Day 60 – Dickinson, ND to Wibaux, MT – 77 miles
We spent the night at the Quality Inn in Dickenson ND. Dickenson is going through a major boom, oil is being fracked, sucked and sand blasted from deep wells and a refinery is coming on line there. All the hotels are packed with construction workers. So Shawn headed down for her free breakfast at 6am and Jim headed down slightly later only to find her enjoying breakfast with 50 of her closest construction worker friends. All in hi-vis yellow and orange. She was happy to see me! (Or was she?)
We got an early start to beat some of the winds and we had a great roll out with Tim, our Aussie friend following. We had a great start to the morning, traveling 22 miles before we made our first stop. There were no convenience stores right on route (sometimes even 500 feet out of the way is too far!), so we pulled over at a small motel for a quick break. There wasn’t much to this motel, but the flowers there were spectacular! We complimented the owner and she gave us a quick garden tour.
Before long, we headed onto I-94 for our trip to see the Painted Canyon at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The highway is the only way to get thru this area and the Painted Canyon viewing area is actually posted as a rest stop. The Canyon is an amazing thing to see after pedaling hundreds miles in the plains. It’s a mini Grand Canyon, with more subtle colors and green bottom. As we left the viewing area & headed toward Medora, we saw our first buffalo, wild horses and a prairie dog city.
We exited the highway to go thru Medora. It was time for lunch, but more importantly a bike shop was needed to repair a broken spoke & check on an annoying squeak. The guy in the shop told us to give him a half hour, so we went to lunch. We had a nice lunch, Jim had a ND burger pastry thing, like a pasty, only with a hamburger patty inside. That was a “one and done” delicacy Jim.
We went back to check on the bike – started but not done, checked again same story. We could tell we were making the mechanic a bit nervous, in fact he prompted us numerous times to take a walk around. In the end we got to know Lauren well, and he started to appreciate Jim and his knowledge of the ins and outs of the bike. Finally after a long wait we had a new spoke, and a new timing chain and front and rear timing gears. It was very worn and we figured that was where are squeak was coming from. A test ride and we were ready to go.
Not knowing how long we’d be, Tim had headed out to finish his day after lunch, saying he’d save some steak for us at the Shamrock Club. 🙂
We left Medora at about 3:30, with roughly half of our days miles ahead of us. We had heard about a great restaurant in Wibaux and were looking forward to a great meal for dinner, so we were quite motivated to finish our riding for the day. We put the pedal to the metal and stayed on the interstate the whole way. (The Adventure a Cycling route had us getting on & off and back on the interstate.). We some more mustangs (wild horses, not the car) and also saw about a half dozen eastbound riders going the other direction, most of whom waved & traded WAHOO’s with us – all of us happy to be in or approaching a new state border. We had plenty of long climbs & long downhills as we approached the border. We had been singing to keep our spirits up but with less than 2 miles from the ND/MT border, we had to stop on the side of the interstate and mix up a sports drink and eat a peanut butter-filled tortilla. After our break, the road eventually flattened out for the last 8-10 miles. We were on a nice downhill at the border so we just snapped a pic as we drove by. Momentum is precious and is not to be wasted!!
We were beat as we rolled into Wibaux, MT, our overnight city. Unfortunately google maps took us to the wrong side of town for an extra 2 mile ride. At the hotel the receptionist warned us “you can’t trust that stuff out here”! She called Tim’s room to let him know we had arrived – we wanted him to know we were there for dinner! He had just finished his shower & came down & helped Jim get our bike down the 6-8 steps to our first floor room. We took our showers and rung Tim’s room to go to dinner. It was a six block walk to the Shamrock Club & it felt good to take this walk! We got to the restaurant & all 3 of us ordered the ribeye dinner. Steak, salad bar, potato, beer/cider – it was delicious & just what these 3 weary cyclists needed! We enjoyed a beautiful orange sun setting in the west as we walked back to the inn.
-White pick-em-up truck, you pass me up, let’s have a party.
Walking the bike across the cattle/bison barrier thing:
Dinner time – Tim & Jim: