Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Killdeer Nd to Beulah ND

This a great pic of the Killdeer water tower yesterday morning. It is a lovely water tower with lots of character.
btw-this pic was taken facing to the north so it does not take a rocket scientist or a meteorologist to figure out which way the wind was blowing at the time (and the rest of the day for that matter). 10-15 mph with gusts of 20 mph mixed in just so one would not get bored. This is the 8th straight day of east winds but hey I did reach verticallity this morning so I am thinking positive.

There is a sign you see as soon as you get on Route 200 heading east out of Killdeer that says Beulah 51 miles, it is a happy sign . Unfortunately there is another sign about 200 yards farther down that says, Road Construction Next 49 Miles. What they are doing is repaving Rt 200 and they do not seem to be doing it in sections, it appeared at the end of the day they are doing all 49 miles at once, or at least 1 lane for that distance.

There were 4 or 5 20 minute mixed in waits as pilot vehicles ushered groups of cars through the roadwork. In addition to playing obstacle course on a recumbent bike the berm areas of the road got my complete attention for 49 miles. This pic shows what the berm looked like yesterday. Now this is the area I generally ride a lot on, especially when there is traffic around. I call it staying right of the bermline. What made this particular berm different than usual was that it had fairly fresh tar on it and even on the grass on the right. While this tar was not the type you can get your shoe stuck in, it was tacky with stones stuck to it and pretty tough to ride on. But on the positive side these conditions certainly gave a bike rider something else to concentrate on besides the east wind.

When I recognized the riding conditions at the start of yesterday I did a great Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry impression by saying "Swell".
It was a long day when you add in those pilot car breaks and having to get off the road completely and into the tar coated grass when the big construction trucks came by (about what seemed every 10 minutes). I must say that the paving company appeared to be one efficent company, they were from Alexandia Mn. and it was all elbows and assholes flying around as they worked to get the job done. Did not see anyone standing around watching --they were all moving very lively.They probably had orders to minimize the time that regular traffic would be screwed up on this stretch of road.
I saw no other bikers today(apparently I was the only biker who did not get the memo) and did not feel like chatting bike talk anyway, there would have only been one topic to discuss. And besides that I do not think I could have handled seeing that smug serene tailwind look on the face of a biker coming from east My job was to make 51 miles into that wind , along this obstacle course with as big a smile as I could muster on my face, and to all who saw me yesterday that indeed was a smile and not a sneer.

Actually, besides all the crap the ride was pretty interesting. Good scenery and I got what I think are some decent pics. Saw another herd of buffalo up close. Checked out the 2 nice interesting little towns of Dodge and Zap, and met some nice folks along the way, including a whole bunch of the construction workers who all talked funny Minna--sew-ta. One flag lady was very helpful when I asked her about the tar on their(and my) shoes--how best to deal with it. Her answer was "Well honey , the best way to deal with it is to not step in it" and then she gave that distictive laugh you only hear in central Minnesota--sort of like a cross between a moose bellowing and the sound a wolverine mkes when it gets its foot caught in a trap.
I am glad I did not set my goal farther than Beulah because when I finally made it there about dark I was done, physically and mentally.
Winston Churchill is quoted a lot but one of his sayings popped in my mind yesterday, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all". Well Winny was right on that point as far I was concerned. I had a big yellow streak running down my pie back as I slowly rode into Beulah. I was looking for a hot pizza and a warm bed (preferably out of the wind--but I had no arguement left in me in any case).

Today is a new day and I am up and at 'em, feeling good. My target today is Bismarck which is 75 miles away. I travel east about half that distance and then turn south. The wind as per usual is from the east (10-15 mph etc etc etc etc etc and will undoubtably shift to the south east by midafternoon ), but I am ready to punch a hole in it today and bring it to its knees. I will make day 9 of the east wind the best yet.

On another note my mini computer just let me know that it is filled up to the brim just like one of those porta potties after 3 days at Poultry Days, so I can not cram any more pics or info into it right now. I will hit a Radio Shack or Wal-mart in Bismark and buy some type of storage unit to dump stuff in. So this is my last blog until that happens.

One side story from yesterday. At one of those 20 minute traffic waits a kinda elderly guy (he was maybe 3 years older than how I was feeling at the time--maybe 90 to 95) gets out of his camper and walks back to chat. He asked all the usual questions about where I was going, where I had been, had I passed my last urine test and was my parole officer and/or insurance man aware of what I was doing?
Anyway he said he was interested because about 5 years ago his daughter in law rode a bicycle from Denver to Seattle. So being polite I say "That is some beautiful country, I'll bet she really enjoyed it". and he says "Oh no she hated every mile of that trip and swears she will never do it again" so I ask "Gee , why is that?" and he says " Oh it was that damned strong wind blowing from the west--it was constant every day--never let up the whole route and it made it miserable for her".

I looked at him and said "you know I think the traffic is ready to start moving, you better get back to your rig" so he shuffled off, even though it was 15 more minutes before the pilot car took off, I was done talking to that clown--I did not need that kind of company at that point in time.

Well I really must be off (literally) I hear Bismarck calling me , because out here on the prairie sound travels very far when it has a 10-15 mph wind pushing it along.

AsI write this I am thinking of that song with the lyrics "where seldom is heard a discouraging word....," and am convinced that whoever wrote it was full of buffalo chips.
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  1. You have far more patience than I Sir.
    You mentioned that you were off to Bismarck, ND. I checked it out there is a place called Ft Abraham Lincoln State Park that looks interesting. Looks like a lot of standing period bldgs with all the history you can handle. It also shows camping in the park if you are in need. Address is 4480 Ft Lincoln Rd Mandan, ND 58554. Phone # is 701-667-6380. Just thought it looked interesting, if you do not already have targets of interest. Looks like there is some sort of trolley to the park as well. Bismarck looks like a historical info gold mine. Apprently Ft Lincoln is where Custer and troops domociled prior to leaving for Little Big Horn. Enjoy the trip. I am loving the journal and reading it daily keep it coming. Side note if you call Chad at Tiger Eye I would be he can talk you through putting your pics etc into a zip file as a temp fix.

    Take care

  2. Well, after over two weeks of no internet, I finally got a chance to get caught up on your trip. WOW!! What a time you are having! I'm glad you finally realized that I'm a true poet and marked the guard rail appropriately. Susie and I are on the road with the 5th wheel and staying in a KOA in Madison, WI. We plan to be at my daughter's in Stillwater,MN tomorrow. We'll visit with the grandkids and head west on Monday. The plan is to take I-80 to the Black Hills and then drop down to Cheyenne for frontier days. I'll watch your blog and maybe we'll intersect in SD. Be safe and continue to enjoy. You are causing me to relive the trip and I really am enjoying it!! gary and susie