When I woke up today in General Sibley State Park, it was very cloudy with some wind. I checked my phone, and it looked like rain was headed my way.
So I quickly tore down my tent during a light sprinkle and loaded my bike.
I noticed last night my stove’s fuel canister was on the low side. I decided to ride back into Bismarck and stopped at Sheels which is a local sports store.
Sheels was so awesome. Great gear and and camp stuff like REI, which has been my fave for a long time. I simply walked the aisles and admired the gear. Bought 1 fuel canister and headed to parking lot where the rain was coming down in earnest.
Stopped at Panera’s for a bagel and met an older lady that wanted to know where I had started my trip. She was very nice but made it clear she thought I was crazy!
List of Equipment Failures
I took my Garmin Edge 1000 in to charge and discovered yet another equipment failure. The power button no longer works on a bike computer supposedly designed for the long haul bike rider. Spent some solid bucks on this technology as well. It joins the list of other failures like my Nike shoes, REI camp chair, and custom built dyno front wheel. This trip is killing things!
I didn’t realize that I was next…
The trip out of Bismarck was excellent. Wind on my back as I rode over the Missouri River headed west.
Bluffs and Buttes and Wind
Once you leave Bismarck on 139 west, you soon encounter lots of climbs ranging from half a mile to climbs that last several miles. The terrain changes from gentle rolling hills to bluffs or buttes. You soon climb to 2500 feet and experience great downhill sled rides where you hit speeds of 35 mph even with all the panniers creating large frontal air dams.
At the same time, the wind increased in intensity. My phone’s weather app noted to expect wind gusts of 20 mph. I have experienced many 20 mph rides. This wasn’t one of them.
The wind was out of SE so it did provide an incredible push. But that south vector was a big problem as it continued to shove me off the road. The bluffs often had sharp drops with little or no shoulder. Downhills became very dangerous as I could hardly hold my bike on the road. Later I learned this area experienced 50 mph gusts during this wind storm.
As I entered the town of New Salem, I was getting really worried. The next town of Glen Ullin only had a city park camp, and I was worried my tent would not withstand the wind battering. Also I have a history on this trip of finding camps closed due to virus. If Glen Ullin didn’t workout, next town was Dickinson which is another 50 miles.
Need to Find a Safe Place
I have to admit to being really worried. As I sat in New Salem, I realized this is a very small town. I tried to fix lunch downtown at city park, but everything kept blowing away. Settled for some dried fruit and granola bar. It was around 2 pm at this point and I was at a crossroads….go or hold?
I noticed a couple walking down the road. They told me there was only one motel called Arrowhead at I-94 and they thought it was closed. The next motel he knew of was 35 miles back at Bismarck against the gale winds.
I rode the mile to Arrowhead and met Patti. She quickly set me up in room 20. I was the only one there.
I can’t tell you how relieved I was to get this room and get out of the wind. Also I was getting phone notices of severe weather coming in on the backside of this wind storm.
Just after I checked in, I got a text from my son Jesse that he worried about me for some reason and hoping I was ok as well as saying a prayer on my behalf.
Prayer answered and thanks!