Today was a great day. We had the pleasure of starting the day by having breakfast with Stuart and Caren (www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/4900 ) and very much enjoyed getting to know them and swapping facts re the trails that are in front of each of us. We hope they will visit us in New Hampshire when they complete their “seaside to seaside” in 2010.
The day started off cool like a late September morning but with brilliant sunshine with few clouds in the huge blue sky. Despite the sunshine, the day never really warmed up enough for us to take off our “high viz” jackets.
We left Minot via Route 2, which is off the Adventure Cycling route but based on info provided by previous tourers and reinforced by Stuart and Caren we opted to take it. We will remain on this route for a few hundred miles!
Route 2 is a four lane divided highway and for most of today it had a wide and clean paved shoulder. Although there is a moderate amount of traffic most drivers chose to pass us in the far left lane leaving plenty of room. We were particularly lucky today as we came across a 10 mile stretch that was newly paved but not yet open to cars. Even the still strong but no longer demoralizing winds on our starboard quarter could not take away from the great feeling of cruising on the open road through the hills (yes hills!) of western North Dakota.
Just prior to lunch we met local resident Duane Jussero while taking a quick break on the highway. Duane kindly provided me the “Will work for food sign” you will see in the pictures. Based on the food budget so far on the trip it may come in handy! Thanks Duane! Duane also recommended the “Tumbleweed Café” in Berthold for lunch and we really enjoyed meeting the owner Jean. We then relaxed for a while in the sunshine on the broad porch of the café before setting of to our final destination for the day, Stanley ND. Beautiful country along the way with numerous small lakes and ponds punctuating a landscape of yellow canola flowers and the purple flax. A beautiful sight with lots of wildlife. Apparently a very wet fall, abundant snowfall this winter and a wet spring have contributed to this year being especially prolific. This area of North Dakota (about 80 miles south of the Manitoba / Saskatchewan border is also very active with oil activity and as we headed to Stanley we saw a number of active oil wells.
We had a great dinner …and service! … at the “Palermo Bar and Grill” in Palermo and great conversation with our waitress and owner Della Johnson.. Like many of these small towns (think population of 200 on a busy day ) this is the only game in this town or in this case in any of several surrounding towns.. Based on the advice of previous tourers we stopped for a great dinner before proceeding to Stanley and checking in at the Painted Horse Motel. Apparently we were lucky to get a reservation at any motel as all of the oil activity is has the rooms taken by the oil workers.
Our pit crew was in action today and replaced another broken spoke in Zach’s rear wheel in no time. Mom was in her 10th day on the road today and like we all did before her today she “bonked”. She has done a great job to date and will fight her way through the next few days. Hopefully the wind will give us all a break as we now near the end of our ride through the ‘Midwest’ and head for the “West” which begins at the North Dakota / Montana border.