying opinions. With our heavily loaded tandem, we opted for the interstate. It wasn’t bad – it would have been great if we could’ve used the entire, 10′ wide shoulder. However, much of the shoulder was rumble strips ever 50′, or so that extended for much of the width of the shoulder. Jim had to watch the rumble strips very carefully, as there was only about 15-18″ on the far right side of the shoulder that didn’t have rumble strips. And he did a fine job of it! The bigger challenge was the long grades – Jim said he’d prefer steeper, shorter grades that are typical on secondary roads. (Shawn isn’t so sure about that but is happy to go along with his opinion as long as she gets to sleep in a real bed tonight.). In all, we rode about 16 miles on the interstate.
Our plan when we set out this morning was to camp out in the park in New Salem (halfway to a Warmshower host 77 miles west of Bismarck), but we had such a great morning ride that we decided to get a room at the same B&B that Tim was going to. We rolled into Glen Ullin late afternoon & walked into a very comfortable & affordable B&B. Also staying here is a couple, Pat & Jerry, who are on a tandem, riding back to their home in Bozeman, MT after completing a border-to-border trip (Mexico to Canada) across the center of the US. All 5 of us cyclists are looking to start early tomorrow morning, so the proprietress of this B&B is going to have breakfast for us at 6:15.
– Near-gale force winds (like those experienced early last week) have given us a new perspective on wind.
Crossing the Missouri River:
Riding with Tim: