Friday, August 31, 2007


Uncle Bill on the road.

This picture taken in North Dakota, or maybe Minnesota [too green for MT] gives you an idea of how lite we travel [Bill's bike folds into a suitcase and the panniers can be carried as carry-on luggage]. He has one pannier for Power Bars and one for all the other stuff. This is a man who has eaten about 12,000 Power Bars since 1992.
Also, I'd say the traffic on this road is fairly typical of what you see on Adventure Cycling routes.



North Dakota History: this is about as exciting as it gets. Click on picture to make bigger then read [yawn].


Trip pictures

A pumper in the Hess Oil Field on county road 21 near "NO WHERE" North

My pictures from this trip consist of 3 subjects: 1. fields, 2. abandoned banks and 3. Bill. I've posted one of each on this blog. My job is done.

Let's face it, a camera just doesn't do justice to the visual magnitude of this land. You have to be there and see it to appreciate it. I could show you a
thousand pictures and you wouldn't get it.

Why not forget the pictures/stuff [which end up in a shoe box that someone
has to store or throw out when we die]? Better to live it than read about it?
Let's get moving?


Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Can't leave it all behind..

Bill wanted this picture, taken in Sabin, MN, to show Nick the new football coach at Alabama. All I can say is "War Eagle."


Ghost town America.

Picture of one of the hundreds of small town banks we've seen that's been closed.....
Been away from the interstate highway system?
It's the lost world of rural America: a lost civilization and culture. We're all being Interstateized, same speech, same stores, same clothing, same music, same food, same sports, same school system and same TV.....sameo sameo.




Pictured at the left is a 200 acre field of sunflowers we saw in North Dakota and this is about as exciting as is gets. Sometimes I feel slighted when we go by a field and they have their heads turned the other way but even then you can see a few of them peeping our way.

Why do we do it? It's all about the exercise fix, better tasting food, a good nights sleep and leaving stuff behind:simplification. At a basic level hard work is what we're born to do.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Home again, home again.

Here is a picture we took before leaving the motel
the day that I had the flat in the rain storm.

Took from 4:00 AM to 10:30 PM to get home yesterday. Delta, one of my least favorite companies, did a good job considering the weather conditions and I believe my old favorite Southwest would have only beaten them by about an hour.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Day 20... From Fort Benton to Great Falls and Lincoln...135 miles.

Fort Benton was great. Starting with the 87 year old inn keeper who gave us a beer. Lewis and Clarke camped on the river bank here and there is nice little tourist industry grown up around floating the river and town history.

It's 42 hard miles from Fort Benton to the bike shop in Great Falls. Starting with the 240 vertical foot climb out of the Missouri River valley. The wind, bad roads and long hills made for an interesting ride.

Image riding along at 12 mph and having two buck antelopes pass you about 100 feet off the road, get ahead about 300 feet and cross the road in front of your still moving bike. Cool. One buck was chasing the other out of his territory and other seemed to be running for his life.

The ride from Great Falls to Lincoln was easy, we averaged 61 mph over and I did about the same going back.

I'm setting in a motel room near the airport and can hear the wind howling outside my window .

Total bicycle miles 1320. Great trip. Back home tomorrow. I'll miss the road.

By the way, you'll have ask Bill how we made such good time to Lincoln. I promised not to tell.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Day 19...Haver to Fort Benton, MT 77 miles.

One of our best rides. Mostly flat, big down hill, no wind, coffee shop and 2 nice cafes on route.

Because of the airport construction in Missoula I return to SC from Great Falls on Sunday so tomorrow will be my last day on the road.

For me the trip total will be around 1300 miles in 20 days Including two 100 mile days and 3 hard days into the wind. Thanks to Uncle Bill, who is a great biking companion, it was a wonderful trip. I'll be ragged forever since he'll make the hard trek over the mountains to Missoula without me. Rats.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Day 18..Chinock to Haver, MT..22 miles

We have to be careful of the information you get from non cyclists and or the questions asked. Yesterday the lady who checked me in at the motel said it was very very hilly into Haver. She was right, it was very hilly but the road ran next to the RR tracks and was 95% pancake flat. I want to know about the road conditions and she wanted to comment about the scenery.

Even the Tour de France riders ride some on the tour off days, to help stop lactic acid from building up. Keeping with this professional standard we rode on our off day. It took a 1.5 hour with a tail wind and Tom setting the pace to make the trip over from Chinock. This shows that after a few weeks on the road what most people wouldn't attempt physically, we call down time.

The end is in site. We should arrive in Missoula on Monday. I tried for what seemed like hours to make airline reservation out of Missoula but everything was booked up. Very frustrating. Finally tried to book a flight to Minneapolis and a nice lady from Northwest told me the airport was closed for 3 days for repair. Jennifer finally booked me something out of Grand Falls via Orbitz but when I checked earlier with Delta they said the flight was full. Oh well, we'll see.

Have not reported on restaurants lately because they're pretty much all the same. In a Nut shell; they would be out of business in Charleston. I'm spoiled.

Havre is a nice place except for the big hill you can see from our motel on the west side of town.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Day 17.. Malta to Chinook, MT...69 miles

Okay, so you walk into the garage, get in your SUV, drive to the café for coffee and set there bitching about the wind. It just doesn't seem right to a biker who's actually been out in the stuff. Speaking of SUV's it's been my observation that everyone in MT has a SUV, pickup truck, motorcycle or beater car [Tom and a couple others are the exceptions].

We had the headwinds again today. It's a little depressing when you first hit them in the morning but as the day wears on you and the wind become one. Which is kind of what this cross country cycling is all about; leaving all the day to day stuff behind and becoming single pointed to the task of riding slowly between motels. Very uncomplicated.

This morning I was riding alone and came upon an antelope in the middle of the road. We looked each other over, then she hopped across the fence and up a hill. I noticed her calf on the other side of the road about to run out in front of an on coming car. Standing nearly in the middle of the road I tried to flag down the car which did slow to about 82 mph. Lucky for the idiot in the car and the one in the road the calf high tailed it in the other direction.

Tomorrow we can ride either 22 miles or 93 miles, nothing available in between. This is another example of how uncomplicated our life is on the road; pick one , A or B.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Day 16...Glasgow to Malta, MT...72 miles

Tom and Ruth met us in Glasgow last night. Old home week topped off with a few drinks at the bar. Good to have Tom along to keep us out of trouble. Tom measured the mileage from Missoula as 455 miles.

We became one with the wind today, granted it wasn't as bad as yesterday but still it blew 15-25 in our face, with gusts over 30 mph. It took 9 hours on the road to ride the 72 miles. I left a little before Tom and Bill, who were goofing around with breakfast , but left dog trail markings so they wouldn't get lost.

Brown grass, rolling hills, blue sky and very few trees: Big Sky Country.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Day 15... Wolf Point to Glasgow, MT...50 miles.

THE WIND: West at 20 mph to hurricane. Knock you on your butt. Blow the stripes off the pavement. Pee across a 4 lane highway. It's like riding up a mountain that never ends. Time to leave the bikes at home, travel east, call a cab or stick out the thumb. .

We fought the good fight but gave up after 36 miles, we were looking at 3 hours to go the last 14 mikes. Threw in the towel at Nashua, MT, I went into the local café and asked if anyone with a pickup truck, which was everyone, wanted to make 40 bucks for driving us to Glasgow; there is poor wheat crop so before it was over they were fighting over us in the parking lot.


Day 15... Wolf Point to Glasgow, MT...50 miles.

THE WIND: West at 20 mph to hurricane. Knock you on your butt. Blow the stripes off the pavement. Pee across a 4 lane highway. It's like riding up a mountain that never ends. Time to leave the bikes at home, travel east, call a cab or stick out the thumb. .

We fought the good fight but gave up after 36 miles, we were looking at 3 hours to go the last 14 mikes. Threw in the towel at Nashua, MT, I went into the local café and asked if anyone with a pickup truck, which was everyone, wanted to make 40 bucks for driving us to Glasgow; there is poor wheat crop so before it was over they were fighting over us in the parking lot.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Day 14.... Williston, ND to Wolf Point, Montana...100 miles.

Original plan was to ride about 45 miles to Culbertson, MT but big tailwinds push us another 55 miles. Besides there is going to be a wind shift tomorrow so might as well make hay while we can.

We left ND behind after the first 18 miles. Eastern Montana seems dryer with less wheat fields but otherwise about the same. We know this is Indian Country because of all the casinos [Bill tried to get me to play the dollar slot but wouldn't give me a buck to play].

A hard 75 yesterday and the century today [6.5 hours of pedaling today not including breaks] both days with lots of climbing have us a little tired but old guys still rule.

It's about 500 mikes to Missoula and tomorrow we'll go over the 1000 mile mark. Looking foreward to meeting up with Ruth and Tom tomorrow.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Day 13...Stanley to Williston, ND..75 miles.

South east winds were a big help today. We had a hard ride south into cross winds on county road 12 or 21 [depending on which side of dyslexia your on]. This road crosses oil fields owned by Hess Oil and also got us back on the Adventure Cycling route.

We had brunch at Lunds Landing a fish/hunting camp [best damn fishing guides in the world] on Lake Sakakawea [damned up Missouri River] after about 50 miles. Good grub. Mr. Lunds says he gets about 100 cyclist a year which is about $5k a year in revenue. I believe him. Then he said it was very hilly into Wiliston which I figured was a non-cyclist talk.....boy was I wrong. It's was 22 miles into town, 11 miles up hill at 6-7 miles per hour and 11 screaming miles down hill at 30 mph [white knuckles all the way]. Thankfully there was a liquor store slash kill Bamby [hunting supplies] store at the city limits [tomorrow is Sunday and my medical supplies are low].

Tomorrow we plan to be in Montana so here is summary of North Dakota.
North Dakota: land of laid back people, long lonely roads, cheap motel rooms and iceberg lettuce. History of the state: Indians. Lewis and Clarke visit 204 years ago. All buffaloes killed. Wheat planted.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Day 12....Minot North Dakota to Stanley, ND....58 miles.

Riding a bicycle 4-8 hours a will put your lights out at night and last night at the Super 8 was no exception. Most mornings we're up before the alarm goes off, usually a little tired and leg sore but ready to get on the road. The tired legs disappear after a few miles on the road.

Today the wind was out of the east and really got cooking about 9:00 and pushed us along at a cool 15-30 miles per hour. We did 58 hilly miles before noon. Almost pushed on to Williston, another 72 miles but would have had 20 miles of cross winds. Today was so easy we're treating this as a kind of off day.

We have tentative plans to meet up with Tom and Ruth [Bill's son and his wife] wherever we land in eastern Montana on Monday night.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Day 11 Rugby to Minot, ND...68 miles. 700 total miles.

Our folks back in SC and Alabama are suffering with the 100 degree heat so I won't rub it in by talking about the ND weather.

Got up this morning, put on three shirts. Went to local gas station/hardware store/eatery and brought a pair of gloves. On the road after a Pop Tart breakfast. We are riding US 2 the major east west highway in northern ND a 4 lane highway. The traffic volume on this road is unbelievable low, more like a rural secondary road in our part of the world.

We've seen lots of wildlife including several surprises like sea gulls and plovers which I thought were only around the coast? Also at least 3 different kinds of hawks, a wide variety if song birds and ducks and plenty of deer. The row crops are typical mid west types but also include a few more exotic plants like sugar beets, sunflowers and flax [beautiful blue flowers].

There is one word to describe our day today: AVERAGE. Average mileage, food, roads and food. I promised not to mention weather that was way above average.

Correction: the food tonight at Primo's Italian was a little above average.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Day 10 Minnewaukan to Rugby, ND...62 miles.

Out the door by 7:00 into a cool 54 F and a nice sunny day. The one possible stop [not to be missed] on our route today was Esmond, ND at 27 miles down the road. When we pulled up to the Esmond Café a guy leaving said the food was great. He was right, we had a brunch that was first class, the hash browns were not greasy. It's good thing we fueled up.

After lunch that bitch Mother Nature kicked our ass. It was hard work just standing up in the 20-30 mph wind. We stopped every few miles to get a breather and crawled into town about 2:00.

Rugby is the geographical center of North America and my best guess is Gryphon Liquors, located next to our motel, is on the exact spot [for awhile today it was the center of my universe, need a cold one after that wiind].

We've been about 640 miles.

Dinner at the Corner Stone Café the site of the geographical center [so they say]. Good meal.


Day 9 Pekin to Minnewaukan, North Dakota.....68 miles.

We're always nervous and jerky about the winds, particularly when the forecast calls for 10 to 20 on the nose. Today the predicted winds were a no show so our early start only served to get us here about 1 PM. Same forecast for tomorrow so we'll do it again.

We stopped at Spirit Lake Sioux Casino for lunch [I had to twist Bill's arm to go in] but they were still doing breakfast so we each had a big plate pancakes and coffee for $2.50 total [Bill is now a big fan].

There are some big lakes around here and it's weird to see all that shoreline and with only a few farms on the shore. Bill says there are way less than a million people in this state and that the population is in decline. Today we finally arrived in a big town [population 389] so I can buy some fruit.

Dinner at Miller's Pub. I had a couple gallons of ketchup and tarter sauce to cover the Walleye fish. Nice folks at the bar. I'm not sure why but folks know they are along a Adventure Cyclists route unlike some of the other routes we've taken. Maybe because there are few people?

Tempertures in Fayette and Charleston have been running around 100 F so when we call home and report that the high here today was around 72F and we were a little cold starting our ride in the morning there is a certain coolness to hearing the news.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Day 8 Copperstown to Pekin, ND...38 miles.

Slept in this morning till after 7:00, our tired legs needed the rest.

You guys in SC and Alabama will be jealous when I tell you that it took a hot shower to warm me up after riding in a cold rain today. We took cover from the storm in someone's barn that wasn't at home [plenty of toys in that barn including 5 horse saddles, 2 surreys and 4 riding lawn mowers]. There was a lot of lightning in the area and a little rain but the real rain didn't come till we left cover. The rain was blowing horizontal so hard that one cold drop penetrated my brain. As I write this there are tornado warning in the area....we big news right now on the Weather Channel.

The Prairie View Lodge we are staying at here in Pekin, ND is first class. Full kitchen with stocked cabinets complete with food price list, four double size beds and WIFI. The price list for shotgun shells on the fridge is a clue to who normally stays in these rooms.

Had a cooked frozen pizza for a late lunch, at the Pekin Pub here in Pekin, they make ordering easy by having only one food item on the menu. It's a typical mid west saloon without the smoke. Nice folks.

We needed a low milage day.


Day 7 Fargo, ND to Copperstown, ND...100 miles.

Day 7 Fargo, ND to Copperstown, ND...100 miles.

Fifty four degrees F when we left motel at 6:30. I had on 3 shirts and was still cold. Didn't warm up till PM when the high temperature reached 72F. Good conditions for our longest ride since the day we rode 120 miles into El Paso several years ago.

On the Great Plains of North Dakota you know it's rush hour when 2 cars pass you in an hour. They're harvesting grain around here so we're seeing a lot of the combines they use these days that make a 30-40 foot cut. Everything about farming is big around here from hundreds of acre fields to the monster 8 wheel tractors

Cooperstown at 1800 people is big in these parts which helps explain all the problems we're have booking rooms and why we rode 100 today. I miss being able to buy fresh fruit. One surprise is that all the mom and pop motels have wireless internet unlike a few years ago when Patty and had a hard time getting online.

Pizza and a surprising good iceberg salad for dinner. Too much for us to eat after riding 100 which may help explain why the booths looked so small with only 2 people seated in them.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Day 6 Fergus Falls, MN to Moorhead, MN

Rain delayed start, finally got rolling about 9:00 AM. It didn't snow but we observed most other weather conditions at some point during the day.

Had a flat tire in a rain and lighting storm. It's amazing how lighting striking all around can motivate you to a 3 minute tire change. We started breathing again a few miles down the road.

Today's ride took us through Saben, MN. Bill wanted to be the first Bama fan to have his picture taken in front of the post office. Jeez....

We met a guy named John Henderson from Scotland who is riding across country a few days ago and ended up in the same motel tonight. John is at the half way point on his trip so we celebrated with a little fried cat at the Snap Dragon then had a few drinks and good conversation back at the motel. John is taking a rest day tomorrow but odds are we'll see him further down road.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Long Prairie to Fergus Falls, MN 87 miles.

Long Prairie to Fergus Falls, MN 87 miles.

Easier than the 79 the day before because of the 20 mph SE wind. Average speed increased from 11 we've been getting to over 14 moh. Making this a top 20 best day.

Lots of Candian Geese, Red Tailed Hawks and deer along the route. Also we got firsthand look at why they call MN the Land of a Thousand Lakes as the route zig zagged through them.

All rooms along the Adventure Cycling route were full so we ended 17 miles west in Fergus Falls and plan to stay off route into Fargo [60 miles from here] which isn't a big deal since most roads in MN are bicycle frindly.

Patty, I finally remembered to re-set the PDA which gpt it working again....duh.

Bill and I are getting along great even if he's like a 8 year old with the TV remote.

Friday, August 10, 2007


day 4 Milaca, MN to Long Prairie..79 miles

Up early.....nice riding first 40 miles till heat and 20 mph head wind kicked in and we agreed that the next 40 miles as a top 10 hardest ride. I drank 100 oz. of water from my hydration bag, 1 qt. Of Gator Aid and 2 glasses of tea at lunch.

We had to stop every 30 minutes in some shade for some rest but managed to still average 11 miles per hour.

Tempted to buy one of the many vehicles for sale along the road or trade for a new bike, say a nice late model Yahama.

Stayed at a Super 8. Not bad. Dinner at Coborn's Grocery which was about what you would expect.

Problems with PDA seem to have been worked out.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Day 2.. Stillwater, MN to Cambridge, MN...74 miles.

We have ridden over 100 miles so far and are now about 35 miles from the airport, typical result for bicycle touring. Nice and cool up here in morning but hot and windy in PM. That bitch Mother Nature managed to keep the wind in our face going east yesterday and again today as we finally made the turn west.

We crossed the river at Stillwater into Wisconsin. Plenty of cow poop reminded us this is dairy country. After 30 miles and an early lunch we cross the St. Croix river back into Minnesota into a 15 mph, 92F headwind. We're finally headed towards Montana [forest fires and 100 degree temperatures]. If you have not guessed it our afternoon ride today will require a bath tub of Motrin to get over. Seventy four miles in these conditions was a work out. We plan to have an easy day tomorrow, pray for a wind shift, then pick up the pace again and be in Fargo, North Dakota early next week. Which remindes me, all the people we meet here in MN sound like those in the movie Fargo. I find myself saying ya a lot.

Had $15.00 early bird dinner at a Perkins. More food than a small nation could eat but we ate the whole thing and still had room for snackes before bed [I ate about 6 motel cookies, a Payday candy bar and a bag of popcorn].

Having problems send email on my PDA so this was written on a public library computer in Milaca. MN.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?