Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Thursday, July 24, 2008
Culbertson, MT to Williston, ND
44 miles (6514 total miles)

Three exciting milestones to report today (it doesn't take much to get us excited these days!) - #1, we entered North Dakota, our 20th state! #2, we entered Central Time Zone, just one time zone away from home (that should make phone communications easier, it was a pain to have to keep figuring out what time it was at home). We were surprised at that, since we entered Mountain Time Zone when we entered Montana, back on July 8th, so the Mountain Time Zone is exactly one state wide up here! We may slip back in & out of Mountain Time as we head south in N. Dakota, because some of the western counties are in Mountain Time. #3, (ta-da!) we hit the northernmost point of out trip today in Williston, ND. Our easternmost point was Stone Harbor, NJ, our southernmost was Galveston, TX, our westernmost? not sure, but somewhere in CA or OR. So this rounds out our 4 corners.

Well, that's probably all the excitement you can stand for one day, which is good because we don't have a lot more to report. We went through more farm and ranchlands today, both in Montana & N. Dakota. We were on Rt. 2 again all day today, starting out flat until the town of Bainville, 14 miles out, and then hilly for the rest of the day. A train track ran near the road during the early part and we got a picture of a truck equipped with track wheels rolling along the tracks; we'd only seen that once before, earlier in Montana. We also saw a train approaching at one point and waved to the engineer. We were thrilled that he tooted his horn back at us, that's always fun. The day started out sunny again and a little cool, with a mild tail wind; we thought we wouldn't have any rain today. It soon got cloudy, however, sneaking up behind us as usual, and it started to sprinkle just before we got to the state border. We managed to get some pictures of the North Dakota welcome sign before it got too wet for the camera. The rain didn't amount to much, though, and we could see the rain clouds move on off to the east. Having the clouds keep us cool and having a tail wind, even a much lighter one than yesterday, helped us on the hills, but we were still glad it was a short day (43-1/2 miles) and that tomorrow will be a rest day. It's been a long week.

The Adventure Cycling route would have had us take a detour down to Fort Union and Fort Buford and the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers, but it would have added 12-15 miles to our day and we just didn't feel up to it. We were disappointed to miss what was probably a beautiful and interesting sight, and sorry not to be able to share it with you, but we have to make our choices. We did have a cute moment as we came into Williston. Pat saw what looked like a dog on the road ahead, but as we got closer, it looked more like a fox or coyote. He changed his mind about crossing the road when two cars passed ahead of us, but looked like he might try again until he saw us coming. He loped off through the grasses at the side of the road and then looked back when he was safely hidden except for his head sticking up. We got a picture, although not a very good one.

Farm equipment on display...

as well as a tipi, in front of the Culbertson Museum

Lots of grain silos as we left town

Truck on the railroad tracks

Miles and miles of hay bales

Oil pumps working in some fields

Hills on the other side of the Missouri, valley on this side

More and more fields of grain

Historic marker about Fort Union

Farm fields as far as the eye can see

The road starts to get hilly

Looking toward the Missouri again

Horses on top of a hill

A creek winds through this field

The fields start getting more texture to them

Cows lounging in a valley

The fields keep getting hillier and more trees are appearing

We reach the end of the state

A casino at the border

Our welcome to North Dakota, with a picture of Teddy Roosevelt

This sign points to the road we would have taken to Fort Buford -
note the storm clouds moving ahead of us

North Dakota farms look a lot like Montana ones

Here's our cute little fox/coyote, checking to see if we're following him