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Cycling Around North Dakota In Sakakawea County

By Courtney Johnson

First Class Llama Lover

As a notice, "THE TRIP" section of this story had to be redone a few days later due to a computer glitch.  I have no idea what happened but I hope it's as close as it was originally.  ENJOY!


    On the road again, on the road again!  Right now we're headed to North Dakota!  Land of the buffalo, sunflower fields, and CANDISC!  At the moment everyone is entertaining themselves.  Julie is reading cycling magazines, Natalie is watching the Harry Potter movies, Dad's driving (of course) and slurping down coffee, and I'm listening to my iPod and dreaming of the adventures that lay ahead.

   Somewhere along the road, we were trying to figure out how the Oscar Mayer bologna tune went, the one my mom knows by heart, for some reason!  Luv you mommy!

   It was around 9pm when we finally ate at Subway for dinner.  I have a feeling we may just be living off of chicken sandwiches for the next week, not that it's a bad thing. :)

    After navigating through flooded roads in Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa, listening to the radio and falling asleep (that's me folks!) we reached the Motel 6 in Sioux City, Iowa, or as we like to say Sigh-Ox City or Susan City.

    We got our room in the NON-SMOKING section and what did the hallway and room smell like? Well, SMOKE!  What is up with modern motels these days?  The cleaning maids tried to cover it up some but to no avail.  The room kind of smelled like an old time nasty perfume shop (what would be the really cheap, not so nice smelling stuff from Wal-Mart) and smoke.  I know it's a weird way of describing it but it's the best I can do.

   While I got out our stuff for the night, I found wrapped in my pajamas, a Sock-Monkey style Snoopy with a shirt that said "Your Mom" on it.  For some odd reason, this has been my favorite saying for awhile now...

    In the morning Natalie and I went to get some ice.  Following the signs reading "Vending", we navigated the non-smoking hallways, then the smoking hallways, and after turning around 3 or more corners, we finally got to the office desk.  In front of us was the magical ice machine.  Yes it was very magical, in case you were wondering.  You had to press a button to get the ice and then pull down on the cover to make it dispense.  That is magic, right there.  We loaded up and put the ice in the cooler in the van and then repeated this once again.  Funny how the smoking section hallways did not smell like smoke.

    We drove to a McDonalds on the highway and got some oatmeal, egg and cheese biscuits, coffee, water, and a sausage burrito.  Driving down the road, we noticed how flooded this part of Iowa really was.  There were streets engulfed in water, signs and stop lights up to their knees (if they have any) in water and a neighborhood with fairly new looking homes had a ton of sand and sandbags around their perimeters.  

    Pretty soon it started to rain, sprinkle more like, thus cleaning off all of the bug guts on our windshield.  

As you can see here, the road is flooded right next to the highway.




The park is totally engulfed in this area.


The drive was really long!

A flooding lake.

    Just before we got to Bismarck, the road we were on was down to one lane on our side due to the high water.  Sand bags and some sort of water barrier filled the cracks lining the road holding back the water.  The exit to the rest area was even under water.


The road is definitely being taken over by water.

The inaccessible rest area.


   We ate dinner in Bismarck at Fiesta Villa.  The ceiling was painted to look like the sky and in one corner had some cracks.  THE SKY IS FALLING!  Just kidding, or am I?

   When Dad and I de-junked our braces (I know it sounds nasty but its true) he found a chicken bone from his burrito.  Really classy place, with the sky falling down around you and bones in your burritos.  Actually it wasn't that bad but the little girl's room was tucked behind the counter with the menus and in a ladies cloak room.  I thought it was for the employees. 

   We got to Garrison around 8:45pm and then off to the state park to get our registration packets.  After rifling through them, we got our room at the Garrison Motel.  Finally, we got a non-smoking room here, whereas in years past, no such luck.

Here I am working on my story.

Natalie at the table.

Julie posing for the camera.


Dad and Natalie.

The chicken BONE!




Day 1

Ft. Stevenson State Park to McClusky

65.2 miles, 13.6 average, 4:51, 31.6 mph max

    Today we got up to a slightly chilly 55 degree morning.  We got ready and then headed over to the park to drop off our things and get the bike put together.  After assembling the bike, we were on the road back to Garrison.  We ate breakfast at Kyle's Katering.  I couldn't believe it was $6 for a plate of food.  Although there was a lot, we thought it was cheaper and ended up throwing out about one plate of food.

    We rode back to the motel to get Dad's charging phone and then we were on our way.  We rode on to the first SAG stop to take off wind jackets (for me) and arm warmers for everyone but Natalie.   There they had dumped out some ice that had formed into a block.  We of course got pictures.

    We stopped again at the church of Saint Olaf, the same church we visited in 2009.  I ended up eating a very delicious brownie there.

Here I am as a kick stand.


Just after breakfast.


Ice, ice, baby!

The ALL NEW Ice Seat!  It instantly cools you!


    We rode onward finding fences half submerged in over flow water.  There were also lots ducks.  We were dive-bombed by a couple of large birds defending their nest.  This was only a guess but those things were hopping mad!

    When we got to Turtle Lake, we saw a huge metal turtle sitting by a flag pole.  We went down a rather large hill and right back up the other side.  We stopped again at a 4-H group's SAG and refilled our water bottles.  When we rode into town, we got our motel room and went to find a place to eat.  We ended up eating at Ms. J's Drive In.  Dad got a monster coke and we all got chicken sandwiches.  After eating, we went to get our things but found Julie's bag missing.  We looked around for it and finally Dick the almighty, the CANDISC founder, found it on the other end of the park.

    We loaded up our backpacks and went back to the motel.  When we walked inside, the room smelled like a litter box that belonged to a cat, a really nasty one that hasn't been cleaned in months.  YUCK!  We opened up the screen door, turned on the A/C and ceiling fan to hopefully get rid of the smell.

Natalie atop the giant turtle.


Natalie's turtle face?


Just after we stopped at the 4-H SAG.

    We decided to see if the cafe in town was open but to no avail.  We decided on Ms. J's once again.  This time we had salads, consisting of lettuce, cheese, and ranch; grilled cheese, and onion rings.  We also had ice cream afterwards.  Because our litter box motel has no ice (why I don't know) we got some from Ms. J's.

    Due to the fact that tomorrow is only 35 miles and predicted tailwinds (yay!) we decided to wash clothes tomorrow since they might have time to dry.

    Getting the bike in the room proved to be quite a challenge, not being able to just roll it in.  We moved the desk to the opposite wall, moved one of the beds over, and moved a couple of chairs around.  With me guiding the front of the bike (I'm so important) and Dad lifting the back end of the bike over the bed, we accomplished the unthinkable.  You're so proud, right?

    The telephone rang shortly after that and it was the office calling to have us pay.  Dad went up and then came back and announced we were moving to a room that didn't smell!  We grabbed all of our stuff and then hauled it over to the other room.  We got organized (somewhat) and then hit the pillow to go to sleep.  Actually, the pillows were like Mt. Everest, really big and fluffy.

    Tomorrow we start the next chapter of our journey!

The motel sign.


Dad holding BoB and standing in front of our bike, inside the motel.


A perfect North Dakota sunset.


Day 2

McClusky to Wing

36.5 miles, 14.7 average, 2:26, 37.1 mph max

    Today we got up at 7:15am with Dad telling us the luggage truck was leaving in 45 minutes.  We got ready and then proceeded to lift the bike over one of the beds, move furniture and get everything in order.

    We dropped off our things and then went to a church that was serving breakfast.  I got a bracelet for free!  They had French toast, hard boiled eggs, fruit, cheese sticks, coffee, hot chocolate, milk, tea, and I forgot what else.

    As we got going, there was some cocky, rather pudgy dude following us, riding no hands, and unclipping his feet from the pedals a few times.  We passed him on the way out and probably hurt his ego a little bit. 

    We rock and rolled for the first 10 miles, easily taking the tailwind for granted.  When we had to turn south to take the road to Wing, it was a different story.  


Natalie sucking down her hot chocolate in the morning.


Julie stuffing something in her pocket.


Hay bales and sunflowers make perfect pictures.


Natalie after a very long climb.


More sunflowers.



    The wind whipped at us from the side and only got stronger as we went.  There was a huge field of bloomed sunflowers smiling down on us as we climbed upward.  Even on the down hills, you would have to pedal or be slowed to the point of stopping by the wind.

    We continued down the road, and eventually stopped at a SAG.  We had ridden around 22 miles at this point and lemonade sounded pretty good.  It looked as though they were using the last of it on another customer so we decided not to get any.  Soon we saw a sign that said Wing 5 miles.  Immediately Julie and I started to chant, "5...5...5 miles to Wing."  This was based off of the Subway commercials with the $5 foot longs.

    Arriving in town, we were greeted by a lady dressed in a cow outfit.  I'm now very jealous.  

    We were helped in finding our bags at the luggage truck by some volunteers and then headed over to the motel we were staying in.  It was a converted church and the lady who owns it had done a lot of work.  It looks really nice.  

    We showered and then walked into town to see what was going on.  We walked into a bar called Red's Lucky Spur and got Squirt sodas, chicken Alfredo pizza, and played pool.  There was a stuffed jackalope and 2 two headed cow heads on the wall that were stuffed, both from the same ranch in 2008.  That farm has some serious problems.

    After getting my butt kicked by Natalie playing pool, who in my defense used her ninja skills against my regular skills, the first game, I called for a rematch.    I had 5 balls left on the table and all Natalie had left was the 8 ball.  She scratched and I won, but I let her continue to play in exchange for 2 turns in a row.  Then she scratched again but we played on.  Technically I won.  We played again and I was down a lot of balls but I got one in...and then another...and then another...and then the 8 ball.  VICTORY IS MINE! Ha ha ha!  The third game, I knocked the 8 ball in after I got about 2 or 3 balls of Natalie's in the pockets.  Sigh...I need to work on my pool ninja skills.  Natalie and I played again but she won somehow...

The cow greeting us.


My epic fail pool game.


Natalie with a coin on her nose...?


Two headed cow.

Dos two headed cows.

Black two headed cow.


We walked back over to the school and got a vanilla malt and not chocolate.  They ran out of chocolate.  NOT FAIR!  While slurping down the malts, we went into the computer room to email friends and family back home, in 100 degree heat with high humidity.  Suckers!

    We went back to the Congregational Inn to change our laundry from the washer to the dryer.  We read what people had put in the guest book and then we were hungry again.  We got pizza and this time ate outside.  When we got back, we watched the movie Canadian Bacon with Alan Alda from M*A*S*H as the president.  It wasn't all that good but I was so tired I didn't watch all of it.  

    Dad also lost his camera connector cord to down load the pictures in McClusky.  It was probably lost in the move from one room to another or missed while we rushed packing with only 45 minutes to get to the truck..

Us with a jackalope.


Can I get a little help here?  The thing is starting to creep me out!




Julie's having way too much fun with this.


Hamster fight!


The fabulous port-a-potties.




The motel.





I always knew Julie was a demon...


Day 3

Wing to Napoleon

73.0 miles, 18.0 average, 4:02, 35.3 mph max

This morning we got up and went over to the school to see what there was for breakfast.  As it turns out, they sold out of food, forcing us to eat at the cafe down the street.  I had toast and eggs, the breakfast of champions.

    Once on the road, we knew we would have a tailwind all day.  When we reached the spot on the map that was supposed to be 7 miles of gravel, it was less than 0.4 miles.  After looking at the packet again, we realized that it was 7 miles into the ride, not 7 miles of gravel.

    We blew by Tuttle, the town we were originally going to stay in before they changed their minds due to lack of volunteers, I guess.  We stopped at a Cennex gas station about 35 miles in to refuel.  Natalie got a chocolate pie of some sort while I chose traditional pumpkin.  We also saw a stuffed goose for $22.99 and I thought we should get it to put on our pack like the geese on top of the port-a-potties.  After we ate, someone came up to us and gave Natalie and I bracelets made out of bicycle chains.  They're really neat.

    After we were on the road again, we got on the interstate.  We thought some roads may have been flooded and causing a problem. Some people were stopped on the shoulder, blocking on coming quads.  They kind of acted like we were the bad guys.  We were on I-94 for 8 miles with small sunflowers lining the road.  When we reached Dawson, we saw an army tank and a HUGE polar bear holding a Keystone Light beer and a fishing pole.  Needless to say, this was the coolest thing I've seen so far.

    Then we saw a chicken.   A HUGE CHICKEN!  Really we did.  I have pictures to prove it.



Julie and I at the cafe.


Dad and Natalie.


Syrup in a Ketchup bottle.  YUCK!


Sunflower fields are huge!


Getting going.


The highway was lined with sunflowers.


Natalie while on the interstate.

The amazing polar bear. 

    We stopped at a SAG 11 or so miles before the end.  We also got our picture taken in front of a huge field of sunflowers.  We got up a couple of rather large long hills and then it was all down hill into town.  Some guy tried to get on our wheel, but we started to drop him.  As soon as he let off a little, we attacked...and at about 30 mph dropped the chain connecting my crank arm with Natalie's.  We slowed down and stopped, fixed the chain and were on our way.  After looking at the mileage again, we saw it was 66.66.  Is this an omen?  We got going again and caught up to some chick who had a pink bike with pink handlebar tape and a pink helmet.  She was the first one to compliment our toilet paper on our pack since we stared putting it on at last year's 465 mile CANDISC.  So it took people 640 miles of riding on CANDISC for someone to realize just how awesome the power of the toilet paper can be.

    Right as we got to town, there was a cemetery with a sign someone had made for CANDISC riders reading "Are you dead tired yet?  Keep going!"  Very interesting...  There were also grain elevators that were severely damaged by wind.  We stayed at the Mozy Inn and found it to be really nice.  I would easily recommend it to anyone stopping in Napoleon.  We got our bags, showered, and went to go find some place to eat after I was working on my story.  Only one small problem, the program glitched, losing "the trip" section of my story.

Us and a sunflower field.


Natalie at a random moment.


Smashed grain elevators.

A close up view.

    We ended up eating pizza again at the Downtown Bar and Grille.  After getting a couple of free postcards, we went back over to the bar to eat.  Eventually, Dad and I went looking for a computer cord that would download pictures from the camera but had no such luck.  The drug store had blank counter checks you signed and filled in an account number, like they had years ago when people could be trusted to pay their bills.

    There were some ladies who had come over to the bar, ordered drinks and then asked the waiter to warm up a pizza they had bought at the grocery store across the street.  I didn't understand why the guy even did what they asked.  They seemed to be the kind of people that were control freaks.    

    After eating popcorn and green olives, Natalie and I went over to the White Maid Drive Thru to order ice cream.  We ended up with huge bowls without even counting on it.  When you stepped in, you seemed to be in the 1950's or something.  It was really cool.

    We walked over to the grocery store and looked around for some snacks for later.  The high-schooler chick working there really didn't want to have much to do with us.  Natalie and Julie also hung peppers from their ears.  I don't know who they are, why they followed me, and why I know them...

    We played around some at the playground next to the swimming pool before we stuck our toes in.  The water was surprisingly warm on this 73 degree day.  There was a diving board but it had almost no spring to it and there was also a slide.  After showering again, we put the bike inside and hit the pillow after a long day.

Natalie with Julie's glasses.


Natalie cracking up.


Dad and I.


Natalie and her jumbo ice cream.


My ice cream.


Natalie and Julie with the peppers.


Natalie with pepper earrings.


Natalie on the end of the slide.

Me in the pool.


Day 4

Napoleon to Strasburg

60.9 miles, 14.3 average, 4:22, 34.2 mph max

   In the words of Ty Pennington, "GOOD MORNING JOHNSON FAMILY!  MARK, JULIE, COURTNEY AND NATALIE!  THE TRUCK IS LEAVING IN AN HOUR!  GET UP!"  Close enough.  We ate the "German" breakfast at the school consisting of eggs, toast, sausage that looked pretty Polish, juice, milk and coffee.  Some how, that doesn't exactly scream "GERMAN!" to me at all.

    We were on the road and before long realized we would have crosswinds and headwinds all day long.  We were to go south, way south, then west, then northwest.  There were sunflower fields, upon sunflower fields today and the scenery and views were exquisite.  We rode up a hill and flew down the other side, only to come to a stop due to road work.  We climbed quite a few steep and big hills, making today the hilliest we've had.

    We stopped at a SAG and got granola bars before going down the road once again.  We saw a lot of random farm equipment that looked like dragons sitting in the fields.  Yes, dragons, unicorns, etc. are real.  Shun the non-believers, SHUN!





A metal horse we saw.


The metal farmer dude is waving.


Road construction.

More road construction.

    When we were making our turn to go south after a small jog west, we did the Allstate recalculating commercial followed by "Whoa, Whoa, WHOOOOA!"  You know, like when people are backing in an RV or something and just before you hear a big CRUNCH you also hear, "Whoa, Whoa, WHOOOOA!"

    There was a small yellow plane dusting the sunflower fields just before we got off to take a break after 15 or more miles.  It flew right over us and we were like, "ARE THEY COMING FOR  US?!"  No, in fact, they were not.  We thought there was supposed to be a town after about 4 more miles.  Instead we found a SAG.  Not knowing where the next town would be, we turned around and got PB&J sandwiches.  After everyone started munching, they told us it was $2 for a Skippy peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with hardly any peanut butter on it at all.  It was put on by the Lions club and I was pretty disappointed.  Usually they have some really good stuff.  Apparently there were also cookies at one point but they were all gone.  They were probably really cheap or free.

    When we were leaving, some guy asked Julie, Natalie and I if we were all sisters.  Answering him that Julie was my mom made it easier for his nimble mind to comprehend rather than explain she's a family friend, etc.  Then he asked us if we were related.  We looked at him like, "didn't we already establish that?"

A lake with sunflowers.


A plane dusting the crop.


Sunflowers and a lake.


Natalie, Julie and I by the bike.

The road ahead.

    We were told by a CANDISC volunteer that there was a town 13 miles down the road.  As it turns out, it was only 7 miles or less.  Go figure.  We went into the grocery store to get something to eat and the same ladies from yesterday were harassing the place.  The woman manning the cash register was cutting meat for them and they also had a bunch of food and other things up on the counter.  I think they were even warming stuff up in the microwave behind the counter too without asking.  We had downed two sodas (Dad and Julie split a Coke and Natalie and I a Squirt), eaten through a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and were about ready to start on some chocolate puddings when Dad said to hand him the wrappers so we could go outside to enjoy them while he waited to pay.

    When we got to the tailwind stretch, we had some help, but with the way the road angled, we were still fighting wind.  We rode down to the gas station and met Iva who owns the Ampride and found us the hunting lodge where we would be staying at for the night.  She took us through the residential streets, not far from the gas station and finally we arrived at a paint faded house.  Inside was really nice.  There was an upstairs but we didn't use it as we had enough beds downstairs.  We learned that the house is called Walleye's Pheasant Inn from the sign out front.

    We went to the school to get our luggage and as we were leaving, a news reporter from the local newspaper took our picture and got our names.  Since the weather forecast from last night had a 40% chance of rain during the night and a 30% during the day, we grabbed the panniers so we would have all of our rain gear with us.  When we got back, we showered and then went to the Time Out Tavern and what did we have again?  Chicken Alfredo pizza of course!  We played pool and the first game Natalie knocked the 8 ball in.  The second game I lost, big time to Dad.  Then I played Julie and I won, due to her scratching on the 8 ball.  Natalie played Dad and won and then I played her twice.  I lost one and she won one.

    We walked over to the swimming pool to look at the hours they would be open and then walked all they way over to the gas station for ice cream.  We got pizzas again to warm up in the oven at Walleye's Pheasant Inn.  We went to the pool and swam for awhile and then I fell.  Yup, there was some type of caulking glue or something on the ground and I slipped banging my knee.

    There was an army tank outside in the park and we got pictures with it.

    We came back and baked our pizza, toasting one side of the pizza a little too much.  Dad started singing, "Burn burn burn, smell the pizza on fire."  After the Johnny Cash song.

    We've been swatting at flies in the house for awhile and Julie caught one in the cabinet only to realized they're all connected together without walls inside.  Sigh.  Flies are so evil.

    We found a package of Glucose honey biscuits exported in 11/14/75.  I'm now very afraid of anything food wise in this house.  :)

Playing pool.


Julie's going to win!


She's in for the kill.


Random picture of Natalie.


Julie cooking pizza. Yummy!

Day 5

Strasburg to Bismarck

82.3 miles, 16.7 average, 5:09, 47.6 mph max (Century Option Available)

    Today we went to Bismarck, with a tailwind!  We dropped our junk off at the truck and then went over to the Ampride to get breakfast.  As we were leaving, we saw two SAG wagon trailers loaded up with bikes.  It was kind of funny to see how many people were leapfrogging ahead.  At the Ampride, when we were paying for our things, Iva rang us up as $3,397 or something like that.  She went back and changed it so ended up paying $25 for our quick shop breakfast.  

    When we reached the highway we noticed that we would be going through on and off gravel for the next 9 miles.  Wonderful.  Actually, it wasn't so bad but a couple of trucks passed at the wrong time.  We rode through Linton and after getting outside of town, saw quite a few rectangle hay bales.  Some were stacked up really high, around 7 high by probably 20 wide.  We stopped to take a picture by an old wooden rail car that was sitting in a nearby field.  Stopping again at the next SAG, we got cookies, a sandwich and grapes.  We turned after we got going and had a wonderful south tailwind.  The scenery was beautiful and took the cake as far as that goes.  There was one killer, wall hill and after that we bombed down the other side.  At some point, Dad thought he might have gotten stung by something but we continued the next few miles to the rest stop.  There they had over priced food and drinks.  Dad was also starting to get a bad allergic reaction to the sting and we ended up staying at that SAG for probably and hour.  After having help from Dick's wife, who is a medical professional, we were on our way.

    The next few miles seemed to stretch on forever and we got off at the next stop.  The following stop was the buffalo stop. They had burgers and brats with chips and a drink.  The burgers were cooked to perfection but the sky was looking ominous.  While there we were approached by a newspaper reporter from the Bismarck Tribune who took some pictures with a really big camera..


Rolling hills of sunflowers.


A street sign in flooded water.


There were 4 loads like this of people SAGing in.


Us with an old wooden train car and sunflower fields.


The monstrous hill we had to climb.


Another shot of the hill.

On the way down with Dad taking pictures.


Looking at the hill from the flat lands after going down.


Two really big stair steps to climb.

At the top of the Godzilla hill.


Right before the really big drop into Bismarck.


Above the weird circular building, is a weird circular cloud.  Is this a sign?


A picture from the Bismarck Tribune photographer.


This picture, taken by the Bismarck Tribune photographer, appeared on the front page of the paper.


    When we rode down into Bismarck, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped.  I was sure we were going to get rained on after we stopped at a computer store for a downloading cord for Dad's camera.  

    We made it through town, yelled at by some people to be on the sidewalk, followed the arrows and up some grunting hills, finally making it to the Horizon Middle School way up on a ridge by a water tower.  The building was HUGE!  Bigger than my school, and probably bigger than most high schools.  We found out that we weren't at the high school we were scheduled to stay at, making us go 3 miles to our motel.  At least it was downhill.

    We checked in and then Natalie and I got in the pool after she coaxed me into it.  It took me awhile to get in and my suspicions of it being cold were more than confirmed.  I swam for a little while but got cold pretty fast, so I got out, much against Natalie's wishes.  How she can be cold on a bike and not in a freezing cold pool, I don't understand.

    We walked across the street to Paradiso, the epic fail Mexican restaurant we've eaten at almost every year.  The crosswalk sign was really weird and you had about two seconds before it started to count down when the light would change.  The thing was really annoying particularly since the road was 8 or more lanes wide.  There was a stop in the median but besides that, I think that Bismarck really doesn't care about pedestrians, in that part of the city anyway.

    When we walked in, there was a 10 to 15 minute wait, even though it was a Thursday.  Apparently some large parties were camped out no longer spending money.  Eventually we were seated after chewing on some chips from the chip bar with REALLY spicy beans.  We sat there for another 10 or so minutes before being served by a really fat, lazy dude.  He had that, "Well, if I must..." attitude.  Dad and I split a fajita but it was not so fajita-ish.  It was more like a piece of grilled chicken with onions and peppers.  I don't even know what the stuff was that was supposed to be sour cream.

    When we got back to the motel, Julie and I were on a mission to kill that fly in the room.  It was a slower one and after it landed on the wall, I took a motel cup, smashed the fly with it, found it on the floor, hit it again and finally drug my foot across the floor where it was, just for good measure.  Everyone was pretty tired after that and we all crashed at about 10pm.

Dad and I at the really bad Mexican restaurant.

Natalie inhaling chips.


Day 6

Bismarck to Washburn

42.4 miles, 14.4 average, 2:48, 38.3 mph max

    This morning we got up to a slightly damp parking lot.  The sky looked clear and we loaded up our stuff, knowing if we stopped at Mickey D's for breakfast, we would probably miss the truck.  After riding the 3 miles all up hill to the middle school, we were on our way, into a headwind.  We flew down a couple of hills before pulling up to a stop at a section of road with road construction.  We snacked on some fruit bars and crackers, having no breakfast until well after being allowed to pass through.  The would be shoulder of the road had a horrendous narrow slope that the construction crew wanted us to ride on.  Apparently they weren't all that happy that we were passing though.  The volunteers hyped it a little too much and truly it wasn't that bad.

    We stopped at a SAG a little ways down the road and got "breakfast".  PB&J sandwiches and a couple of chocolate muffins were what we ate there.  A cheerleading group was trying to get to Florida by getting donations.  They did a couple of cheers and danced to the "Cupid Shuffle" before we continued on.  We stopped at the following rest stop and had some yogurt and cheese before finishing the ride.  From there it was only 16 miles but a long 16 miles into the wind at that.  

    Shortly after we got going, some guy latched onto our wheel and as a group of 4 racer type riders went by, we latched onto them.  We dropped off for a minute before picking up the pace and using our ninja skills to get back on.  Pretty soon, the guy on our wheel couldn't handle the heat and dropped off.  We lost the group as we got hit with a really strong crosswind and a rise in the road.  The sky was looking really dark and once we turned on the highway towards Washburn, we saw lightning strike in a couple of places.  It started to sprinkle and then got heavier so we stopped and Natalie and I put on rain jackets.  It lightened up a little so Julie and Dad decided not to use theirs but I was told to keep mine on.  As I knew I would, I got really hot and had to undo the Velcro in the front.  We pulled up to a lounge, casino, bar and grill all in one and found our bags as the rain came down harder and harder.  We took shelter in the luggage truck and when the rain lightened up, went over to the our motel across the street.  

    The Scot Wood motel was no smoking but still smelled like it from the past.  We took our showers and the power flickered a couple of times.  I did laundry consisting of our stars and stripes kit and the woman at the front offered to dry them.  We left them to her and then went to the restaurant next door.  I got a BLT and snacked on some of Natalie's pancakes.  We found the Bismarck Tribune and saw our picture on the front page that others had been telling us about.  When we got back to the motel, we tried to look it up on the internet but could not find it.

    After taking a nap, we walked across two frontage roads and 4 lanes of highway to reach tent city, which was behind a bar.  Now let me make this clear: it said bar and GRILL.  To me the word grill means anyone can enter.  We went in and the lady said that we weren't supposed to be there but said because we were bike riders, we could stay.  Then another lady kept asking us if we wanted an order to-go.  Yet another person came over and told us we couldn't stay  because they weren't letting minors in.  Wow people, make up your minds!

    We left and found out what kind of burgers and brats they were serving outside and as we suspected, they were both beef, a meat we don't eat.  We went across the highway again and ate at the Dakota Farms family restaurant next door to our motel again.  This time I had breakfast consisting of two eggs, toast, and of course, hash browns.  Man the meal was good!  It took a little while to arrive  but it was worth the wait.  After eating we got ice cream sundaes with chocolate drizzle.  Am I making you jealous yet?

    We went back over to the motel and hit the pillow.  Tomorrow's the last day!

Road construction and some people behind us making fun of our toilet paper on the pack.


More road construction.




Natalie and Julie at Dakota Farms, Family Restaurant. 

They really like ice cream for some reason...


Day 7

Washburn to Garrison

44.4 miles, 18.0 average, 2:28, 32.4 mph max

    We woke up this morning to fog and a lot of it.  You could hardly see anything down the road and I guess that's what stopped the riders from going out so early.  We rode across the highway, found out it was the wrong crossing since we couldn't see, turned around, rode across in a different place and then found the correct way across.  We dropped off our stuff before going over to the gas station for breakfast.  We ate quickie shop food because the restaurant next door was packed.  Natalie and I split a hot chocolate and I had fig Newtons and an oatmeal breakfast cookie.  The cookie was not all that great and I thought it was impossible to mess up a cookie.  I have now been proved wrong.

    When we got going, the fog had lightened up and so the day started.  We were flying along at around 20 miles an hour for awhile and we saw a huge steam shovel thing mining for coal or some other natural resource.  We named him Brutus.  We turned onto the highway and skipped the gas station there.  We rode down the road wondering when the next SAG would be.  After awhile we just got off.  We rode over the lake with many thumbs ups and waving from fisherman in the water.  More motorists than usual tooted their horns in appreciation too making us believe they had seen our picture in the newspaper.  I also saw some fish jumping out of the water.

    A ways down the road there was a SAG having only a bathroom and water.  So far today hasn't been that great SAG wise.  At the top of the next hill, some racer guys from the other day passed us and we caught on.  Our speed increased to around 25 miles an hour and we were rocking and rolling.  When we turned on the road leading to Garrison (around 6 miles or so), the guy with the Radio Shack jersey was pulling but then sprinted off the front.  Lucky for the guys we were behind.  We waited patiently with dad telling us to wait for a downhill.  When the time was right we took off with the two remaining guys drafting behind us.  The one directly on our wheel had that look on his face when he knew we were going to blow by his friend.  When someone does that kind of attack when in a group, there are no rules anymore.  We were going very fast and powered on by but he somehow caught on.  After pulling them up the next hill, we let them take over again so we could rest.  When the Radio Shack guy got on the front again, you could tell he was still fresh and almost dropped the guy in front of us when he was taking a drink.  Everyone caught back on and in case you haven't noticed, powering up a hill at 25 miles an hour on a quad is pretty good.  After reaching the top, the city limit sign for Garrison came into view.  "Ready?" Dad asked over the intercom.  "Yup" was everyone's reply.  We dropped back some, dad said "go" and we sprinted past them and reached 30 miles an hour.  The Radio Shack dude tried to follow but knew it was too far and too late.  We hit the city limit sign with our arms in the air and got a huge cheer from some people in welcoming golf carts.  The Radio Shack guy was way ahead of his friends and he also put his hands in the air in victory, for some reason.  Just to throw this out here, Dad still had his hands on the handle bar because steering a 65 pound bike with accessories and people on it isn't an easy task.

    We rode into Garrison and got our picture by Wally the walleye fish at the CANDISC  finish line.  For a change, we were one of the first in.  There were some old cars and we went to look at them.  Dad told us about the Edsels and Fords that had a retractable hardtop that went in to the trunk.  The owner was demonstrating how it worked to someone while we were there.  The cars were in perfect condition and there was a double-decker bus called the Queen Elizabus.  We got pictures and then went to eat our feast.  We voted for our favorite SAGs, favorite town to stay in and favorite meal. 

    We rode 3 miles back to Fort Stevenson and packed up the van.  When we went to take our showers, some one was taking a 45 minute shower or something like that.  It took FOREVER!  Finally we were showered and on the road again.  To kill time again, I listened to my favorite band, My Chemical Romance and watched Hawaii 5-0 episodes on my iPod.  After awhile we passed through Fargo without me knowing it and I asked if we were staying there even though it was miles behind.  I was just too absorbed in my TV shows to know where we were.  We ate dinner in Watertown at a Mexican restaurant called Guadalajara.  It was very good, although our waiter was a little lazy.  We tipped him anyway.

    We stayed in the smoke ridden Motel 6 in Sioux City, Iowa again but this time our room didn't smell like smoke, although the hallway did.  Natalie and I went to sleep while Dad and Julie munched on chips and watched some random movie on TV.


The super foggy morning.


Here you can make out the outline of a rider.


The sun's shining through the trees and fog.


Having our wonderful quick shop breakfast.


CANDISC finish line!


That fish is Wally the walleye.  He is epic with awesome powers.


The feast!


On the left is an 58 Edsel and on the right is a 59 Ford.

Queen Elizabus.

The Queen Elizabus with her royal subjects, the Johnson's.


The Drive Back

    This morning we woke up at 9:39am which is about 3 hours later compared to our earlier times in the week.  When we hit the road I estimated we had about a 4 hour drive home and when the GPS came on, my suspicions were confirmed.  There was only one problem though the GPS did not take into account stops, eating or taking two lane highways which we did since I-29 was flooded and closed.  We found a McDonalds to stop at down the road only to find they stopped serving breakfast at 10:30am.  We went next door to Subway and had chicken and tuna sandwiches.  Dad and I not liking any kind of fish, chose the chicken.

    Driving down the road we saw buffalo behind a fence.  Live and living well was the buffalo.  We also saw a 1960 cop car made by Chevrolet that was in really good condition.  There was also a Dodge 440 from the 70's driving down the road.  Dad explained that it was more of a muscle type car rather than sporty.

    After figuring out what we needed to do to get around the flooded roads, we stopped at a rest area to get an Iowa map.  The entire rest area had sand bags surrounding it.  When we got off the interstate, we drove down a highway that we figured was the old highway.  When we got into Omaha, we saw a neat sign and a bridge with "modern art" which to me looked like a bunch of random scrap metal thrown up and stuck together by Gorilla Glue.  After making a wrong turn, we got back on track and continued the drive.

    Around 25 minutes before we got home, Dad decided to fill up the gas tank.  We walked in, dodging cars and other hazards.  When we came back out we were behind an old lady who was moving slower than a snail in January that had been sleeping for the past year and was trying to get moving again.  Are you following me here?  Then there was some lady in a mini van that wanted to mow us over.  We made it across the street with many dirty looks from her.  

    When we got going again, Dad told me that I had soccer practice tonight and Natalie had school in the morning.  Great lead time, Dad.  Driving by the Missouri river, I could see that it was down from when we drove by one week ago.


Natalie as seen in the backseat. 


Guadalajara Mexican restaurant.


Random mariachi dude.


More mariachi people.


The road was lined with sandbags when we left the rest stop.


The extremely high water.


More sandbags.


"Modern art" as seen on a bridge we were passing under.

Welcome to Omaha sign.

    Another trip comes to a close and we couldn't be happier.  See 'yall next year!



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