A great breakfast place in Stanley, ND.
Sonia in front of the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot.
High art, North Dakota style!
Ode to the West Wind
by Percey Shelly
(I remembered this poem from high school, but had to google it to get it correct. OK, Shelly may be a wind bag, but this part of the poem does fit our day today)
And from one of the greatest poets of our generation, Bob Seger, from Against the Wind:
If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
if I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share
The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O Uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be
The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven
Against the wind
I'm still runnin' against the wind
I'm older now but still runnin' against the wind
Yesterday and today we fought the winds, at least while travelling north. When we left Williston, ND yesterday, we decided to leave the Adventure Cycling route and head north and then east on Route 2. This would put us another day ahead and would allow us to have a rest day in Minot, which we were all in need of.
We had to ride 14 miles north of Williston before heading east to Stanley where we planned to spend the night in the city park (I love how the cities in Montana and North Dakota allow camping in their parks. I wish Walla Walla would do this). We encountered a BRUTAL wind from the west, I'm guessing 25 miles per hour with higher gusts. As we rode north, it was all I could do to keep the loaded bike going forward and not sideways! At one point I looked ahead and Alison was leaning her bike into the wind. I then noticed we were also riding at an angle to the ground. That 14 miles (with some back country navigating so we could take advantage of the tailwind occasionally) took us about 2 1/4 hours!
Once we got to Highway 2 heading east, however, we had a sweet tailwind. I wish I had a sail on the bike! We stopped in the town of Ray for ice cream (at Snow White Ice Cream - highly recommended if you are out this way). While sitting eating our ice cream we spoke with a man who grew up in Stanley and was back visiting relatives. He and his wife were so impressed with the kids that they wanted a picture of all of us by our bikes! This has happened several times now. The kids are getting their 15 minutes of fame!
Just as we were about to get on our bikes it started to rain. We waited it out (and had another ice cream cone!). Once we got on our bikes we were able to cruise at 25 mph on the flats with no problems. But, alas, the next rain system caught us. We got the rain gear on again and headed off. Once we reached Stanley we were all wet and cold and decided to see if the small motel on the west end of town had any rooms. We were told by our hosts in Williston that because of a recent oil boom in this area (more on that in a later post) that there were not rooms to be found in any of the towns between Williston and Minot. When we pulled up to the motel the "No Vacancy" sign was lit. I went inside anyway to see if they could suggest another place. The man at the desk said they did have a room left. There was much rejoicing! We unloaded the bikes, got hot showers, and settled in for a well-deserved rest.
When we got up in the morning I anticipated an easy ride to Minot. What did I say in the last post about this type of anticipation? Unfortunately, the wind had shifted and we now had a partial side and tailwind. The hills didn't help our progress any, but at least the sun was out! I think it was worth the push to Minot by compressing a three day ride into two. This way we get to take tomorrow off!
I hope to upload some photos tomorrow. Thanks for all the comments!
Rolling Eastern Montana landscape.
Alison and Gus emerge from a cloud of smoke.
Five minutes later we were poured on!
Desolate? Forbidding? There was never a country that in its good moments was more beautiful...Even in drought, or dust storm or blizzard it is the reverse of monotonous, once you have submitted to it with all the senses. You don't get out of the wind, but learn to lean and squint against it. You don't escape sky and sun, but wear them in your eyeballs and on your back. You become acutely aware of yourself. The world is very large, the sky even larger, and you are very small.~ Wallace Stegner, Wolf Willow