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Bicycle Trip to High School Reunion

Date: June 13, 2015

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

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

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