Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 44

Kulm, ND --> Linton, ND
Net Elevation gain: ft. -243 ft. (1982 ft. to 1739 ft.)
Average Speed: 10.9 mph
Top Speed: 34 mph
Time spent biking: 6 hours 30 minutes
Total time for the day's travels: 13 hours
Miles biked today: 71.1
Total for trip: 2074.6 miles

We wanted to get up early this morning and do a lot of miles, but we didn't wake up until the tent got so hot from the sunshine that the heat drove us outside. After packing up, we realized that there were bathrooms in the park to use that we hadn't noticed the night before because they weren't in sight of the camping. There were no showers, but all we really wanted was a place to use the toilet.

A dirty mirror, but a happy Jenny!

Biking through the small town of Kolm, we were looking for a place to fill up our water bottles and buy a few groceries for the day. The cafe we stopped in had caramel sticky buns that we were tempted by. We split one and also got our water bottles filled up. Before we left the town we got a banana, bread and cheese at the small grocery store.

About a mile out of town the way we'd come in the night before, we turned back onto Route 13 and continued west. We spent a while estimating how many miles we thought we'd gone and when we would hit the 2000 mile mark. Without our bike computer it's been hard to know exactly how we stand with the miles, but we knew we were close to 2000. Jenny guessed that we hit it two miles into our day.

As the day continued on, the scenery started to change. We were now biking through rolling hills next to lots of small lakes. We didn't mind the hills, and actually enjoyed them. We pushed a little harder to get to the tops and then went pretty fast down the other sides.

Cows and lakes. More cows than lakes.

The riding was going well, and soon enough we pulled off of Route 13 into the little town of Lehr. We found picnic tables in front of a school-turned-assembly-plant. We were really hungry, so we got out our cooking gear and cooked up a nice meal, despite the wind that was picking up. As we were eating, a nice man came out and told us that there was a storm approaching, and he thought it might bring hail. A little while later it was lunchtime for the workers, too, and they came out to the picnic tables. They were nice and it was fun to chat with them about our trip. They offered us a place to shelter the storm, but we decided we'd check out the rest of the town, and maybe press on.

The meal about to be consumed. Om nom nom!

We found a place to use the bathroom in a cafe in the center of town, and then spied the city park with pavilions. We pulled the bike under cover and then sat down and wrote a whole day of the blog while we were waiting for the storm to pass over. It never really even rained that hard, but we were happy we'd taken the time and precaution. The peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were good, too.

We felt good when we got going again after our productive break. We knew it wasn't too far to Wishek, and we were still eager to bike a lot of miles, partly to make up for yesterday, and partly just to press on. To celebrate our 2000th mile (even though we now know it was the day before), when we arrived in the town, we bought a pint of Breyer's vanilla ice cream from the grocery, and ate up right there outside the store.

The owner of the store, a bicyclist himself, came over and talked to us for a while. Darren was really pleasant, and offered information about the roads ahead. It was also neat to learn about North Dakota a bit in general. He said the winds can come from any direction, really, but that we were coming through during a good time for biking. He said it was less stormy and less windy.

Other than the ice cream and talking to Darren, and a quick detour through the town's main streets, we didn't pause in Wishek. We just kept right on going, and although the terrain was similar to what had come before, it was different somehow, too. We saw a few crop fields this morning just leaving Kulm, but they turned to pastures, and now they were changing back to crop fields again.

A different yellow flower we'd not seen, mixed in with the vetch.

Sunflowers, sunflowers, sunflowers!

This is one of Jenny's favorite shots of the whole trip so far.

Even without a bike computer to keep us amused, encouraged, and distracted, we were really happy today. We pedaled on, eager to make it all the way to Linton. We had fun talking and singing, just spending quality time together, really. Only once in a while is it hard for us to enjoy each other and the trip as a whole.

Brett says, "By my powers of observation, I have noticed that it is no longer raining. Therefore, I do not need my raincoat."

We saw more pelicans today! It took a little while, but Jenny got a good shot of one in flight, too. There were so many this time, at least seven.

As we got closer and closter to Linton, the scenery changed even more. There were these weird little hills poking up in spots. We finally coasted down a long hill into Linton. Back in Wishek, Darren had mentioned the park just on the eastern edge of Linton. We paused by the sign for it, and discussed the possibilities. Something told us we might be able to do better in town, so we kept going a little further. Almost immediately, we saw signs for another campground.

A "poky" hill amongst the otherwise rolling terrain.

We were very excited to come down the hill and see this sign, signaling the end of our day. Of course, it wasn't quite over...

We checked this campground out, and found it was mostly a seemingly deserted RV park next to a mobile home neighborhood. It didn't have bathrooms, although the town's pool (open until 11pm!) was adjacent. Still, we kinda wanted showers, and the pool didn't have that. We also wanted some food. Thinking that we'd probably come back to the RV park for the night, we got back on the bike and pedaled further into town in search of a grocery store. By the time we found it, we had seen practically the whole town. Since everything but the bars here seems to close by 8pm, we were disappointed, but not surprised that there would no buying juice from the grocery store for us.

On our way back to the RV park, we spotted a little diner that was open! We decided to get something to eat, since we were really hungry by this point. They also had little bottles of juice! The young woman working the counter was really nice, too. After eating we felt better and decided that even though it was a mile or two back out of town, we wanted to check out the campground we had passed earlier, because a nice man at the cafe told us it had showers and was a good place to camp. Knowing we had the energy and could always come back to the RV park, we backtracked on the bike path out of town and found the park.

First of all, let us just say, we think we have pretty good instincts, and there was a reason we passed the campground by on our way into town. The campground was terrible! There were lots and lots of mosquitoes, soggy grounds to pitch a tent, disgusting bathrooms (there might have been poop on the floor in in the men's bathroom, Brett wasn't sure what it was exactly but didn't investigate closely), mud everywhere that smelled like poop, and an obnoxious cow in the pasture just next to the park that let out a loud painful-sounding MOOoooOOOOoooo, every few seconds. No one else was camped there, and needless to say, we didn't either.

When we got back to the RV park, Brett washed off the very sticky mud that was caked to the tires of the bike with the hose at the park, while Jenny set up the tent. We were both very tired when we finally got to sleep. What a crazy day.

A blurry shot of a very tired Jenny, very happy to be done with the day.


  1. Hi there. I am still enjoying following your adventures on your blog... but I miss you guys too!

  2. Nice pictures Jenny!! The flowers are beautiful!

  3. What an interesting, kind of crazy, day! Could those "pokey" hills be missle silos? I know that NORAD used to have a lot of ballistic missles underground in that part of the country. Just kidding- they would have lots of security around those. Your entire day is worth it if only for that one fabulous photo of the sunflowers and wheat. That is a keeper. File away the web site They do a beautiful job taking a digital photo like that and enlarging it. They can make it look like a painting or simply a large photo. We did this with one of our photos of Monet's garden in France and it is our most treasured keepsake from that trip. You'll have to go a long way to beat that picture. So enjoying following your adventures. Ride on......

  4. "Cows and lakes. More cows than lakes." Perhaps my favorite caption so far.


  5. You two are a great inspiration to a lot of folks. This adventure will stay with you forever and bind you 2 ever so close in life.
    I am glad you got the camera, if I had to chose 'tween that or a mileage computer, I would get the camera. That shot of the sunflower and wheat with the purple flower is a great shot, among the others I have seen as well.
    Bison? Elk? Coyotes? I am sure you would hear them serenading at night. I have an associate at work whose last name is Linton.
    Will you be going through Glacier Nat'l Park?

  6. I like the odd little flowers. They look like cat-o-nine tails with tutus.
    What a hard job it would be to chose one favorite photo from this trip's collection!
    The way those cattle are running away, you'd think they'd never seen a recumbent tandem passing by.
    Love and hugs,

  7. I like the "By my powers of observation, I have noticed that it is no longer raining. Therefore, I do not need my raincoat."

    And thanks for the photos, especially of the poky hill. It is so interesting to see what different places look like.

  8. I told my mom about "Only once in a while is it hard for us to enjoy each other and the trip as a whole." She said, "I would think it would be easy for them not to enjoy each other and the trip," meaning there are so many potential hardships and frustrations -- having to look for a camping place, water and food every day, not knowing what you will find; mosquitoes, rain, hot and humid weather, tire troubles, big uphills, traffic, etc., that is is very impressive that you can maintain positive spirits through it all.