Bicycling 4,174 Miles Across the United States

Archive for July 8, 2012

July 7th – Williston to Minot, ND Post and Pictures

Bike Challenge – Riding the Shoulder. This is an example of a road shoulder I must navigate. In this photograph I must keep within a 6 inch strip of smooth payment with rumple strips cut into the pavement on one side and a fall off of the road into the dirt on the other. Sometimes the navigable section narrows to 4 inches – sometimes widens to 18 inches. This can be very difficult to maneuver since you must also avoid broken glass, stones, holes, roadkill, and other debris in this narrow section – my neck aches from the stress. However, in some sections the shoulder biking path expands to 6 feet which is wonderful and allows me to look up and take in the sights. At least in North Dakota the pavement is smooth – In Montana it was often cracked, broken, uneven, and/or non-existent.

July 7th Statistics –Williston to Minot, ND:

  • Today’s Biking Distance – 122.9 miles
  • Today’s Average Speed – 15.4 mph
  • Today Ascent – 2,827 feet
  • Today Descent – 3,010 feet
  • Today’s Ending Elevation – 1,418 feet
  • Total Trip Biking Days – 16
  • Total Trip Biking Distance – 1,405.5 miles
  • Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 78.1 miles
  • Total Trip Ascent – 49,399 feet

The longest ride of my cross-country tour (and life) has been conquered – 123 miles!  Time on the bike saddle today (7.9 hours) was actually a little less than yesterday because of riding faster – I arrived in Minot a little after 5 pm.  I think I had enough energy and sunlight left (but maybe not enough tolerance for my neck pain) to ride another 50 miles – a great feeling.  Jim, Doug and I, again, were the only bikers to ride the entire day’s distance – Diane and Dale never thought any of us would actually ride the entire 123 miles in one day.  The sky, humidity, and temperature were perfect.  While I had a headwind in the morning (4-10 mph), I had a tailwind by the afternoon (4-10 mph).  Additionally, while not perfect, North Dakota roads were much more biker friendly that Montana’s roads from yesterday. Unfortunately, haze diminished the longer views for the first time on the trip.

Dinner at Applebee’s in Minot was great (it was the 4th highest rated restaurant in Minot according to Trip Advisor) – but I suspect that after 123 miles any food would have tasted great, particularly with the Samuel Adams Summer Ale I ordered.  Unfortunately, I am not going to see much of Minot (downtown is about 3 miles away from our Comfort Inn) on Sunday as I must do laundry, put new tires and tubes on my bike, replace a pedal, clean and oil my gears and chain, clean my bike, and purchase some supplies.

Mile 26 – Route 2 on way to Minot, ND. For the first time on the trip haze is appearing in the sky muting the colors of the scenery.

Mile 26: View looking back to Williston, ND from same point as last photograph.

Mile 29: Temporary housing available for workers in Williston 30 miles away. These types of bunkers appeared along side of the Route 2 for 80 miles.

Mile 29: The other side of the road from the last photo showing temporary housing for Williston workers. At breakfast in Williston the waitress told us she was moving away from Williston that evening because she cannot find affordable housing for her and her children after a month’s search.

Mile 34: Oil rig along side of Route 2 between Williston and Ray, ND. You could smell the oil in the air as you passed by numerous oil rigs.

Mile 52: View east on Route 2 approaching Ross, ND. Note: Wide shoulder for biking, but numerous stones and debris which must be avoided.

Mile 62: Another example of an oil platform on the side of Route 2 between Williston and Minot, ND. Note: Another oil platform in the distance.

Mile 71: View looking West on Route 2 near Stanley, ND. Note: Truck is typical of the hundreds that pass every day near Williston, ND.

Mile 86: Scenery changed as I approached Minot with more and more field of green and yellow green (rapeseed/canola).

July 6: Wolf Point to Williston, ND – Post (continued) and Photos

Mile 22: Poplar, MT – First SAG stop of the day. Doug, Dale, Steve, Diane.

Today was the second century ride (103+ miles) for the trip.  Fortunately, compared to yesterday, the headwinds were manageable (4-10 mph) and I was able to bike 12.8 mph.  As I mentioned in my prior blog – this was a long day  in the saddle – but the temperature great for biking and the wind kept me cool.

There was a lot of apprehension about the ride today due to the numerous warnings about traffic volume (due to the Williston oil boom), trucks, narrow shoulders, and road conditions/construction.  The published bike route across the norther tier was rerouted this year to avoid going to Williston due to the concerns (but it added 150 mile and required 50 miles riding on an interstate highway).

I am very glad to say that reality did not match up with the warnings.  We did not see any significant traffic until the last 25 miles (especially the last 10 miles outside Williston) when we entered North Dakota.  Fortunately, the road conditions in North Dakota were much better the Montana – wider and smoother paved shoulders.  Surprisingly, most truckers were far more considerate that we expected and moved to the left when they passed us to minimize wind on us.  Additionally, the road changed to four lane divided before reading Williston.

Williston was exactly as described – a boom town with more traffic than I see in Philadelphia.  Every other vehicle is a commercial truck.  Construction of hotels, temporary housing, commercial establishments everywhere.  I went to a convenience store to get a Red Bull, but gave up due to the 15 people in each of two lines waiting to check out.  The first restaurant we went to for dinner had a long wait (first time this has happened for the trip) so we went back to our hotel for a mediocre dinner – we didn’t want to wait since we had a 120+ mile ride the next morning.

Mile 27: View on B1A in the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. It was empty of traffic, great views, but had cracks every 5 to 20 feet, thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump.

Mile 30: Another view on Route B1A on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation looking west behind me.

Mile 33: Vista a I biked on Route B1A on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

Mile 43: A beautiful view behind me in B1A in the Fort Peck Indian Reservation – B1A provided stunning scenery.

Mile 48: The land conditions changed as we traveled further along B1A on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

Mile 51: A change for me – being ahead of Jim as he climbs a hill on B1A on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

Mile 51: A real shocker – being ahead of Doug (probably because he had a flat tire – I can think of no other reason I ever got ahead of him) and getting his photo climbing a hill on B1A on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

Mile 51: View south from same point where photos of Jim and Doug was taken on B1A on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

MIle 55: View South on B1A, Missouri River in the distance.

Mile 65: Historical Marker – An Imposing and Elaborate Establishment.

Mile 77: Last photo taken in Montana of Jim biking ahead of me.

Mile 91: First oil well seen in North Dakota – about 10 miles before Williston.