Today we will be entering Montana! It's only about 1000 miles long...no big deal.
It seems like forever since we last posted in Bismark. All the days since are kind of blurred together so this will probably be all mixed up as specific days go. Manda and Billy decided to get a head start out of Bismark (we're a little slow getting ready...okay, I'm the slow one). We took off about an hour later, using the river bike trail to get out of the city. It was a nice easy start to the day. As we got out of town the Tailwind!!! picked up and we cruised at around 20mph for a good portion of the day. We eventually caught up with Manda and Billy and stopped by the river for a lunch of PB sandwiches, bananas, and Fig Newmons. There was a family camping and boating there and one of the kids saw that we were out of water, so he ran up and got us all bottles of water from the cooler - definitely made our day! After lunch, we stopped about 15 miles down the road in Washburn to refuel. Anona and I were anxious to make use of the tailwind and keep going, but Manda was done for the day. We've really loved hanging out with the two, but decided it was best to split up. Unfortunately, we just have a different pace. It's too bad that it didn't work out, but it was fun while it lasted. We hope they have a great journey the rest of the way and come visit us when they get to Portland! (they're planning on taking a year and riding around the whole U.S.).
That night we stayed in the city park of Stanton, which was actually packed with campers. We ended up having to set the tent up in the middle of the playground! After taking hot showers : ) we got our new stove out to cook our gourmet Ramen Noodle dinner. The stove was running for about 5 minutes when disaster struck! The flame went out and we couldn't get in lit again, after trying for a good hour. We were so hungry and incredibly pissed off at our new stove! Two days and it's broken! While eating our slightly undercooked Ramen, a guy ( a boilermaker named Scott who was in town fixing the power plant) walked up and asked us what we were up to. We told him about the trip and about our broken stove, and then he invited us over for beers and to sit around the HUUUGE fire he was building. We probably stayed up until midnight laughing and joking around with Scott. We had a great time that night, even though we didn't get much sleep.
The next day we managed to make it 100 miles, er...99.7! It was getting dark and we still had 15 miles before the next town. We tried stopping at a bed and breakfast, but there was no one home. Then a few miles later we saw a sign for a campground, but there was a split in the road where the arrow was pointing and both roads were gravel. We flipped a coin and went straight for a mile...two miles...three miles...? No Campsite! At this point the sun was down and we were dreading the 3 miles of gravel we'd have to ride back, and then going the extra 15 miles to the next town (really I think we were both ready to just sleep by the side of the rode). Riding back, a car stopped and told us directions to the real campsite. A couple miles later on another gravel road, we found a place that resembled a campsite, set up the tent and collapsed into it. We'd wish we'd gone the extra 15 miles to the next town... An hour later we heard rumbling in the distance. Earlier that day we thought we'd outrun the storm we'd heard was coming through. Apparently that wasn't the real storm. The rumbling got closer and closer and then all of the sudden the wind and rain it HARD! The wind was causing the tent to cave in on one side and I spent much of the night with a hand up, thinking the tent might collapse on us. No sleep for us! The storm seemed like it would never let up and we really thought there might be a tornado because at one point the wind completely switched directions and caused the other side of the tent to cave in. Oh and guess what...the tent leaked! Everything got soaked again and we had hundred miles in the legs and a night without sleep. What a miserable night.
The next day, we decided to "treat" ourselves. We rode about 35 miles, in our lowest gears, (there was a really bad headwind) to Newtown and stayed in the 4 Bears Lodge. We ate at the buffet there for dinner and breakfast! It was like the night before never happened.
After a late start (we had to stay at the buffet as long as possible!) We rode into mostly headwinds about 15-20 mph the whole day, but managed to make it about 75 miles to Willston! The last 20 miles had brutal hills though, and we were completely bonked when we made it into town. We planned on camping in the city park after feasting on Arby's 5 for 5 (Anona got dried fruit at the grocery store). While we were trying to find the park, a bike commuter chased us down and offered her place for us to stay the night! We were so happy she found us. Faye took us home and pulled out everything in her fridge (Anona got to drink chocolate soymilk)! She even made brownies for us while we were taking showers. This morning she had a dozen farm fresh eggs boiled for us and a bunch of tomatoes to take with. I couldn't believe how nice Faye was. She completely made us feel at home and even offered to let us stay there for a rest day (very tempting)! Thanks for everything Faye!
Now it's off to Montana!