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Courtney Johnson

Before I begin the wonderful and epic tale of my experiences in North Dakota this year, I would just like to point out a couple of things.  Every writer has a different style and depending upon the type of writing itself, words can be interpreted many different ways.  This is not a fictional novel nor is it a sonnet of beautifully written poetry.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is a journal of what I saw, what I discovered, and how I felt.  This is about the people I have met, the things I have experienced, and a count of how many bar pizzas we can eat in North Dakota (they're actually pretty good, let me tell you).  My point in saying all of this is: you may not like or appreciate my writing style, and that's totally ok; everyone has their own opinions.  My writing style has changed considerably over the years from the first grader writing "I saw cows" to the sassy sixteen year old that can tell you she is absolutely, without a doubt, perfect. :)  However, I would ask that if you're leaving me some feedback (I love feedback!) to please recognize the amount of work I have put into this for your enjoyment, and my own, without acting as if I am a stuck up teenager who thinks too highly of herself.  My writing is meant to be sassy, sarcastic, witty, fun, and most importantly, enjoyable to read.  Sure I think I'm always right, that's what teenagers are notorious for.  Have an argument with me, just ask my parents.  I would like to finish out my introduction in saying that this is one of the best CANDISC tours we have been on and I am a princess.  I have a crown and a luggage tag to prove it.

Friday and Saturday August 1&2

Kansas City to Sioux City, IA to Garrison, ND

    Lately we have had an issue with getting going late I guess you could say... like seriously.  We left kinda late again destined for Sioux City, Iowa which is at least a five hour drive.  Most of us had already had dinner but that was much earlier and when our usual on-the-road-to-CANDISC Mexican restaurant was right up the road, we had to stop in for some enchiladas and burritos.  Julie ate a burrito that was fairly big while Dad, Natalie, and I split an enchilada plate.  

    On the road everyone seemed to konk out a little bit early and I ended up sitting shotgun for most of the time, trying to guess what oldies' song was on the radio.  We were trying to get some pretty good gas mileage so we weren't going insanely fast or anything like that, leaving quite a bit of thinking time...  

    We rolled into the motel around 3am but no one really went to sleep.  I worked on some journal stuff while everyone else watched some random comedian guy on the internet.

    Surprise, surprise.  Guess who didn't want to get up this morning?!  ME!  I hate mornings.  I hauled my butt out of bed, brushed my teeth, probably bent my retainer, and then went down to the motel provided breakfast.  Soggy Raisin Bran cereal and jelly cinnamon toast were my choices.  Oh, note to self: don't put the milk in the cereal until you're going to eat it.  

    We got on the road and I promptly fell asleep.  The drive was relatively boring.  I procrastinated on my summer read, The Grapes of Wrath, wrote some in my notebook, thought about whatever came to mind, ate at Taco Bell for lunch, and occasionally snacked on cookies Mom made before we left.  We raced into Garrison, a dead bird hanging off of our antenna, and barely made check in time.  We ate dinner at the Four Seasons Cafe, all of us getting some form of a chicken sandwich or salad.  Julie ordered fries for her but let's be honest for a second, I probably ate half of them.

    We checked in at the motel (we've stayed here eight times over the years people) and got all of our stuff prepped and ready for the morning.  Riding starts tomorrow, y'all.

Dinner on the road




"What are we having for dinner?"


Mexican food


Bunny ears


Studying; see we are productive sometimes


On the drive


Dinner in Garrison


Dad is learning how to "selfie"


Working on the journal


Sunday August 3

Garrison to Wilton

69.8 Miles, 15 Average, 4:39:10 Time, 36.6 Max

    Have I ever told you how much I hate mornings???  I hate them in case you don't know.  We got up this morning around 6:45 and dressed for success, dropped our gear off at the truck, almost forgot to pack shoes, and then began to put the bike together.  This year was not quite as much of an ordeal as the previous few years where cranks, wheels, chains, seat posts, bags, etc. had to come off of the bike.  That is one upside to the coupled quad for sure.  I was pretty sure we had everything all packed up when we rode on down to the gas station for some breakfast.  Biscuits with ham and egg were on the menu for us.  With a short stop at the motel, we were on the road and on our way to Wilton.  I do have to say, North Dakota holds its own beauty in the rolling farmlands with purple flax that appears to be water at first glance, and rows upon rows of smiling sunflowers.  We left Garrison behind us and turned right at the highway towards the lake.  We passed two people before stopping for a short minute to change out my headset (I'm pretty sure it was broken but we couldn't find where the problem was) and get off the bike 15 miles later.  Not far up the road from that was a 1950s rock and roll themed stop.  They had a super spiffy 64 Pontiac 2 door Grand Prix hardtop that I would be willing to drive if someone were to donate one... HINT HINT HINT.  Julie munched on some oatmeal while I went for the free chocolate chip cookies.  I'm such a sucker for cookies...

    The rolling hills picked up a little more and the wind was still not favorable but we kept on going like we always do.  There were flax fields lining the road occasionally, appearing to be distant lakes until we were close enough to see what they really were.  We bypassed a SAG 10 miles later close to Turtle Lake (one of our favorite towns to stay in) with a nice long downhill after a short uphill.  Now, with my super ridiculously fit legs we flew over those hills, right?  Yep.  (NOTE THE TONE OF SARCASM C: )  In the end it took us FOREVER it seems to get off the bike with my quads a-quacking 30 miles later.  We were able to get off the bike, grab some soup, and check the weather radar before going, "we're probably going to get wet."

    Sure enough, we weren't destined to remain dry for the remainder of the ride.  Let me tell you, having your feet soaked and everything wet when you pull in and then have to find your bags in the rain is insane.  NOT FUN PEOPLE.  We did finally make it into town, my eyes screaming from second hand salt courtesy of my helmet and quads quacking the entire way in.  Our bags were thankfully mostly dry thanks to a tarp over them but it still didn't fix the weather problem.  We moved to the shelter to regroup while I schemed on how to dry off.  My plan:  take a shower and wait for the rain to subside.  Apparently, some other people overheard my voiced plan because there was a line.  An actual line of two people.  Just my luck.

    I was able to take a shower and finally warm up some plus the rain had stopped.  We set up our tents and decided to catch a lift to the cafe for dinner.  We ordered two lemon pepper chicken dinners and then sat around to wait... but that amount of food between Dad, Natalie, and I was slim pickings.  The food was good but for those dinners and Julie's chicken sandwich, $40 was way over priced.  Deciding that I was not full enough, we trekked over to the Cennex for pizza served by grumpy high school students.  Natalie got one of those F'Real milkshakes we've been after for years and then didn't share any.  Sisterly love right there.  Julie and I walked over to the school looking for wifi and outlets but found that we could only use the school computers, with extremely limited access.  UGHHH.  

    When we were walked back to the campsite I had a bug attack my eye; it actually got stuck too.  YUCK.  I was able to locate an outlet to bring you this update live however I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes so I went to bed.  GOOD NIGHT.

Bike assembly


We have this down to a science


I bestow upon you...


...the greasy chain!


Breakfast at the gas station


Um how about I just drive this???  Dad... seventeenth birthday present?


Poodle skirts


It's dark and we're wearing sunglasses (BLUES BROTHERS REFERENCE!!!)


Day one


That isn't water out there, that is a flax field


On the road again

The fabulous quad


Natalie in the back of a golf cart thingie


Need your yard mowed?


They found a f'real ice cream machine...

...and Natalie actually tried it

Monday August 4

Wilton to Steele

61.9 Miles, 14.03 Average, 4:24:45 Time, 32 Max

    It rained last night.  Like quite a bit in the early morning and lucky me, I got the INSIDE of my rain jacket wet.  Fan-freaking-tastic.  We loaded up all of the gear and then went to wait out the wet roads and rain at the Cennex.  I ate one of those biscuit ham, egg, and cheese thingies but hit the wall 2/3 of the way through it.  I have also discovered Minute Maid tropical juice.  When we finished chatting with a highway patrol officer, we finally got on the road and met a bunch of wind.  Fabulous.  There were quite a few windmills off in the distance with a few not working but I took a picture for our windmill fanatic, the third person on the bike.  Our wind jackets came off around 10ish miles into our ride but we chugged on through the misty mist...and the dusky dusk.  COURAGE!  Wait, hold on we're not in Kansas anymore.  Bad joke, sorry.  Miles down the road was a SAG that had some super good egg salad sandwiches and fantabulous brownies.  Yes, that is a word.  

    The headwinds did not diminish at all from Wing onwards, that much I know.  The sun looked like it might be able to show up at some point in time but the constant winds and pedaling had my butt aching to get off.  Tuttle provided me with a Snickers bar and Dad some ice cream once we finally got off.  He was so determined to say that we had stayed in that town previously but alas, we did not.  The rest of the ride was not as nice as the first part with that insane crosswind we had to fight.  To top it all off, we had intercom issues and had to find the source of the buzzing and popping.  Slowly, by our standards, but surely we made it into town and had to get off and walk around construction where the road was completely torn out.  That was fun.  

    We found all of our bags, dried and set up the tents, and took showers.  I also received a report from mi madre back home as to what my schedule will be for next year.  YAYAYYAYAYAYAY.

    Dinner was in town at a bar where we had our first two bar pizzas of the trip.  It was a momentous event.  The chicken alfredo was still my preference over Canadian bacon.  Natalie played some rounds of pool with Dad and Julie while I worked on this here story for you all.  Grammar.  Yay.  I also played pool with Julie while Natalie worked on her journal (she wasn't feeling too well).

    Basically I am not used to this amount of sleep, or lack there of, so I am fried, tired, and ready to go to bed.



Just a brief stop


Geese on the portable baņos


We hadn't seen riders all day long and then BOOM.


Fantastic SAG




We found WiFi


Pool shark


I'm a ballerina?


Definitely pool people


I don't think I'm going to win...

Natalie wasn't feeling so great after that pizza

Tuesday August 5

Steele to Wishek

63.9 Miles, 13.82 Average, 4:37:24 Time, 27 Max

    Update on my sleeping conditions: THEY ARE TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!  Especially when one member of the group is sick half the night.  Like I thought I couldn't sleep in tents before, now I know I can't.  Eventually Natalie went to sleep and I tried to get a little bit of rest.  This morning we didn't know if she was going to be able to ride but as I predicted she said she was fine and got on the bike with the rest of us.  Breakfast was at the gas station on the way out of town with dried up yucky biscuits (thankfully I opted for a bun) and yogurt.  Natalie wasn't able to eat. The ride started off riding on Interstate 94 for seven miles.  That is right, folks, 70 mph speed limit.  Those first few miles were smooth sailing and we made it to Dawson where I ate an orange cream muffin before we began a long, windy, painful stretch towards Napoleon.  We did make it to a SAG where I was the 150th rider so I got a free brownie.  SCORE!  

    Onwards and forwards we trudged, the flatish roads turning kind of hilly with a ridiculous crosswind.  My legs were kinda burning...the cows (code for my calves) were a-mooing very loudly in protest.  Hills with more hills and an occasional lake or pond lined the road along with some small sunflowers.  Napoleon finally came into sight and we parked our butts at a gas station that had string cheese and A COKE WITH MY NAME ON IT!  Oh mi gosh I have been searching for one of those since the 'share a coke' thing started.  I was way way way way too excited about it, I know.  I even got the store guy to cut the label off for me! Natalie managed a couple sips of soda with some encouragement.

    The next stretch of road didn't seem too terribly bad...well sort of.  Stair step hills continued to be on the road until we finally got a nice long downhill towards a big pond/small lake.  Plus, you guessed it, as an added bonus we had to climb a hill that was at least as bad going up the other side.  Joy.  We did make it to the top and took a quick break before heading on up a smaller rise.  We were passing some more people for sure but at the same time, we had seen these people multiple times in a single day thanks to the SAG wagons giving people a lift.  The wind only picked up throughout the day while we were on the road.  Eventually we were only 9 miles from the end, 3 of us grabbed some food at a SAG, and made our way towards the town.  

    Unknown to us, the fairgrounds were much farther out of town than we had originally anticipated but we had a motel to get to.  After drying out the tents a little bit, we rode on towards our motel with very very grumpy hosts.  Due to the way the motel was laid out, no access to the outside except a window was present.  This bike, however has couplers so we split it into and put it in the room.  When we were taking off the packs, a herd of moths (I don't know what else to call it) flew out from under them.  Hitchhikers.  

    Dinner was at a movie theater converted to a bar where one of the employees snapped at us to eat in the "family" section, not technically in the bar itself.  Three mini tacos were ordered for Natalie but dad ended up eating them. The food was super duper over priced for tiny, small, itsy bitsy amounts of food that left my stomach growling like a bear.  Anyone want to take a guess on the total?  Go for it.  $45.  I kid you not.  We decided to go over to the grocery store that closed minutes before we arrived so instead we got a pizza from the place next door.  Bar pizza number 3, Natalie unable to partake.

    When we got back to the motel I retrieved our laundered riding clothes only to find them slightly soggy.  UGHHHH.  So right now they are strewn across the room in an attempt to dry shorts.  The rest of the night consisted of eating pizza, fixing laundry all over the room, and typing this web journal for you guys.  And I'm tired so that just shows how much I love you.  *Hugs*

Sunflower lined road


If three's a crowd...then what's four?


Polar bear






North Dakota is so pretty


Downhill run


We will get the bike into the motel room, we will get the bike into the motel room


Wednesday August 6

Wishek to Linton

68.5 Miles, 17.58 Average, 3:53:49 Time, 34.3 Max

    Well I do have to say, motels are nicer than tearing down a tent in the morning, even if your sister decides to flat out slug you in her sleep.  We put the bike out in the hallway after I searched around for someone willing to take our bags to the truck but to no avail.  When we were getting the bike together in the hallway, some lady accidentally tripped over Dad's foot and crashed into me.  Thanks for an enjoyable start to the morning even if it was an accident.  We got the bike put back together and packs on to head over to the truck, arriving just in time to throw our stuff on.  It was around 2 3/4 miles out there but thankfully we had a tailwind to help us along.  Breakfast was humongo cinnamon rolls or a caramel roll with hard boiled eggs and bananas.  Due to the fact that we were LAST they gave them to us for free.  So thank you, people running the breakfast food station in Wishek, you brightened my morning.

    On the road we started, everyone bound and determined it was going to rain but nope, I had zero faith that it would.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  None.  The wind, once again, was not favorable and only picked up the farther along we rode but on the plus side there were only 18 miles to a SAG.  The traffic was relatively light along the road this morning and there were many fields of corn, wheat, or other assorted crops.  The first SAG was a Mexican fiesta themed stop with massive loaded baked potatoes.  Dad ordered two while Natalie managed to eat a little.  We all mooched off of said potatoes and right before we were about to leave I had a discussion with one of the ladies waiting in line for the restroom about how I am a princess.  It was fantastic.  I told her I didn't have my crown with me but she said I was still a princess even with out it.  PROOF people.  

    The next 24 miles were TAILWINDS!!!!!!!!  I didn't even know what to do with myself.  We did stop 10 miles into our fantastic run for Powerade and Cokes because we had no idea what the next stop would have.  We also learned that some of the other riders were having cow mooing contests.  If they could get a cow to stand up by mooing, they received one point.  Sounds like my kinda game.  Onwards and forwards we flew at a much higher rate of speed.

    We stopped in Hague for a Mountain Dew for me and other assorted goods for everyone else before flying down the road towards the north.  On average we were running 25 mph throughout that last stretch thanks to the nice wind that switched around to the south.  We flew down into town with a near bee sting on Dad's face again.  Thankfully it just bounced off.  

    Our motel was right next to the highway in town and we got a nice room where the quad rolls easily in.  Score.  When we packed up our bags and received free complimentary peanuts/soda/Powerade/mini candy bars plus the warm welcome from the people of Linton.  I slouched around for awhile before taking a shower.  Apparently the water has also been through a softener.  I felt like I could not get the soap off.  That was really weird for sure.  Dad sat outside with some people from the ride and changed someone's flat tire while I attempted to figure out the washing machine our motel owners graciously allowed us to use.  But seriously you had to get the really complicated ones for a teenage girl that is terrible about doing laundry.

    I eventually figured it out with Dad's help and then we trooped over to Webo's restaurant and lounge for dinner.  Unlike previous nights there was actually a decent amount of food for the price and Natalie's appetite was starting to return.  I had been eyeing the cherry pie sitting to the right of me but by the time I asked about it, it had gone to other people...the ones right behind us that said they only wanted one piece but then ate TWO.  I was so sad, like I felt like I was going to cry. :(  We ended up going over to the Tesoro next to our motel and I had to try a Sara Lee pie thingie instead.  The rest of our time for the night was spent chillaxing and such, typing up awesome sauce web journals, and trying to socially connect with my friends at home.  Yes, yes, teenager hooked to her phone.  I prefer teenager that hasn't seen her friends much all summer with everyone's schedules and wants to talk to them.  So yep.  I'm tired, adios, amigos.

Taco SAG


Sombreros are cool


That moment when you get stuck behind a Semi truck on a hill


North Dakota is so nice


Iron cross cemetary


The two on the back


Bags (that's us way back there in the back)


Natalie found a puppy...

...I think she's in love...


...I'm telling Cutter!
our dog...


Thursday August 7

Linton to Papa's Pumpkin Patch 

71.8 Miles, 17.14 Average, 4:11.18 Time, 30.5 Max

    Mornings...mornings...mornings.  So essential yet I hate them so much.  I eventually got out of bed and put on my riding clothes before groggily dropping our stuff off at the truck.  Breakfast was gas station food of English muffin with ham, egg, and cheese with...wait for it... pineapple soda from Mexico in a glass bottle and everything.  I love Fanta.  I have a ridiculous love for that stuff, seriously.  

    It was kind of misty when we got going this morning and the clouds made it very overcast but it was a nice ride none the less.  I got a lot of the "Courtney take a picture of that!...and that!...and that!" so you can blame my sister for the pictures.  I still took a ton for them, though.  There were many interesting things to see along the way to SAG number one such as hay bales stacked ridiculously high and the nice scenery along the road.  

    At the first SAG we ate some peanut butter sandwiches and brownie bars and other similar items before facing what I have deemed the Godzilla hill.  This hill is not one of those that you are like "oh, it's not that bad," once you reach it.  It's not.  It looks worse up close.  And once you get over section one, section two is just as bad.  (See the pictures below)  On the positive side after this humongo hill, there was a nice downhill...leading into another hill.  I swear, this year has it cut out for us between some of those bad hills today and what we had on BRAN.  (See my other summer journal!)

    We passed the sight of where Dad was stung a few years ago (remember that?) and watched the SAG signs for a Wizard of Oz themed SAG.  Their "yellow brick paved road" was the highway with pieces of yellow paper taped down.  Super classy, I loved it.  I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with some chocolate milk before we started on the way to Bismarck.  We didn't stop at the SAG between where we were and Bismarck but instead kept on going.  The hills continued, I'm afraid to report, but I do have to say it was very scenic.  When we reached Bismarck, we flew down a gigantic hill and then tried to watch where the arrows were because they put everyone on a bike path that followed the road.  We thought we missed the SAG and turned around only to see another sign that said straight ahead for the SAG.  So confusing.  We did make it to the SAG after 30 miles and wading through the insane amount of traffic.  The chicken wraps were actually really good with Doritos and a wild cherry Pepsi.  Strangely enough, I definitely like Dr Pepper a lot better.  

    We made it out of there with minimal pictures from the local newspaper and tried to find Papa's Pumpkin Patch.  The road to the pumpkin patch was a two lane road without a shoulder and quite a bit of traffic on it unfortunately.  There was also someone turning left and waiting for traffic when someone almost hit them while looking at us in their rearview mirror.

    We did finally find the pumpkin patch and found our bags and located a nice spot next to a corn field.  The pumpkin patch was actually really nifty, especially for little kids.  So, if you or someone with small children that like pumpkins are in the Bismarck area, give them a try.

    When we set up camp, Natalie took off for the showers with the "I'm out of here" comment while I was left all by my poor lonesome self to set up the tent. When I finally got everything put up and my sleeping bag in the tent, Dad, Julie, and I trooped off to the showers to meet a nice huge line of at least 8 people, probably more.  This line grew steadily from there but at some point Dad left to go to the gas station with Natalie for her pizza and some off sale products.  I ended up letting four people ahead of me in line while I waited for Dad to finally return.  To be honest, those showers were super gross; the shower was way yellow and super nasty plus the water smelled awful.  Yuck.  I almost forgot to mention that the water left this wonderful Cheeto residue all over your skin.  Nasty, nasty, nasty.

    We ate the dinner provided for $11 at the pumpkin patch after I worked on this journal for awhile and talked to Michael, one of the SAG drivers.  Chicken, veggies, fruit, drinks, and ice cream sundaes were all on the menu for our pleasure.  We located the zipline by our tent and had some fun with that, Natalie staining her booty a nice green color.  Pedal carts were also available for us (those things kill your legs, dang!) but Dad needs to find safer ways to conduct these vehicles than wheelies that pitch you on your back.  That was funny.  

    Before going to bed, we all talked to Dick and Melissa, CANDISC founders, for awhile only to return to our campsite invaded by someone who's tent was being held up by a tree.  We ended up moving our tent over some for some personal bubble space and eventually went to sleep.  Overall it was a very nice day. 

It's a misty morning


Yes, those are rectangular hay bales stacked on one another

So there's this hill that we've climbed before off in the distance... 


Upon realizing what we have to climb...


...it's getting closer...

Stage One

Stage Two




Now we get a nice down hill


Sunflower fields forever


Follow the yellow brick road (that's a yellow brick)


There's no place like a rest stop


Today was slightly gloomy


Interesting rock formation


That rock formation in the middle of the field is bigger than their house!


Drop into Bismarck


Going under the train




Another sculpture






Lots and lots of bags


Puppy :)




Natalie's going...


...And she kept going until the ground finally stopped her




Ziplines are cool


We found pedal cars


These were really hard to turn


And heavy too


And they're off


Friday August 8

Papa's Pumpkin Patch to Mercer

64.5 Miles, 17.95 Average, 3:35:37 Time, 44 Max

    We got up too early for my taste and much earlier than we have every other day this week.  So we took down all of the tent things and pitched them on the truck with the help of a kid and his ATV.  On the way out we had to figure which way to turn while on gravel to reach the main road.  It was so foggy my glasses wanted to cloud over.  We rolled down a nice road to the first SAG where Michael had muffins and other assorted foods available for the riders.  As it turns out, he bought all of the food from a SAG so everyone could have something to eat on the road.  He's super cool, can you tell?  

    We had some really nice rolling hills with favorable winds.  Many sunflower fields were blooming today as well.  We bypassed the second SAG and pushed onwards to Washburn on a very busy highway where we had to pass many riders on the shoulder.  Just past our turn was a gas station where the Bismarck Tribune had our picture on the very front page.  See I am fantastically famous.  (Insert princess crown here)

    We were hungry for the annual Buffalo Association burger stop 15 miles down the road but first we had to head back east and up some major hills before we finally turned.  Just ahead lay the perfect stop with juicy burgers and chips and soft drinks all for a low price of $6 meal tickets.  Totally worth it.  Those are the best burgers you will ever have, I kid you not.

    Onwards and forwards we pushed to Mercer where we found a nice tent spot, pitched our sleeping gear, and sat around drinking sodas and other beverages.  At some point I decided I really wanted a shower and headed off into town to find one.  The shower truck had a huge line so I went to the fire station, which also had a huge line, and then finally to the hunting lodge (converted school) where I was finally able to take a shower.  It was actually really really nice there with couches, a flat screen tv, kitchen, it was very nice.  

    I found Dad once I got out and we ended up in a conversation with someone about his life as a school science/math teacher.  Someone actually thinks that everyone should do their part in a group project and not leave it all to the nerd, i.e., me.  His stories were very interesting and just after we finished talking to him we trekked over to the bar that actually has a family area we could sit in.  Natalie had a ham and cheese sandwich while I shared a pizza with the other two members of our group.  

    Dad told us stories about how he was switching engines in cars, working on stuff late at night, doing all this teenager-ish stuff and I'm pretty sure if I decide to do any "teenager-ish stuff", I'll be sitting in my room for a couple of weeks.  Nope, just kidding...but am I really?

    Just as we were going to sit around our campsite the same guy from last night decided he was going to set up camp on a guide wire RIGHT NEXT TO OUR TENT...again.  The best part of it is, we were sitting right there and Natalie was lying on the ground where he wanted to set up camp.  With a very polite "this is our spot" he did finally leave and parked on the corner of someone else's tent for the night.

Foggy lake




Burgers from the American Buffalo Association 


That was one good burger


So photogenic


After a long day


The deer is whispering to her


Finally able to get some food


Putting popcorn on pencils


More story work 


I think we're all getting a little tired


But there's always Red Bull!


I wonder how much of this Dad will let me drink?




Two phones is better than one


Three phones?


I AM TALLER THAN YOU!  (not anymore)


North Dakota Sunset


Saturday August 9

Mercer to Garrison 

46 Miles, 19.09 Average, 2:24:34 Time, 35.6 Max

    This morning I was woken up to the sound of an impact wrench from the people who set up their camper next to our tent site.  Thank you, that's just how I wanted to be woken up.  I could have slept another 20 minutes but noooooo you can't let me enjoy the small amount of sleep I  might actually get.  A word to the wise, if you are bringing a camper with you do not under any circumstance park it next to anyone's tent, alright? Particularly when a large field is there for the taking?  

    We packed up our gear and loaded it onto the truck before heading out to face the day, without food, planning to stop at a SAG down the road.  There were the expected hills with a few riders on the road as we started off but on the bright side, it was a nice day without an insane amount of wind.  In our way were a few hills towards Turtle Lake but none the less, we made it over them and past Rusty, the two ton metal turtle.

    Now, you all know how I have been on a pie expedition for the past few days?  Well, the SAG at St. Olaf's Church was supposed to have kulatch, the German version of said dessert.  However, they ran out just minutes before we got there.  You have got to be kidding me.  No, I am 100% not ok with this.  They did have hot caramel rolls that were very delightful but nowhere near as good as pie.  *humph*

    Onwards to Garrison we pedaled, almost being squirted with an irrigation system that decided to shoot water onto the road.  With the right timing, we did not get wet despite various concerns from those of us on the back of the bike, I am happy to report.  More fields of corn lined our way along with the occasional decaying farm house scattered across the countryside.  At a SAG down the road, Michael had muffins once again for the riders, free of charge.  Muffins are the food of my people and by people I mean bicycle riders.  

    From our speed we were obviously on a mission, fueled by Mike's muffins, to pass as many riders as possible on this final day as we flattened the remaining hills into Garrison. We finally reached the beloved North Dakota town where the van had been parked for a week.  We took our annual picture next to Wally the Walleye fish and were told by others that one woman would not move out of anyone's photographs despite many dirty looks thrown her way.  Sigh.  People.  

    We packed up the bike in the van, got the luggage, and took showers for one last time in the Great North Dakota Watershed.  Lunch was at the park as always and fantastic buffalo brats were served along with fruit, various salads, and desserts. Once we ate, we started on down the road in the direction of Kansas to finish out our fantastic tour.  

Scenic last day


Pond and Cat Tails by Courtney Johnson, your fabulous photographer




Sup Wally?


Now those are some tan lines (aren't you jealous?)


Annnnd Dad's on his phone




Last day in North Dakota


Conductor Padre







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