Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Thursday, July 31, 2008
There was a big storm in Bismarck last night - thunder, lightning, strong winds - but this morning all was calm. We started out again at 7:45; it was sunny and cool with, thankfully, a tail wind. The wind was pretty calm at first but got a lot stiffer later, just in time to help us with some killer hills (ok, they weren't really killer, but they were pretty tiring). We stayed on a bike path next to Rt. 1804 for at least another 5 miles - remember, we mentioned yesterday that we were on a bike path for miles, before and through Bismarck, ending right at our motel. The bike path ended at a school called the University of Mary, apparently a Catholic college, and we also passed the Bismarck airport and the United Tribes Technical College on our way out of Bismarck.
1804 is the main Adventure Cycling road in these parts and it seems to be the closest road to the river, although it's not very close in most places. As we left town, the scenery quickly shifted back to farmland and pasture; we saw lots of hay crops, and some wheat, but also a lot of corn, a big sunflower field and some other crops we couldn't identify (I guessed soybeans, but they seemed too tall). We also saw more trees and lots of little hills and buttes. The terrain was gently rolling most of the day with some steeper hills in places. We caught some glimpses of the river, or of Lake Oahe, which seems to cover this whole stretch of the river.
It was a fairly uneventful day except for running into another touring couple on a recumbent tandem! We had stopped for a short break and Pat's eagle eyes spotted what looked like a bike coming up on the road behind us. As they approached, he noted that it was a recumbent tandem. The riders were Aaron and Laurel Beese from Oklahoma and they're doing an even more insane trip than we are (the first we've met who meet that description). They're on a 2-year journey covering all 50 states (yes, even Hawaii and Alaska - there is some flying involved). It was pretty exciting to chat with them and swap stories. Their website is fiftybybike.com and has some great pictures and stories as well. We hope to meet up with them again since we're traveling in basically the same direction.
We turned off 1804 onto Rt. 13 in order to stop at the town of Linton, the only town with a motel for miles around. We arrived at our motel at 4, having done almost 64 miles in under 6-1/4 bike hours. Tomorrow will be an even longer day and we're leaning towards skipping the scenic, hillier 1804 for the slightly shorter Hwy. 83. It's farther away from the river but given we didn't see much of the river anyway today, it didn't seem worth making the day harder than it needed to be. We will end in Mobridge, right on the river, and spend a rest day there, so that should be nice. By the way, tomorrow we'll enter South Dakota!