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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Teepee, a century, and a pair of bike shorts.

I'll try to make this quick. We are in a bagel shop in Minot, North Dakota. Nice to find a place like this in the midst of a sprawl of chain stores. I'm going to attempt the quick version of the past few days:

On Monday morning we arrived at the bike shop to wait for Ray's phone to arrive via DHL sometime during business hours. We waited and waited and read and paced. While we were waiting Ray hung his wet bike shorts out to dry on a sign in the sun. We met a few other cyclists headed east: Romano, his son Nico (who were on a tandem) and their friend Jim. Ray took our camera to have our photos put on a cd (I will send the cd home today and hopefully someone can get our pictures online for us.)

At about 2 p.m. we saw the DHL truck across the street so Ray ran over to get his package. Sadly, the driver told him that the plane had been late and he didn't have the packages for that day. We would have to pick it up in Minot. So we pretty much wasted the whole day and wouldn't be able to get to New Town which was about 75 miles away. Meanwhile, Ray's shorts had disappeared. Who would steal a pair of bike shorts, we wondered? What kind of town was this where people set fires in the city park bathrooms and stole bike shorts?

We set off, deciding that we would go as far as we could that afternoon. We were met with huge hills going out of Williston. Once we made the initial climb we could see the road going straight in front of us with hill after hill after hill. We climbed and coasted again and again. After a while the road began to curve around some hills and we could see Lake Sakakawea in the distance. It was a really beautiful area with hills and small canyons and other interesting land formations (sorry I don't know all the technical terms). The grass was a pale green and there were more trees around here than we had seen in a lot of Montana.

Due to all the hills, it became apparent that we weren't going to make it very far and it didn't seem like there were many options for camping. We stopped at a place called Lund's Landing to assess the situation. There was a little cafe with a nice porch and lots of hanging baskets of flowers. The place was closed but we sat on the porch to decide what to do. Just as we were going to look for a possible camping spot, Jim, one of the owners appeared and told us there was free camping nearby or for $8. each we could stay in a teepee and use their showers. We jumped at the chance to stay in the teepee. There were two of them, both up on platforms over looking a dried up river that used to flow into Lake Sakakawea. Apparently there hasn't been water in that part for about 10 years because of drought in Montana and less water flowing into that area.

The place was lovely with tons of birds and rabbits and flowers around, really well kept. The cafe would serve juneberry pancakes for breakfast the next day and we were excited for that, too. After we took showers we found Romano and Nico on the porch. We chatted with them for a bit and Ray casually mentioned that he had lost his bike shorts, among other disappointments in Williston. Romano said that he and Jim had found a pair of bike shorts hanging on the very sign that Ray had left his on. They thought it was random that they were there and Jim picked them up and carried them along, but then they thought, what would they do with another pair of shorts? So they left them on the ground some distance from the sign. When Jim pulled up the the porch we let him in on this strange coincidence. Everyone had a good laugh and Jim tried to give Ray a pair of his shorts. Maybe this isn't funny to anyone else, but to all of us, it was a totally odd, funny, and annoying happening.

After a lovely evening (the moon rose beautifully and we stayed up until 11 or so not even knowing it was that late because it wasn't totally dark by that time), a good sleep in the teepee and some yummy pancakes we left, planning to go along the lake to Makoti. As we were riding Ray concocted a plan to cut off 20 or 30 miles to Minot so he could get a pair of bike shorts and ride in comfort sooner. So we cut over to route 2 and ended up riding about 100 miles yesterday, all for the sake of the shorts. There was a pretty good cross wind and an abundance of big hills so it really wasn't easy, but we made it to Minot last night. We were mostly riding through farmland but it seems that houses, towns and trees are a lot more frequent around here than they were in certain parts of Montana.

Of course my story wasn't that short, but I just want to keep you all updated. Today we will go about 40 miles on route 2 to Towner. Tomorrow we will go through the geographic center of North America (I'll let you know how it is, don't worry :). Fargo is our final destination in North Dakota and we'll be there in a few days with plenty of adventures in between. Glad you are enjoying reading about this trip and its great to hear from everyone! By the way, the weather has been great in the past few days. Its cloudy today but warm and kind of humid. Let's hope for more amazing tail winds! Lots of love to you all!

1 comment:

Kaptain said...

Loved the bike shorts story...such a typical trail thing to happen. It reminds me of Sunshine's windsock.... so funny !!!

You guys are rocking along..can't believe how far you have ridden in a month. Keep us posted !