It is going great! I just made it into North Dakota, which is really excellent. I am making great progress, and I am settling into the lifestyle, which is actually becoming very liberating and fun! Currently I am camping, so I am writing in my tent, in a town called Medora.
My longest day so far was 9 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds long, and it was into some headwinds, which limited my mileage to about 86 miles. My longest day, mileage wise, was 123 miles, and it took just under seven hours! I was biking with two people I met, Stef and Brendan, a recently married 30-year-old couple. We made some great ground. It helps having other people to bike with.
I pedal an average of about seven hours, never less than six and never more (with the exception above) of nine.
I stop for a break to do certain things, such as: fill up water at a gas station (any time I see one), go to the bathroom, change my attire (lose a jacket, or tights), or to take some photos. I make one larger stop around 12:30 to eat lunch, before knocking off the last chunk of miles for the day.
The hardest patch of biking all week was actually a 50-mile stretch called the Backcountry Scenic Byway, Route 13, south out of Wolf Point, Montana, to the town of Circle, Montana. (Sorry for all the commas…). It was about 96 degrees, and was straight as an arrow, but had continuous, and quite enormous rolling hills, that drained the energy out of my legs. It was also in a cross wind. It took about five hours. Luckily Circle had a nice (sort of) grocery store, so I took a lunch break, much needed.
[Hurricane] Arthur? Yes I heard about it from Julia and my Dad! Sounds pretty awesome — I love that kind of weather. I biked away from a fairly large thunderstorm cell today. It chased Brendan, Stef and me from the border of North Dakota all the way to our campsite. Luckily we were able to set up tents and hunker down before it got really gnarly. But for the most part, the heat has been the worst of the weather — I actually love rain. (Maybe because my middle name is Rain?)
My favorite meal was tonight’s meal, the first restaurant dinner I have had in a while. I had a Caesar salad, and a whole 16-inch pizza. The pizza had pepperoni, sausage, pineapple, onion, green peppers, mushrooms and olives… it was really good. I topped dinner off with a large strawberry ice cream, too — to which I added almond butter and honey. I can eat about four square meals a day right now.
My favorite sight this week had to have been the “Welcome to North Dakota Sign.” Holy crap, that was the best moment ever. Crossing state lines is the best feeling ever on a bicycle. It’s hard, to go that hard every day for over a week and still be stuck in the same state [Montana] – but then you see that sign, and it makes all that riding worth it! I am making progress. On a bicyclea
When I get back to Martha’s Vineyard, after seeing Julia and everyone else, I am dunking my front tire into the ocean to symbolize my trip’s completion. And then I am going to just curl up in a ball and digest what I have just accomplished. I cannot really think about what I’ll do, once it’s over. It is such a monumental trip: it changes everything. I am sure I won’t want to get on my bike for a while, though! I’m thinking about getting an event presentation set up for the public on the Island to come see, where I can talk about my whole trip. If there is interest, maybe that will develop.
By the end of the week I hope to be entering Minnesota!