Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Monday, July 28, 2008
Killdeer, ND to Hazen, ND
66 miles (6684 total miles)

Well, the good news was we kept cool and didn't have any bugs biting us. The weather was, let's see, Pat's word for it was "exciting". That would not have been my word, but we'll let it stand. When we left the motel at 6:50 it was quite gray and muggy, almost foggy. It seemed very strange, we hadn't seen weather like that for weeks. We decided to wrap everything in the plastic bags from the start, to be on the safe side. While we were eating breakfast, the weather broke. It got very dark, horrendously windy, and started to rain very hard. Our bike blew over and we went out to pick it up and move it behind the restaurant where it would be sheltered from the wind, and then ran 100 feet to the convenience store to get ice for our camelbaks. In the 15-20 seconds it took us to do all that, we had gotten completely drenched, much to the amusement of the people in the store. By the time we were done with the camelbaks, though, the rain had quieted down and we were able to set off. It seemed very odd that the wind we were feeling (a head wind again, dammit!) didn't seem to coincide with the direction the clouds were moving. We saw some very dark clouds behind us and thought they wouldn't be a problem, but then realized the clouds were gaining on us. At one point, we turned to the north and the clouds were right next to us. The rain falling from them was curved! I guess the cloud moving east and the wind blowing west made the rain sweep back. We tried to get a picture of it, I'm not sure it showed up too well. The rain caught up with us soon enough - just when we had started to dry off from the earlier rain. Then we noticed that the rain was hitting rather hard and saw these little balls of ice bouncing off the road. The hail was coming down about the size of peas, a few as big as marbles. They started coming down hard enough that we finally stopped to take shelter behind a hay bale at the side of the road. It stopped pretty soon, though, and we went on again. The wind was still blowing pretty hard and it was still quite hilly, so it was fairly tough going even without the rain and hail. Again, we had just about dried out, thinking that was it for the rain for today, when the hail started up again. This time, it started hailing without raining, in fact, it was only hailing on the left side of the road. Looking up ahead, we noticed that the cloud was only covering that part of the road. We watched these much larger pieces of hail hit the road and smash into pieces, but soon enough it moved over to our lane as well, and we started getting pelted. A sheriff had stopped just before it got bad and asked if we wanted to sit it out in his car, but we turned him down (regretting it soon afterwards). We had to run for a hay bale again, but not until after we got a picture of one of the giant hailstones, for proof.

After that episode, we made it to a convenience store in the little town of Dodge, about half-way on our route. We managed to get some lunch there and when we came out, things had cleared up pretty much. We didn't have any more rain or hail after that. The sky was still fairly overcast and the wind still strong, so it stayed cool. By the time we made it to Beulah, 8 miles from Hazen, the sun had come out and it was getting fairly warm. Terry had warned us that there was major road construction along 200 between Beulah and Hazen, which was confirmed by some local people, so we headed up a detour that took us an extra 8 miles to get to Hazen. It was a pretty ride, though, and we easily found Terry's mom's house. Jerine and Les greeted us warmly, got us showered and fed us well, and then kept us company while we worked on the site. We did 66 miles today in under 7-1/4 hours, not bad for such a rough day. Unfortunately, between the rain and the windy hills, we didn't get a lot of pictures today, but here they are.

Rain falling in a curve from the clouds next to us

Another dark cloud hovering over us

One of the giant hailstones that landed near us

The land is a little wilder out here

A cute welcome from a cowboy out in the middle of nowhere

Interesting shapes and erosion lines

A little creek filled with water

We pass by the little town of Zap, North Dakota

The town of Beulah comes into view

A lovely wheat field just before our detour

A map of the huge Lake Sakakawea at a convenience store at our turn

A field of canola, without the flowers, along our detour road

Some big storm clouds still remain in the sky in the evening at Hazen

Les and Jerine at their home