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Archive for the ‘Montana’ Category

Sunset on Round Lake.

Sunset on Round Lake.

July 10: Fargo, ND to White Earth, MN

July 11: White Earth, MN to Bemidji, MN

The weather was beautiful as we departed Fargo and headed for White Earth, MN. The roads through western Minnesota were great and the scenery was spectacular.

As we rode, we went through several small towns. One town in particular, Richwood, was like stepping back in time. The town’s small general store was combination food outlet, post office, bait shop and hardware store. Pete, the owner of the Richwood store, also saved our bacon – as we departed Richwood, Pete casually told us that “he did not want to burst our bubbles, but that we were going the wrong way. Without Pete’s directions, we would probably still be riding.

Richwood store, a step back in time.

Richwood store, a step back in time.

Prior to leaving Fargo, Marshall promised us that we would be camping at a site free from traffic and railroad noise. What Marshall failed to tell us however, is that we would be encamped in Hotel Mosquitoville. The mosquitoes were so thick at the Tamarac Resort in White Earth that they picked Sue P. up and carried her away.  The lake was beautiful, however, and we enjoyed some time at the Tamarac Lodge.

Mosquitoville.

Mosquitoville.

Mosquito-free zone.

Mosquito-free zone.

On Saturday, we departed Mosquitoville and headed towards Bemidji, MN, Paul Bunyan country. On the road to Bemidji, we stopped at Itasca State Park, home to the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Following a lunch break at the park, we continued on to Bemidji, where we are staying at Royal Oaks RV park, aka Mosquitoville East.

Headwaters of the Mississippi.

Headwaters of the Mississippi.

The crew with Paul and Babe.

The crew with Paul and Babe.

Sunday’s ride will take us over an 83-mile route to Grand Rapids, MN.


Chuck's yacht

Chuck's yacht

Sue and Debbie on the Mississippi River.

Sue and Debbie on the Mississippi River.

Suzi finds a friend.

Suzi finds a friend.

Tamarac Lodge on Round Lake.

Tamarac Lodge on Round Lake.

Viking ship, Fargo

Viking ship, Fargo

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Sent via text message – the Internet connections in White Earth, Minnesota are lacking, evidently…

Mark: Rode from Fargo ND to White Earth, 78.6 miles. Pretty day, beautiful country. Will ride [tomorrow] to Bemidji, Paul Bunyons town, about 75 miles.

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Home for tonight

Home for tonight

June 26, 2009: Glasgow, MT to Poplar, MT

Following a day of extremely hot weather yesterday, the weather cooled off considerably following a thunder shower last night. Today’s ride to Poplar, MT began with cool temperatures and favorable winds. The ride proved to be enjoyable and without incident –  except for Sue P.’s two consecutive flat tires.

Upon reaching Poplar, we set up camp near the airport. Our host, Dallas, the owner of Dallas Aero Aviation, has provided us with a grassy area for our tents, power and water. We have again had the opportunity to use our “Porta Privy” shower……it works great.

Tomorrow, we will bid farewell to Montana and cycle 71 miles to Williston, North Dakota. We are all looking forward to our arrival in Williston, as it will be the site of a much needed layover day.

Today’s Riding Distance: 75 miles.

Howard: The little RV park that we stayed in last night was not one of America’s finest. Chicken thinks that we are traveling through “Third World Country”!!

Tonight we are at the Poplar, home to Dallas Aero Aviation. Chicken and I have our tent pitched next to two old police cars with no windows. We had to use our portable shower…had a great time with it (I sure felt good!!).

Tomorrow we will hit North Dakota. The locals say that we will hit lots of big rollers; wish us luck.

Thanks to everyone for your comments. Chicken and Debbie read them out loud to the crew. Thanks to Geneva, Jan, John, Dennis, Kat, Pau and Carol, ABC camp, Maggie, Jim, Barb 2 and Herb. Keep them coming!!

Chuck and mini-Chuck

Chuck and mini-Chuck

Miss Camp Poplar

Miss Camp Poplar

Sue the truck driver, inspecting the local equipment

Sue the truck driver, inspecting the local equipment

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Congratulations to Marshall and Ann - 43 years of marriage!

Congratulations to Marshall and Ann - 43 years of marriage!

June 25, 2009: Malta, MT to Glasgow, MT

Today’s ride was in stark contrast to the two previous days. The eastern Montana temperature rose into the 100’s and the winds shifted from tail to head winds as we bicycled from Malta to Glasgow, MT. The 70 mile trek was all the more difficult as, along with the heat and the wind, the route included rollers that seemed to have ascents steeper than their descents.

We all arrived in Glasgow a little beat up, but none the worse for wear. Tomorrow’s ride will take us a similar distance to Poplar, MT. Hopefully the conditions will be a little more forgiving.

Upon our arrival in Glasgow, we cleaned ourselves up and went out to Sam’s Supper Club in order to help Ann and Marshall Schilling celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary. For all of you who know and appreciate Ann and Marshall, please post your congratulations.

Stars of the day.

Stars of the day.

Glasgow, Montana - keeping it Jurassic.

Glasgow, Montana - keeping it Jurassic.

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The first 1,000 is the hardest, right?

The first 1,000 is the hardest, right?

June 24, 2009: Havre, MT to Malta, MT

We awoke in Havre, MT. to a spectacularly beautiful morning – clear skies and mild weather. As we headed east towards Malta – a distance of about 93 miles – we once again experienced relatively flat terrain (A few rollers now and then) and the welcome tailwind. The most significant event for today was logging our first 1000 miles of riding…only a paltry 3300 miles to go. We are currently encamped at the Edgewater campground in Malta. Tomorrow, the plan is to take an easy 70-mile ride to our next destination, Glasgow, MT.

The Good Samaritan Award for today goes to Marshall Schilling. Along our route we encountered a family that is traveling self-contained across the norther tier; the parents and two daughters are making their way across the country towards Maryland, to visit family. One of the girl’s bicycles experienced some severe tire problems. The family contacted Marshall while we were in Havre at which point Marshall purchased two tires at the local bicycle shop and ferried them back to the thankful family.

Suzi Wood, one of the important and appreciated support people in our group, is doing her part towards keeping America clean and ship-shape. As Suzi drives the day’s route in her support vehicle, she stops at various locales to pick-up and dispose of trash. If we all followed Suzi’s lead, the American highways would be even more beautiful.

Way to go, Suzi!

Way to go, Suzi!

Howard: Today we went through parts of Montana that did not even enter my vision of the state. Miles and miles of wetlands with multiple cottonwood trees. The wetlands proved to be excellent “nurseries” for mosquitoes. Each time we stopped, the mosquitoes would swoop down upon us. (For a moment, I thought that maybe I was in Alaska again!!)

We are currently camped in a campground that borders a railroad trestle – shades of Whitefish all over again. The railroad tracks run parallel to Highway 2, our route through Montana and North Dakota.  Our next rest day will be in Williston, ND on Sunday.

Little Kat, please call us on Thursday night.

I now have logged 1,067 miles on my odometer since Anacortes, WA.

Howard pops the bubbly.

Howard pops the bubbly.

Chuck: Another day, another tailwind that built throughout the day. We made great time covering 93.6 miles from Havre to Malta.   We are traveling the “highline” across northern Montana, moving from sweet grass country to wetland country.  The land has changed from rolling hills of grass to marshy wetlands – home of some of the most voracious mosquitoes and biting flies we have seen yet.

The names of the towns we have gone through in the last two days have not gone unnoticed; you would think we were traveling in a different part of the world as we passed through Inverness, Dunkirk, Harlem, Zurich, and even the Kremlin.  We are off to Glasgow tomorrow…

Mileage= 93.6 Miles
Elevation Gain = 834 ft.

A toast to mile 1,000...

A toast to mile 1,000...

...and a message of hope at Fort Baldwin Reservation

...and a message of hope at Fort Baldwin Reservation

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First century of the trip

First century of the trip

June 23, 2009:  Shelby, MT to Havre, MT

After sorting out our soggy equipment and eating a hearty breakfast, we departed from Shelby, Montana and headed for Havre. As we rode, the tailwinds that the weather people promised kicked in; the 100+ mile ride to Havre proved to be much easier with a 15-20 mile tailwind stuck directly on your rear end. Again, the eastern Montana terrain contained no real points of interest; the bigness of the country, however is awe inspiring.

Eastern Montana coming

Eastern Montana coming

As we continue to ride, we are meeting more and more people who are on the same quest as ours. For example, Joe and Annalisa, a couple from the San Francisco Bay Area, who normally teach junior college chemistry during the school year, are traveling self-contained towards Maine. As we discovered, Joe and Annalisa are old pros at this type of travel, having bicycled extensively through different parts of Europe.

Tomorrow we will head towards Malta, MT, a distance of 90-some odd miles……Hopefully, those great tailwinds will continue.

Total Mileage = 103.13
Total feet climbed = 1,750 Ft.

Eastern Montana going

Eastern Montana going

Chuck: An absolutely beautiful ride today. The weather was clear, warm and with a favorable wind direction. Our first century of the ride (103.13 Miles).  With the wind at our back, a flat course, nice roadway and mostly generous shoulder, we were able to clock some serious miles. Mark won first place by averaging 25 miles per hour for the day.

I expected that this part of the ride would be boring.  Not so – it was spectacular with the wide open spaces, beautiful skies and fields of varied colors. Suzi was our sag support for the day, and brought deli sandwiches, fresh fruit, water, and cookies for lunch at Rudyard – not much of a town but a great sign welcoming folks to stop in.

Welcome to Rudyard - don't blink!

Welcome to Rudyard - don't blink!


Howard
: Let’s start with Sunday afternoon in Shelby, MT. We could see the thunder showers developing to the south and east and we thanked our lucky stars that we had avoided them. Well, about midnight that same Sunday, the rain and wind started. At about 2 am, Chicken had to make a potty run. On her way back to the tent, she tripped in a gopher hole and did a belly slide through the water and mud.

At about 5 am, I got up and asked if anyone was interested in checking out motel rooms. Everyone except Chuck and Suzi checked into a motel at about 7 am in the pouring rain. We were happy to be in the motel, since driving rain and wind continued through most of the day. At about 6 pm on Monday, the rain finally stopped and we were able to dry out our tents.

Brother Dennis, you would have loved today’s ride; 103 miles at an average speed of about 20 miles per hour. During the ride, we saw antelope about 50 yards from the road and hundreds of mini chucks (prairie dogs) named after Chuck Wood….cute little things, some were flat, some were standing. We also saw a couple of coyotes….Eat your heart out, Dennis.

Now that you have heard the rest of the story, I will close by divulging a little secret…..Chuck folded his tent up with his car keys in it…Ha Ha.

103 miles, technically. But who's counting?

103 miles, technically. But who's counting?

Cole and his buddy in Shelby.

Cole and his buddy in Shelby.

The Headley paceline motoring through Montana.

The Headley paceline motoring through Montana.

Welcome, comrades.

Welcome, comrades.

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Unscheduled Rest Day

Amidst the deluge

Amidst the deluge

June 22, 2009: rained out in Shelby, MT

We ran into some problems this morning in Shelby, Montana. A monsoon-like storm struck at about 2 AM and continued through most of the day, dropping buckets of rain.

Combined with consistently strong winds, riding in the existing conditions would have been next to impossible, so we decided to layover for the day and continue east tomorrow (better weather is promised). We took refuge in a motel in order to dry out and recalibrate our itinerary. Provided that the wind is favorable tomorrow, the plan is to ride 103 miles from Shelby to Haver, MT.


Debbie's tent took on a little water

Debbie's tent took on a little water

A standard layover day activity

A standard layover day activity

A waterfront pose for the Team Parkinsons riders on a previous day (it didn't rain *that* hard in Shelby)

A waterfront pose for the Team Parkinsons riders on a previous day (it didn't rain *that* hard in Shelby)

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