Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 41

Wahpeton, ND → Milnor, ND
Net Elevation gain: 135 ft. (951 ft. to 1086 ft.)
Average Speed: 8.8 mph
Top Speed: 21 mph
Time spent biking: 5 hours
Total time for the day's travels: 9 hours
Miles biked today: about 43.8
Total for trip: about 1900.8 miles

After a good night's rest, we spent a relaxed morning at the catfish campground eating breakfast, showering, and packing up. Our neighbors gave us hot chocolate to drink with our breakfast! People are so nice!

Our plan for the day was to find the Walmart in town, buy a camera, get a new bike computer, and do some biking. The bike computer we had bought only a week or two earlier was now non-functional, still haywire. We pedaled into the Walmart parking lot just before they opened. It felt funny to be waiting around for the store to open with the dozens of others. The only stores out here that have the things we need are the big box stores, for better or worse.

But sometimes, even the big box stores don't have what you need. This Walmart had been out of bike computers for a few weeks, but no one had reordered them. We did decide on a camera to try, though, even if we choose to return it when we find a better one. We bought a Nikon that seemed to be somewhat similar to our Panasonic that died. We weren't thrilled, but at least we'd have something to take pictures with.

The first shot taken with our new camera. It's Brett!

It was slow going. The wind wasn't with us today. In fact, it was coming pretty much straight at us. We started heading west once more, this time on Route 13. “Flat and windy” says about all you need to know for a long stretch. One of the biggest (if not THE biggest) hill we saw all day was the one up and over the bigger highway, Route 29. We couldn't find any momentum against the wind, and it was pretty hot to boot. We tried to look for a good resting spot in Mooreton, but just as we sat down to do some writing and eat a nice snack, a really annoying man came walking over.

Most towns around here are on the rail lines and have something that looks like this. This one is in Mooreton.

He was smoking a cigarette, and was the kind of person who mostly talks at people rather than listens. Right away we didn't like him, but it just got worse. He was standing upwind of us with his cigarette, and his little dog was running around all over the place. He made lots of assumptions about us, and we started to just ignore him while we started to pack up. He finished his cigarette...and lit another as he told us how much money he made each year for doing nothing but renting his acres of land out to farmers. Blah, blah, blah. He did say one semi-interesting thing about the geography of the area, but we weren't really listening anymore.

It took us several miles to work out the frustration of having our nice spot snatched away by the annoying man, but finally we put him out of our mind. Jenny spotted a hay bale by the side of the road that looked particularly nice and she decided that we had to stop so that she could go climb on it. If you've never been up close to a real live hay bale (the cylindrical ones), let us tell you, they are bigger than you would think. Jenny's first attempt to climb up ended with her laughing and laying flat on her back on the ground.

How do I get up there? Hmm...

A running start...

There was a "jump" in there that the camera missed.

That didn't work.

Brett shows how it's done!

Jenny gives it another shot...

And she makes it up! Yay!

As we got a little more used to it, we started to like our new camera. It seems to take really nice photos easily, and we're learning how to use it quickly enough. We tried to take pictures of the birds of prey we saw. We see so many out here, but they are hard to get a good picture of to share. Jenny tried to get some to stay sitting while we got closer by imitating their loud, piercing calls, but it mostly just annoyed Brett and the majestic birds flew away anyway. (Brett wasn't that annoyed, really.)

Sunflowers grow all along the sides of the roads here. They are beautiful.

After a long day, we were ready to be finished when we made it to the town of Milnor. The day had been quite hot, but there were lots of clouds, too. We drank lots of water, but we were really just done. We asked at a convenience store about camping, and the clerk pointed us to a town campground by the athletic fields. We didn't see any signs about camping there, so we guess they were free. There was even electricity there!

Brett cooks up some yummy food for dinner after a long day pushing against the wind.

Rice and beans and cheese. It doesn't look like much, but it tasted so good!

At first there weren't mosquitoes bothering us, but by the time dinner was halfway cooked (a delicious goop of rice, black beans, and cheese) the little buggers were swarming. Jenny ducked into the tent to set up the sleeping arrangements. Brett got the shift with the bugs, cleaning up dinner and staking the tent's rain fly down. By the time we had everything set and went to bed, it was 10:30. Whew!

Here are some additional shots from our day. We're so happy to have a camera again!


  1. Hay, that looked like fun! You're on a roll.
    Oh, not so punny to not have a computer again. But you are back to working your magic with the camera. Though you are both great at description, the photos fill in really nicely.
    Grandma and Grandpa came here today, and I read them up to the very latest post, then there was one more! Great job.
    I wonder if the sunflowers are escapees from field grown crops.
    Gotta go make dinner, onion, squash and eggplant from the garden with quinoa. A first for me to cook at home.
    Love and hugs, Mom

  2. It's nice to take the time to have fun with hay bales!

    The landscape is so different there!

  3. jenny, your hay shot reminded me of that time we stopped at westmoreland orchard in virginia to pick fruit and you, amber and timmy (before toby was born) climbed up and walked along that long line of hay bales...remember? i'm glad you take time to play along the way. as your blog so aptly states, "play always!"

  4. And I thought Florida was flat! At least you didn't have headwinds AND hills. Just think, that annoying man had no idea he was about to be immortalized as "The Annoying Man" in your blog. He is proof that everyone is good for something, even if it only to be used as a bad example! People like that make us ever more careful to not come across like them to the people around us. You have a amazing ability to come up with excellent sounding meals on your little stove. You'll have to have that bronzed when you are done. For better photos of birds of prey, try having brett wear a nice, big raw steak on his head as you ride. You never know.....Ride on....

  5. I loved the hay bale sequence!
    How did you get the photo on the previous post of you both biking off into the distance?
    love, papa

  6. I read this: "a really annoying man came walking over," and I thought, "but, Jenny, I wasn't even IN North Dakota!"

    I appreciated your use of the word annoying today. I also liked how the bird calls just annoyed Brett, but he wasn't that annoyed really. Possibly my favorite moment from this entry. Possibly from the whole blog.

  7. Aw, such good memories.... I've been off in the woods backpacking, so I've just now gotten to catch up on the posts. I'm so glad I got to see you guys while you were in Minnesota!!
    You're such an inspiration. I thought about you guys while I was out camping and hiking on the A.T. for 5 days. It's kinda crazy how the most important things are food, were are we going to sleep tonight and drinking water! Naomi and I come up with this great habit where we would come to a stream of water, pump the filtered water into our water bottles and then we both had to chug a bottle each and then refill it right then and there to stay hydrated, before we kept on hiking. It was a good challenge for us. =)

    Ralph - I took that photo of the two of them biking away while I was in Minnesota with them! :)

    Jim - you're too funny!

    Lots of love,

  8. wow I never would have guessed that those hale bales were so huge! I did a puzzle once that was a picture of hay was pretty rough...and boring. Not sure why I chose that one ;) made hay bales exciting again!