This is part of a series of posts written during my cycle from Vancouver, BC to Minneapolis, MN in June 2013. For the most part I followed the Adventure Cycling Association’s ‘Northern Tier’ Route, but deviated where I saw fit. It was a great experience, read on to find out more…
Despite the long day yesterday I was still on the road by 8.30, ready to finally leave the state of Montana. The first 50 miles were easy – quiet wind, flat terrain, and overcast weather made for good cycling. My legs were tired from yesterday’s double, so I spun out the miles – pushing an easy gear – giving them a chance to recover.
Shortly before reaching Culbertson, where I’d planned to stop for lunch, I ran into Aaron — a young Canadian from Ontario who was cycling to see his sister in Seattle. He was heavily loaded and was riding 50 miles a day, having already been on the road a month. It was good to talk though and he was looking for any advice going, this being his first bike trip. After a half-hour chat on the side of the road we went our separate ways. The more I have these chance meetings with other cyclists, the more surreal they feel — the odds of an Englishman and a Canadian meeting on a small road in Montana, both riding bikes, must be minuscule!
I had a quick lunch in Culbertson and geared up for the push into North Dakota and Williston. Williston was about 45 miles away, but it was not to be an easy ride. The wind picked up in the afternoon, blowing directly into my face, and reducing progress to a crawl. This was compounded by a terrible, jarring, road surface and intermittent thunder storms. As if all this wasn’t enough I had 15 miles of roadworks, requiring me to ride on gravel, just after crossing the state line into North Dakota. I arrived into Williston looking a bit like a miner — battered by the wind and covered in dirt from the construction. At least the skies had cleared, so I pedaled to a campsite just outside of town.
However, the proprietor wanted me to pay the ‘R.V. price’ of $40. Ridiculous, but I was too tired to argue, so I went back into Williston and got a motel for $5 more. I hate the amount I’ve had to stay inside across the plains, but hopefully I’ll be able to get a few nights under the stars before I reach Minnesota.