Friday, September 7, 2012

North Dakota and Eastern Montana

We left Fargo late... and ended up in Casselton for the night. We found a Days Inn near the interstate that was advertising a water park. Arielle went in to inquire more. We scored a camping spot (aka a patch of grass next to the laundromat) and 2 passes to the water park for $22! We took a dip in the bigger of the pools, but the big water slide was not working. I showered off and headed to the set up the tent. In the morning, I found Arielle's things strewed about the ground near my tent and her sleeping bag was among them. I then noticed a bit of blue in her red sleeping bag - she was inside. I started laughing at her. My original reaction was that she had been robbed but she just didn't feel like setting up her tent after she got back from late-night hot tubbing. We then went back to the water park and enjoyed the hot tub for another hour before packing up and heading westward. We stopped in Valley City for groceries and kept heading west until dark.
We slept in a field of spiders and hay. We woke up with still an east wind which was surprising and it pushed us most of the day to Tappen, ND. We saw a storm on the horizon which never made it to us, but we decided to stop at The Roadhouse. We met the locals there and played some pool before setting up our tents next to the establishment. In the morning, it was barely dawn, we heard stomping and "sun's up" in a mans' voice. It was a man from the pool game the night before. I opened my tent, he was on a horse! The horse and he were parading around our little campsite and a nearby field. We got out of our tents and talked with him a little before we set off. (pictures to come) He met us in the next town for coffee and a rest stop. "If you ever find yourselves in Tappen again, look me up" We set off again.

We made it to Bismarck and ended up staying with Erin. We got a lot of vegetables from Target and made a hearty dinner. We then went with Erin and her girlfriend to TuttiFruiti (a pay by the pound frozen yogurt joint). It was amazing and the employees gave us a nice discount saying that we were the most interesting people they'd seen all day. We left afternoon the following day and rode until sunset. We were in Hebron, ND. We knocked on a door to a house and asked if we could camp in the yard. It was windy that night and in the middle of the night a cat was meowing by my tent. It was strange because earlier in the evening the owners were telling us about coyotes. The next morning we were off again, to Dickinson. We rode 30 long hard miles and were exhausted when we arrived in Dickinson. Originally we were not going to stay but then decided to. We went to The Brew coffee shop owned by Danae and Lucas, a young married couple. They were very nice to let us stay with them. Their friend came over and we went on a night hike to the Painted Canyons near Medora. The next morning we went off again and headed west.
We biked to Medora that day and managed to stay in Medora's Theodore Roosevelt National Park. On our way to the park we saw wild horses by the road! Arielle had purchased a postcard with wild horses on it, and I had made fun of her because I did not know there were any in the region. We had to bike 5 miles into the campsite but it was totally worth it. We arrived at sunset, we made a fire, and set up camp. We rolled out around noon the next day after eating a lot of food.
We biked to Wilbaux, Montana the next day. It was nice to get across the border. The wind was a headwind again and we vowed to wake up early and make decent mileage. We did and made it 30 miles before 10am to Glendive, Montana. Arielle stopped and got her first Subway sub of Montana, and she ate it at the cafe that I opted to go to. When we were packing up to go to the grocery, we saw a group of 3 people and they said "are you with the other biker? Andrew?" "other biker?" "Yeah he went to the library" "where is the library?" We went there and I walked in and told him "Hi! We're going to be friends". He looked excited.
Andrew was 23 years old, now 24 years old. He likes to dumpster dive food, he started his bicycle tour in Florida and he is going to Washington to a meditation retreat place for 6 months. He likes to be very efficient with time. He is from Pennsylvania. We are going to Glacier together, for now.
We battled the headwind together and camped in Lindsay, Montana. There was supposed to be a restaurant and a gas station in town but they were closed. It looked mostly abandoned. A 15 year old boy named Alex said we could camp on his lawn. He was driving to get his brother. His dad later explained that he has a special permit to do this. The next day, it was Andrew's birthday!!!
We rode to Circle, Montana early in the morning. Alex told us it's called "the round town". We went to the grocery and the post office. Andrew got a package of socks from his mother. I mailed home some film and a shirt that I no longer need.
We kept going West and North. We thought we were lost on a cow pasture road and I called Greg to confirm where we were. He said to keep going and we would arrive on the road that goes next to the resevoir. We went through a lot of cow pastures, and over cattle grates until we arrived at Rt.24. Fort Peck Dam is the largest earthen dam in the world!!! We didn't see the resevoir until the next day because of the landscape between the road and the resevoir. We camped in the butte-canyon-type terrain. We made a huge pot of ramen for dinner and didn't wait for the noodles to cook all the way before eating it. My stomache hurt a lot as I was trying to fall asleep.
The next day we biked to Glasgow, Montana! We had a north wind for most of the day and made to the Glasgow around 6:30. We went to the grocery store and picked up a lot of food. We camped in the yard of a family in town.