Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Washburn, ND to Bismarck, ND
43 miles (6769 total miles)

Sorry for the technical difficulties yesterday, but all is working fine today and yesterday's pictures are now up. Another beautiful day today, cool and sunny with a calm wind in the morning - excellent biking weather. It was rolling hills again today, too, and the wind, once it got going, was from the south, but we made out fine. We went into downtown Washburn to find breakfast and found a quaint little town with a great cafe. Banners on the lampposts called Washburn the winter home of Lewis & Clark, referring to the place they camped during their first winter, just south of here. We then set out on Hwy. 83 and, shortly afterward, turned off onto Rt. 1804, the more scenic road that runs closer to the river. We got some great views of the Missouri today, as well as the farmhouses, crops, and trees alongside it and the hills and buttes behind it. It was a very lovely day. We noticed that many of the crops were not grain, which was practically all we saw in Montana - here we saw corn and other crops as well as wheat and hay. We were also surprised to find that someone in North Dakota has the same sense of humor that we saw in Texas. One of the farms' fence posts were each decorated with an old cowboy boot or shoe, like the farm called Boot Hill that we saw near Hunt, TX (see the April 14 page).

We did a little more sight-seeing today, at another earthlodge village called Double Ditch (no explanation why it was called that). This one had been inhabited by the Mandan Indians but had already been abandoned when Lewis & Clark arrived there in 1804. Almost 90% of the Mandans had been wiped out by a smallpox epidemic and the survivors had relocated farther north. We got pictures of several plaques, one of them describing the square-looking buttes we had seen earlier along the river, but others mostly talking about the earthlodges and the Mandans. Some of the pictures may seem like repeats of yesterday's but we thought the floor plan shown here was clearer than yesterday's, so we included it. The village site also had a lovely stone shelter that had been built in the Depression as one of the Conservation Corps projects, and there was a plaque about that.

Shortly after the Double Ditch village, we began to get into the outskirts of Bismarck. We got onto a parallel road called River Road that ran along the river. This brought us to a bike trail, parallel to the road, which wound through a series of parks. The first one was Pioneer Park which had a pavilion, picnic area, and woods along the river. The second, more elaborate one, was Keelboat Park with an interesting sculpture of Lewis, Clark & Sakagawea, a replica of a keelboat, and a small steamboat that gave rides up and down the river. It also had a restaurant, and given it was around 1 pm, we stopped and had a delicious lunch. We continued along the bike path through about 3 more miles of lovely parks before we arrived at our motel at 2 pm. We found our motel to be very well situated, near restaurants and near a bike shop. After unloading everything, we headed over to the bike shop to get it looked over. We also managed to get a bike seat cover for my seat which is coming apart at the seams. I'm hoping the seat cover will keep the seat together for the rest of the trip, so I can get a new one at home.

It was another short and pleasant day - 43 miles in a little over 4 hours of bike time. The next two days will be longer and a little tougher, we expect. Here's hoping the weather cooperates, at least!

Banners in downtown Washburn

Main Street buildings

Local museum, war memorial, and memorial to a school superintendent (the bell)

A mural depicting nearby Fort Mandan

Our bike and Pat wait in front of our breakfast stop in Washburn

Shot of the Missouri River from Rt. 1804

A wide field between the road and the river

Buttes appear beyond the river - we'll refer to them later

Crops here are more diversified - we don't know what this one is

Another shot of the interesting hills

Boot Hill - North Dakota-style

Another view of the Missouri

River and hills

A farmhouse and our twisting, rolling road

Another big farmhouse

I liked the scooped-out bowl effect between the 2 buttes

Beautiful river, isn't it?

The Double Ditch Recreation Area, with boats parked in front of the houses

A close-up of one of the boats, a catamaran

A plaque about the buttes we saw earlier

A view of the river from the Recreation Area

Plaques describing the Mandan earthlodge villages

A map of the area, with the L&C camp just north of the Indian village

A stone shelter at the village site

Plaques describing the shelter, built by the CCC during the Depression...

and a schematic of the Indian village

The Indian village site

Schematic of the floor plan and cut-away of an earthlodge

View of the river from the site

Plaque about the archaeology of the site

Our bike waits for us again at the Indian village site

A sculpture at the entrance to Pioneer Park at the edge of Bismarck

Indian icon-inspired statues of Clark, Sakagawea, and Lewis at Keelboat Park

A steamboat that gives rides on the river, anchored at the park

A keelboat replica at the park (sorry, I lost the stern end!)

Part of the city park with a long bike/walking trail and many amenities