Thursday, 1 July 2010

The Smoothrider State

It was an exciting day today… another State line crossed. We waved a tearful farewell to beautiful Montana and entered North Dakota, the “Roughrider State” with some mixed feelings. We had been told that we should cycle through here as quickly as possible, as it is flat and windy and there is nothing to see. Well, that’s not what we’ve found so far and, although it’s early days, we’re lovin’ North Dakota already!

We started the day with a hearty “family” breakfast cooked by Evelyn’s fair hand. The “family” part is because we joined the Wilkins family for breakfast, a lively and fun-loving bunch getting together from various parts of Iowa and Montana for the holiday weekend (see photo). It had us in a jovial state of mind and feeling positive for the day ahead. We also had huge smiles on our faces when, about 20 or 30 miles into our ride, the Wilkins drove past in their various cars toot tooting and beep beeping, and taking photos out of the window…we love you guys!! A special thanks to David Moon for your donation.

It was another hot, hot, hot day for our 63-mile jaunt from Glendive, MT to Medora, ND. But we took it easy, keeping hydrated and resisting the temptation to zoom along on the rolling terrain, and coped much better with the heat. Since we are “off-piste” again (i.e. we’re following our own route rather than the ACA cycling maps), we were in two minds as to whether to follow the interstate, or try to parallel on various frontage roads and other highways. Pedalling out of Glendive on the interstate (since this was really the only good option), we were amazed to find that there were hardly any cars on the road, and even fewer trucks. We kept expecting that to change, but it never did. Then we rolled into North Dakota. Well, we found ourselves with a Grand Cru Classe road surface, and a mega-LeBron James shoulder. With such smooth riding, there was no shifting us after that.

So, we cycled the whole way on I-94, taking in the scenery, which is not flat at all, and is really quite like nothing we have seen before. There are grassy plains, as we imagined, but then there are these little perfectly formed hills, just a few hundred meters high, with horizontal stripes of all sorts of colours of rock and soil, rather like huge liquorish allsorts (see photos).

We’re staying tonight in Medora, which bills itself as the #1 Vacation Spot in North Dakota. It’s a cowboy town, which celebrates everything cowboy, having its own musical and “pitchfork fondue” attraction running every night. As is our style, we’re just taking it all in, and chilling out doing our own thing. We have a rest day here tomorrow due to the various scheduling difficulties we alluded to yesterday, but we’re quite happy to hang out. We might even play a bit of “cowboy crazy golf” – it’s right outside our motel room. We’ll keep you posted.

Us x

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