Bicycle Trip to High School Reunion

Month: June 2015 (Page 2 of 3)

Bowman, ND to Lemmon, SD Day12

Today’s ride was too be from Bowman to Hettinger, ND.

Got a late start out of Bowman but the tailwind helped me makeup for lost time. Roads were mostly good with low traffic and good shoulders. So enjoyed this a lot. Went thru some nice farming county. June being a wet month here, the grass and wheat are looking good. Stopped at Reeder to rest a little and ended up chatting with Todd who owns Borderline Bar & Grill. It was Sunday so it was not open but Todd wanted to make me a small pizza anyway. What a nice bar and grill. Todd donated a very nice hat and bottles of water for my journey. He does a very good business in the fall when the pheasant hunters are here. Jon S. remember this town. Lots of pheasants and I did notice some good whisky on the shelf. Stop here for sure.
DSCN0327 (1)

And the rest of Reeder main street is a little slow in this town.

Made it the 40 miles in good time. I am a member of If you sign up to be a member and if you are lucky enough to be going through a community with a host you can ask if they have room to put you up for a night. Tent or whatever. When in Bowman I looked at the host cities in SD and found Travis and Jen in Lemmon, SD. I sent them an email and they responded that I was welcome to stay at their residents. But Lemmon was another 24 miles past Hettinger. So I rode into Lemmon, SD. Along the way I crossed into SD

So tomm (as I type today actually) is a rest day. Another of couple tough days ahead. From Lemmon to Mobridge is about 100 miles. I will do it in a 40/60 mile break. Last 10 miles being the toughest as I will be in the Missouri River breaks. You know, up hills, and speed down them.

And now the numbers.

68.04 miles
6 hrs
11.31 avg speed
25.48 max speed

628 total ODO
53.13 seat time

I would appear that I have stopped counting dead stuff on the highways. Hiways are littered in this part of the country with dead pheasants mostly.

Have fun and be safe!

Baker, MT to Bowman, ND Day 11

Happiness for me is Baker in my bicycle helmet review mirror.

Had a nice tail wind to the ND border which is 13 miles east of Baker. Made it in 50 minutes.

A few bullet holes but a hardy Welcome to North Dakota

A few bullet holes but a hardy Welcome to North Dakota

And on the other side of road


What a difference an imaginary line makes. It was like night and day. ND highway was new, good shoulder, farms were all nice and upkept. Oil money? Maybe. Less ranching and more farming? Farms being smaller than ranches maybe means more folks to spread the monies around. I don’t know, but there was a visible difference.
Stopped along the highway to have a peanut butter sandwich along side of these huge wind turbines. If you have never stopped near any make sure you do. Turn your car off and just listen to the sounds. Wind is powerful no doubt.

As I’m going up a long hill I notice a couple of spots in my mirror that appear to be bicycle riders approaching me from behind. I pull into a approach and wait to greet them. A couple from Austria on a 2 year round the world tour on bicycles. We talked for about 30 minutes. Wow! Around the world bicycle trip. So Troy if you are reading this, do you remember when we hiked across the Bob Marshall Wilderness and was finished and waiting for Dawn and Michelle to pick us up at the Holland Lake Lodge. Our chests were sticking out and we thought well not a bad trip this was. Not a lot of folks can accomplish this hiking 67 miles, living with grizzlies, roughing it so to say. Well remember when the 2 fellows on bikes pulled up at the lodge and I asked them where they were coming from and he said he was coming from Fairbanks, AK and heading for the tip of Chile. And how my inflated chest deflated. That is how I felt when the bikers today told me of their expo. I have it all in prospective now. I am little they are strong.

Anyway on into Bowman, ND. Nice small city. I’m guessing 5500 residents. ND High School Rodeo Championship here tonight here also. Lots of cowboy hats and horses.

I went out and enjoyed a hand tossed pizza and a beer and came back to the room.

Tomm I suspect I will cross the state border into South Dakota. First town will be Lemmon.

Now the numbers:
49.10 miles
4:06 minutes

560 Total miles
47.12 seat time (ouch)

Stay tuned

Forsyth to Baker, MT. Day 10

Left Forsyth knowing I had 26 miles of frontage road and then the last 20 miles would be on I94. Not excited about the interstate passage at all. A couple of good things about frontage roads is the traffic is very little. The bad thing is that the road going up the hills are pretty steep but the road also comes down fast. My fastest speed was 36mph. Kids don’t do this at home. Only a crazy, tired old bicycle rider can do this. And I know my bike will not fly apart. So about 4 good up and downs and I’m approaching the end of the frontage road. I’m passing a Mt. State Road Dept. building and a couple of state highway workers are cleaning up around the place so I pull in to ask some questions about the interstate drive I will be taking in a few minutes. One thing leads to another as conversations go and I’m asking if they know anything about the 81 mile stretch of highway between Miles City and Baker. I mentioned that I had contacted the Custer Co. Sheriff Dept and they (sheriff dept) assured me that a rest stop was in place and it had drinkable water. Well the deer in the headlight look came on the workers face, and they said no water. I’m destroyed. I think I can make the 81 mile trip with the rest area and water but if not water that means hauling lots of water, and of course water is heavy. And this stretch is a nasty road for hills. What’s a mother to do I’m thinking.

I get on the interstate, and as I assumed the traffic is just terrible. Semi’s screaming by, cars honking ( oh could these be honks of atta boy, wish I could be doing that? ) Not. Miles City could not come soon enough. One thing about the Interstate system is that they can make a hill 5 miles long that I can peddle up rather than the 1/2 miles hills on the secondary roads.

I get to Miles City about 12:30 in the afternoon and I’m pretty tuckered. I fought a headwind the last 10 miles.

LoneRanger but No Tonto.

LoneRanger but No Tonto.

On the frontage road coming into Miles City I see the Mt. FWP District building. I know they have cold water and nice shade to relax a while. As I’m relaxing and stressing about tomm’s 81 mile man killer, I notice a young man leaving the building and heading for his vehicle. Hi’s and how are you’s are exchanged and a conversations ensues. I go over the broader details of my journey and of course the 81 mile upcoming ride comes up in conversation. He says “I will drive you to Baker”. Did I just hear what I thought I heard. He is a saint. Within 5 minutes we are in Ben’s new Chevy truck heading for Baker. Bike is in the back. Well Ben’s story is he is an intern student from the University of Pittsburgh studying wildlife management and is in Miles City for the summer working. We had a great trip to Baker with lots of great conversation. What a wonderful young man Ben is. Thank you for caring for fellow man Ben.

So I’m somewhat feeling guilty about the car hitchhike but honestly, I was looking at some unknowns on that 81 mile stretch. I will get over it. This is a trip, a journey with stories, not a competition.

But Baker, MT. I think I got bed bug bites on my shoulder. Didn’t use the shower either. Not a pleasant stay. Ah, but the Rexall Drug Store was another story. My bum was feeling somewhat irritated. Imagine that. You stick a leather bicycle saddle where the sun doesn’t shine for 8 hours a day and see what happens. The pharmacist whips up this magical concoction of salve and Marlowe is good to go. My hero of Baker is the pharmacist.

Day is done.

Here are the numbers:

45.46 miles plus 82 as it turns out to Baker total: 127
9.98 mph avg. speed
36.28 mph max speed
511 total miles including the hitch.

Thanks for staying with me on this.

Some Images:

Nice entrance to Ranch

Nice entrance to Ranch

Ingomar to Forsyth, MT. Day 9

The converted school house just creeped me out. The pics on the before post maybe look all right from the inside but the outside of the building is falling apart.

Home for some kind of creature

Home for some kind of creature

I’m laying in bed about sundown and the ceiling above me in my room came alive with some kind of pretty good size critters as I could hear them moving lumber around up there. And the occasional animal noise. Pretty sure they were just large rats. Raccoons usually make a growling sound. A few shouts to let them know that I paid money to stay here and they were not part of the fee. The whole building actually smelled of old farmhouse that had been abandoned for years. Mice, rat, urine smell.
I could not get up early enough of course. Did not sleep a wink.
On the road by 6:00 am heading for Forsyth, MT. 42 miles down the road. The road is good, no shoulder to speak of. The white line was the shoulder. And made it to Forsyth about 10:30 am. No wind until the last 10 miles.
Checked into the Restwel Motel and took a short nap. Rest of the day was spent chatting with Michelle and running down some food. Here are a few pics of this short trip.
Today's long stretches of highway

Today’s long stretches of highway

Mainstreet Forsyth, MT

Mainstreet Forsyth, MT

Central Govt. Building.  Courthouse

Central Govt. Building. Courthouse

Every city has a Letter Hill

Every city has a Letter Hill

I have a couple of tough days ahead of me. No easy trip to Miles City tomorrow. Lots of hills and the last 20 miles will be spent on the interstate as the frontage road ends. And then on Saturday is the biggie of the trip so far for me. Miles City to Baker, MT. 80 miles of nothing. I did find out today that the highway dept did put in a Rest Stop about halfway. Running water and restrooms. But still the road to get to the rest stop is very hilly. I hope I can do this.

Stay tuned.

The Numbers:

43.21 miles
4:14 min
10:24 avg speed
27.49 max speed
383 total
38:32 total hours

Roundup to Ingomar, Mt. Day 8

Left the motel about 7 am and headed east on Highway 12. Hoping to get as far as Ingomar. But the immediate goal was Melstone which was 34 miles. Cool morning with mostly cloud cover and a slight cross wind. What a beautiful trip to Melstone. The Musselshell River was high due to all the rain they have had recently. Mostly a flat stretch of highway with a couple of hills that I made it over without walking. Hardly any traffic. Made it into Melstone about 10:30 and stopped at the general store for some water. Wish I would have had some extra time as these general stores really carry it all. Inside the store met this old fellow who gave me the history of Melstone. Railroad town it was. The track is not even there anymore..Old boy had a good smile. Just no teeth. Here are some pic of the trip to Melstone.

Pretty nice background to build a ranch on.

Pretty nice background to build a ranch on.

American Emblem watching over things

American Emblem watching over things

Could this be Roy Rogers and Trigger

Could this be Roy Rogers and Trigger

General store in Melstone

General store in Melstone

I did mention in a previous post that I was not a big fan of hills and hot weather. Add headwind to the list. I think I spent 5 hours going 28 miles. It was in my face blowing about 20-25 mph. I actually had to peddle the bike downhill. Thank God it wasn’t hot. Temp was about 80F is all. And hills also. I just stopped frequently and rested, drank lots of water. It did not let off at all. Made it to Ingomar at 4:30. Here is a pic of the kind of shoulder I rode today.

Ingomar is really just a weedy spot on the map. About 10 families call it home. Sorry to say but it is really run down. It is famous for its Bar/Restaurant though.

I was thinking I would ask somebody if I could pitch the tent but when I was eating dinner I found out that the owner also owned the old High School and that it had be converted to a hotel like. I agreed to pay the $30 for the as the weather outside was getting frightful. But here is the kicker. As I was leaving the bar to get on my bike and go down to the school a fellow pulled up in his truck and got out and asked me if I was the biker who had come through Melstone this morning. I said I probably was a nobody else would be stupid enough to ride bicycle here. He said that is good news for him as he just won $80 on a bet on me. Seems when I was riding through Melstone about 4 old boys were sitting in the bar in Melstone and saw me and they made a bet that I would never make it to Ingomar today. $20 bets I guess. This guy bet I could and the others bet I would not. He won as I made it. He took me back inside and bought me a shot of Crown Royal. He took a pic to verify to his loser buddies. How funny.

Here are some pics of the inside of the old school I will be staying in tonight. Creepy but nice. Suppose their are ghosts of any kind in here.

The old school

The old school


Ingormar is really a rundown place. Here is a pic of what is typical here.

It all looks like this

It all looks like this

Will leave here early tomorrow morning and head for Forsyth. A 42 mile ride. Hopefully I can beat the wind.

Here are the numbers:

61.83 miles
6:44 minutes
9.16 mph avg. speed
24.6 mph max speed
337 Trip OD
33:55 hrs time

6 flying flags
5 road crosses
12 road kills
2 diaper tosses

Ryegate to Roundup, MT Day 6

Left Ryegate about 8 in the morning and was in Roundup by 12:30 that afternoon. Fast ride to Lavina as I followed the river and had a nice tailwind. Stopped at the bar at Lavina to fill my water bottle. A must see if you ever go past this place. Here is a pic of the road and scenery along the Mqusselshell River.

Remember the old movie “Bridge Over the River Kwai”? Looks like the Brits didn’t quite finish this one off.

Bridge over the river "why"

Bridge over the river “why”

A stop at the Bar north of Lavina to fill my water bottle grabs these images:

How did they know I was coming

How did they know I was coming

And my favorite pic:

Cheaper to eat eggs than it is to go fishing?

Cheaper to eat eggs than it is to go fishing?

The trip to Roundup from Lavina was going just fine until the temp got to be 95 degrees. I struggled making the last 7 miles even though it was a flat road. Heat is a power sucker for me. Got to town, found a motel, took a shower (first one in 6 days) and crashed. Walked downtown to grab some food and took these 2 photos.

Too bad but once was a pretty fast little city on the prairie and now is struggling it would appear to me. Main street is about 4 city blocks long and for the most part was boarded up both sides of the street. What once was a booming open pit coal mining community is almost a ghost town.

And now the numbers:

40.47 miles
3:28 minutes time
11.62 avg. speed
31.06 max speed

275 total miles
27:06 minutes total time

3 flying old glorys
2 road fatality crosses
6 road kills
1 diaper toss

Its been fun.

Judith Gap to Ryegate, MT. Day 5

After the cycle cowboy left Judith about 3 in the morning I did grab a few hours of sleep. Marlowe doesn’t do all that well sleeping on the ground. The dew point was high so everything was pretty damp in the morning including my attitude. Crawled out of the tent about 5:30 with the intent on being on the road by 6. I actually beat the chickens up. I was standing around the camp looking at the sunrise when a rooster crows. Really, I beat the chickens up. I know I went to bed before them also. Even the chickens are laid back in this little community.

Check out these wind turbines. About 50 I think. As luck or the Good Lord was with me, I had a tail wind and shot through about 5 miles of these at 16-18mph. They make a very powerful great sound as they are spinning.

There are some critters running the pic also

There are some critters running the pic also


Outside of Harlowtown I ran into some road construction. I’m thinking mud, dirt and everything. It wasn’t too bad.

Stopped and had some brunch at Groves in Harlotown. $8.50 gives you this. Too much for me to finish. Great old hotel that is being upgraded with new owners. Some history here.

Mainstreet in Harlowton looking South

Mainstreet in Harlowton looking South

Next stop was in Ryegate, MT. Easy ride as the road follows the Mqusselshell River. In fact I will be going downstream with the river all the way to Milestone, MT.

Well the stay in Ryegate is one of those stops that will not be soon forgotten. Little town of maybe 100 folks on a cold day anyway. One bar, one restaurant, one small grocery store (forsale). And that is about it. I get into town about 2:30 in the afternoon. Sit around in the city park wondering if it gets any more active than this. Doesn’t. So late afternoon I set up the tent in preparation for a real peaceful night of sleep. So evening time I go over to the bar and have a cold beer, meet some of the locals and then head off to the park where the tent is at. 200 feet is all. It gets dark and I’m just starting to sleep when I hear this diesel truck pull up and a few minutes later I hear somebody yell out ” Hello in the tent, this is the Sheriff’s department. Can you step out so we can speak.” Well I just finished watching the show Naked and Afraid at the bar and that’s exactly what I thinking at this moment.. So I say ” let me get some clothes on and I will be out”. I hate tents, you have to unzip the fly and then crawl out like a worm. So I’m crawling out and thinking what next. And I’m thinking he is probably thinking what the hell is that squirming like a snake to meet me.

Well as it turns out seems somebody called the Sheriff’s dept and reported that there was a old, tired fellow hanging around the park. He also looks distressed and homeless. Well the deputy sticks out his hand to help me get out. That was good. Well the conversation didn’t last that long as he could tell that I was in fact ok and after some credential swapping everything turned out ok. Just a concerned citizen watching over their community I guess. First for me for sure. So back into the tent and nothing left to hear but some girls squealing from the bar direction later on at night. Wow. That was quite a Sunday for me.

Get of of bed and pack up and head over to the restaurant for some breakfast for the road. I walk in door and there are about 6 older local fellows having some coffee. About 6 steps into the establishment and I hear one of them say “so are you the one that caused the sheriff to come to town last night”. How funny. Small town gossip is the same everywhere I guess. I laughed all the way out of town.

A couple of pics:

Good sized cottonwood tree.

Good sized cottonwood tree.

The tent where the tired old, homeless fellow stayed.  That would be me.

The tent where the tired old, homeless fellow stayed. That would be me.

So here are the numbers:

51.1 miles for the day
234 total miles
5 deer
many antelope
6 road fatality crosses
15 road kills
5 flying glorys

And a new category:

2 Diaper toss

Some Notes

It has been a couple of tough days. Lots of truck traffic, some sections of road with no shoulders, or let me say it this way, the white line was the shoulder. HOT! It was 95 today and I struggled getting the last 7 miles in. And to top it off for the last few days and nights I have not had any internet service (WIFI) to help with the Blog. I’m now in Roundup, MT and will be here for tomm also. Am taking a rest day tomm.. This will give me some time to catch up on the travel notes. I have some tough days left just to get out of Montana. Thanks for all who have called me and or dropped me an email or text message. To my FB fans thanks also. I want to make it as much fun for you as it has been for me. Let me do the sweaty work though.


Stanford to Judith Gap, MT. Day 4

When I left Ben’s home in Geraldine, Ben reminded me to make sure and stop at Andy’s Barber shop in Sanford to meet Andy. So as I pulled in Stanford I drove down main street to look for the barber shop. It is not hard to find a barber pole in a small town in central Montana. ¬†Look for all flatbed pickups with cow dogs standing in the back of them barking at the next truck 4 feet away. You know I walked in the barber shop and Andy is cutting a fellows hair. It is like we have known each other all of our lives. I ask Andy if it is ok to camp in the city park and he says why do that when I can stay at his home and have supper and use of his shower. Momma didn’t raise no dummy here. To make a long story short, I spent a great evening with Andy and his wife Alverta sharing stories of local and world. They have a beautiful home. And too open it up to a complete stranger. Turns out we know many of the same peeps. This is what you call Podunk bingo. Here is pic of Andy and Alverta on my way out of Stanford.

Andy and Alverta are my heros on the Day.

Andy and Alverta are my heros on the Day.

And a pic of Andy’s Barber Shop

After leaving Stanford the plan was to head over to Eddies’s Corner and south to Judith Gap, Mt. Easy ride for the most part. Exception being that at times the white line was also the shoulder of the road. Just didn’t have a problem getting to Judith Gap. Of course not having a place to stay it was off to the city park to set up the tent and then to do just a little exploring of the city. Quiet little town for the most part. There is a train track that goes through the west side of the city and the train did blow its horn a couple of times that night. Night was cool for sleeping and the dew point was low as everything was covered with dew in the morning. Not an exciting journey this day.

Looking south down the only paved street.  Actually the highway

Looking south down the only paved street. Actually the highway

If you act up, you spend some time here.

If you act up, you spend some time here.

I guess there was a special moment on my stay at Judith Gap. I’m a poor sleeper. I’m laying in my freezing tent and way in the back ground I hear this screaming 2 cycle motorcycle getting closer and closer. What seems like 10 minutes, actually maybe 9, this motorcycle is in town and proceeds to rip the neihborhoods with his mufflerless crotch rocket. Now he is not looking for anyone, just saying hi at 3 in the morning. Surprised I didn’t hear a gun shot actually from a homeowner. But maybe I’m the youngest in town that night with good hearing. Well after ripping the village he proceeds to the pay by credit card gas pumps at the local co-op. I think anyway. As the cycle is turned off for about 15 minutes. Well I hear it start up again and then you know that sound, the sound of squealing rubber and nothing really going anywhere. I’m sure I could smell burning rubber from my tent a block away. And then he left to village heading north. Only to let us hear him for another 9 minutes. I did swing by the gas station in the morning and was not disappointed by black rubber donuts in the middle of the highway. Happy cowboy you suppose.

For me, a few more hours of sleep. I actually beat the chickens out of bed.

Good bye Judith Gap.

Here are the numbers:

OD for the day: 51.63
Total Time: 4:52 Minutes
Ave. Speed: 10.59 mph
Max Speed: 28.87 mph
Total OD: 182 miles
Total Time: 18:44 minutes

Road Kill: 6
Road Fatality Crosses 6



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