Day 43: Dickinson, North Dakota to Bismark, North Dakota.

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105.38 miles for today’s ride.

Today I rode 105.38 miles (170 km) for a trip total of 1850 total trip miles. I believe this is the furthest I have ever ridden in a single day with a fully loaded touring bike. It was exhilarating.

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Total trip miles thus far, 1850.

There were three reasons it was possible:

  1. The weather was cool, I never removed my long sleeved jacket.
  2. It was mostly cloudy, or partially sunny, take your pick.
  3. There was an intense tailwind that never let up all day.

I cannot stress how much the wind affected today’s ride. At about 64 miles, I met two other riders at a stop at a supermarket. The riders, Coner and Aidan, are doing a coast-to-coast ride from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Maine. They had started at Medora, ND and at days end they had nearly 140 miles (225 km) for their ride! Ah youth, they were younger and probably could have gone further. I, on the other hand, was spent and it was time to call it a day. I can honestly say that I wasn’t as spent as some other days on this ride, but it was a long day.

Today was a good day, for the most part. I wasn’t attacked by any animals, and things went pretty smoothly. I did have another penny incident, see previous entries concerning that topic.

There was one section where the Adventure Cycle maps gave me a choice: I could ride on the I-94 interstate highway (legal here) or I could take an 11.5-mile gravel road. Riding on the interstate meant having to ride for 12 miles with a shoulder-wide rumble strip that would rattle my bones. I opted for the gravel.

Prior to the gravel, I stopped in Glen Ullin, ND for food. It was just a gas station with some of those pre-packaged meals that are kept under heating lights. I had a pizza that was unequivocally the worst pizza I have ever had. I think instead of flour, they used salt. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I was a few miles down the gravel road. My stomach started protesting and I thought I was going to lose the pizza; I didn’t. I wished I did, it was awful.

After the gravel section, the road changed to pavement and eventually I arrived at the New Salem supermarket where I met the other two gents. There, I had a banana and chocolate milk and immediately felt better. We chatted for a while and decided to try for Bismark, even though it was almost another 30 miles (48 km) and it was late in the day.

The wind was still up and we flew to Bismark. I left a bit before the other two but they caught up as we arrived at the outskirts of Bismark. That wind was remarkable. I just appreciate that I wasn’t trying to ride west-bound, it would have been impossible.

Coner, Aidan and I went out to the local pub to celebrate today’s ride. We were all pretty pumped. What a difference a little wind can make. I hope it keeps up, we could be in Minnesota in a few more days, we’re almost half-way across North Dakota!