Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ride Days 113-115

Well I haven't had wifi access for a few days so I combined the last three days. I am riding across North Dakota right now. I should say I am racing across this state. After being in Montana for so long with all the nice friendly happy helpful people North Dakota is the pits. The people act more like prison guards and haven't been very nice, friendly, happy, or helpful. The oil boom has gone to their heads. Everyone seems to be focused on cashing in on the boom. Hotels are charging crazy rates and they are all full it seems. The campgrounds are all full also so where are tourists supposed to stay? The state is not treating the tourists that come here very well. My advice is to stay as far away from North Dakota as you are able to. Do not come to this place. I hope to be out of here in two more days and that is too long for me. If I could find a quicker way out of here I would grab it. I have had to struggle to find places to spend the night. Last night I did manage to find a campsite about 7 miles off my route. It was ok with a nice lake, Lake Patterson near Dickinson. I got there after calling around to every place I could find and this was the first place with a space. The night before I ended up camping in a Montana State Park near Glendive. That was a nightmare to find also. Then I read all the stuff at the entrance gate rode almost 5 miles to my campsite and when I arrived found that the only water to be found was back at the entrance gate. I think a sign at the entrance could have been helpful. I ended up just using up all the water that I was carrying so did not ride back to get more. I was too tired to do another ten miles as it was I rode 120 miles already that day. Tonight I still have to find a place in Bismark. I did run into another bike rider today out on I-94. He was riding East on the Lewis and Clark trail to St Lois. We talked for a while as we rode along but then I rode on because I wanted to make sure I made it to at least Bismark. He had just had a flat tire as I was leaving but we were at a rest area so he said he was ok to fix it himself. He got his flat from the bane of bike riders, a big, black, badassed, broken bit of steel belted radial tire. The fine little wires in the tires are perfect for causing flats on bike tires. The shoulders of the freeways are covered with bits and chunks of shredded tires. Yesterday a truck blew a tire about 50 to 100 feet behind me. I was watching the truck in my mirror when the tire blew like a bomb. The truck, a dual wheeled utility truck, veered right toward me. I quickly calculated that it would not be able to hit me because it could not change direction fast enough. I watched it as it almost rolled and then the driver got some control back when he took his foot off the brakes and he slowed down enough to muscle it over to the side of the road in front of me. I went up to the drivers window and he looked terrible. He said, "I almost took you out with me." but I reassured him that he was not going to hit me but that he was lucky he did not roll it. He was in shock from fear I think. All he could do was sit there. So I talked to him for a while until he was able to get out and stand up. He said he had a spare and jack so he could change the tire. I left him on the side of the road and hope he was ok. Other than that the ride has been pretty boring just spinning along up and down over all the roller coaster hills in North Dakota. I have been playing a game to amuse myself as I ride. I pick something way off in the distance and guess what my odometer will be when I get there. I am getting pretty good at it after quite a few tries already. I picked one hilltop to be 5.3 miles away and it was 5.4 which is close. Anything under two miles I can get right on now. I have another 200 miles to get out of this hell hole of a state so I have two more days to keep playing this stupid game. I do enjoy the riding despite all my gripes about North Dakota. The badlands were good to see again. I have always liked harsh environments like that for some reason. My camera just does not do justice to the vistas of the badlands. One of these days I would like to redo this route with a decent camera and try to capture some of the beautiful stuff that I can't with my pocket camera. Other than the badlands I also like the smell of fresh cut fields of alfalfa and hay and even the smells from all the cattle and cows. It takes me back to when I was a kid baling hay on Uncle Ernie's dairy farm. I am having some doubts in my head about why I keep riding and I mull over the pros and cons of it all. It is basically just me challenging myself to complete a series of goals. I have set a minimum weight though. If I go below that weight then I will either stop and rest until I gain some weight or I might just end the ride for now. I can't say right now when that might happen but time will tell. More later.

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