New Town to Williston, ND - day 26
We are beginning to think that we are gluttens for punishment. Our day today started out very similar to yesterday with 25 miles of hills and 15 to 20 mph crosswinds. When we finally turned west on highway 1804 winds had already started to die down (there went our tailwind) and we did 30 miles on fairly flat terrain and then finished it off with 27 miles of hellacious hills - one hill was approximately 3 miles long.
Since we left Minot we have left the flat plains of North Dakota behind and have encountered increasingly higher and longer hills. We suspect that this is a sampling of what we can encounter in Montana and then we will get to the mountains. As of tonight, we are only 30 miles from the Montana border. In spite of the hills, wind, rain, and heavy truck traffic we have managed to increase our daily average to 60 miles per day over the last 26 days. Yes, we are going to pat ourselves on the back for that one.
We met two people today that were long distance biking but we just waved and everyone kept biking due to the heavy traffic and weather.
Although the roads were challenging and grueling at times the scenery has been absolutely fantastic. Leaving New Town, this morning, we rode along the side of Lake Sakakawea for the first 25 miles and then on to rolling hills and multiple oil rigs drilling for oil. A local person, we spoke to, said that two years ago the area had roughly 20 oil wells in operation - they now have about 200 and they are expecting to increase to 400 before things level off. This definitely is a boom area and is the reason for lack of hotel availability and heavy truck traffic.
When we first started out biking this morning John noticed a clicking noise coming from the front wheel that had't been there before. So we stopped and he set the bike up on the kickstand and spun the front wheel and realized that there was definitely a problem developing with the bearings in the front axle. There was no bike shop until we got to Williston so we had no choice but to ride on to Williston where we stopped at the Bike & Skate shop as soon as we arrived in town. The bike mechanic took the front axle out and cleaned up the bearings, reassembled everything, lubed it and it now looks like we are good to go again. We also decided to store our bike at the bike shop for the week while we meet up with Matt & his family at Custer State Park.
We have rented a vehicle and will be taking a week off from biking to give our bodies a chance to recuperate from the last 26 days of biking.
Total mileage as of today is 1,564 miles - that ups are daily average to 60 plus miles per day. Not too bad for two old farts going west!