Day’s distance: 369 miles
Total trip distance so far: 1563 miles
Temperatures ranged from the 70’s this morning to 91 in the afternoon, before cooling back down to the upper 80’s. The skies were partly cloudy after the overcast burned off. Winds moderate to strong with strong gusts.
Yesterday, when driving through Glasgow, the last town before Fort Peck, I skipped getting gas because I was going to come back through Glasgow this morning. Changing my route last night meant leaving Fort Peck traveling south on Hwy 24 instead of heading north back to Glasgow. Checking my fuel situation, it was going to be tight and maybe not possible to reach the first gas station. I’m thinking, “Again with skipping the gas stop, doh!” Luckily the hotel owner, who owns several boats, had a gallon or so of Ethanol-free premium that I bought off of him.
Lesson learned, again. Feeling grateful and charmed.
I realized how windy it was once I got to the Fort Peck Dam, near the spillway.
I had the good fortune of being able to ease into the windy day as my first leg of the day’s ride was heading south, directly into the wind. Soon enough though, I was heading east and feeling buffeted by the winds.
I have a personal system for rating the strength of winds. Level 1 will buffet my head. Level 2 pushes my whole body around and will cause the bike to cant into the wind. Level 3 tries to push the bike into another lane. I experienced level 3 today after leaving the park.
I have been in stronger winds, but winds at this level are no bueno. 🙁 I took a break every hour or so to stand off the bike and work out some of the stiffness before it became a problem.
I soon crossed into North Dakota, the first of the “new” states I had to visit to complete my goal of riding all 50 states.
My day’s plan was to visit the Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s South unit.
I grabbed lunch before going into the park at a cafe in Medora, the town outside of the park’s South entrance.
In the park, I cruised around the scenic loop, stopping a few times to try to capture the landscape with the various cameras I have. There were bison, groundhogs, turkeys, and mules (or donkeys?) that I saw but I didn’t get photos of them worth sharing. I will have to practice my wildlife photography 🙂
According to Wikipedia, Badlands are a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. South Dakota is known for it Badlands National Park (which I visited in 2014 on my Western States Tour). This is another example of the badlands found in the US.
With the high winds persisting, and the predicted 30 mph gust predicted through the night, I thought camping in a tent was problematic.
On completing the loop, I hopped on the Internet to figure out where to head next.
If I went to Bismarck, I could get back on my planned route tomorrow. That’s what I decided to do, and grabbed a motel while I was online.The rest of the day was spent on Interstate 94.
I did find a steak house around the corner fr0m the motel and, though it was a day later than planned, had my scotch and steak. For those interested, I had Macallan 12 year old to start and a ribeye with a glass of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Yum!
On a more reflective note, it will take a little more time to relax into my new travel mode. I feel goal / distance / event driven still at this point. No doubt finding a rhythm around keeping up with work will help a lot.
On a happy note, I met a Harley rider that I remember passing about an hour west of Bismarck. Reggie is from Wisconsin and heading home after a 6,000 mile trip out west.
He remembers me passing him. He told me he wondered how I wasn’t impacted by the wind. I laughed at that, but did notice that he seemed to be blown around more than me. I think it was height of his luggage placed on his top case.
I was also happy to have varied my route from my plans. It was good to see the park, no doubt one one the best parts of North Dakota. The change lets me relax a bit around being so goal and plan oriented.
PS – I was able to reschedule my service for Tuesday, September 13th in Essex Junction, Vermont. This is less than 100 miles off my planned route and gives me a chance to visit Fairport, NY for one day off. Yay, Lynda!