Thursday, July 15, 2010

July 14, 2010: Williston to New Town, ND. 86 miles

The route we were supposed to take this day involved leaving Williston on route 1804 and riding it all the way to New Town, a scenic ride of 77 miles. At the last minute the leaders decided that 1804 was too dangerous, so they rerouted us.

We rode out of the motel on to Frontage Road alongside US 2 for the first several miles and then on to US 2 itself. We rode US 2 until mile 6.6 and then it was on to county road 6, which was an excellent ride! Paved blacktop 2 lane road with very little traffic. Perfect riding, complete with a tail wind. I stopped to take some photos of North Dakota horses at around mile 18 and upon resuming the ride got an immediate flat tire. Upon changing it I found that the boot I had put inside the rear tire a couple of days ago had split apart. Sherrie supplied a patch and I patched the booted tire, gave it a shot of CO2 and rode into the 20 mile sag, where I took it off and purchased a new tire. By the time I put the new tire on I looked around and all my riding partners were gone.

So I rode solo the rest of the day. After turning left on 123rd street we had a cross wind for a while, but soon enough (at mile 26) we were back on US 2 and the tail wind was extreme! We flew down that road all the way to Stanley! There was no shoulder for the first 8 miles (photo below), which made it a bit dicey, but after that we had a nice wide paved shoulder most of the way. The 42 miles into Stanley took no time at all--the winds were at our backs at 25 MPH, gusting to 35. The terrain was rolling hills; apparently this is the hilliest part of ND. Farms and ranches gave way to oil and gas wells at all stages: flaming, partially capped, and fully functioning pumping wells.
It was all fun and games until we turned south on to county road 8 (at mile 70). Suddenly the lovely tail winds turned into vicious cross winds. The gentle keening of the wind on the top of the hills when the wind was at our backs became a dangerous howling that pushed us further into the roadway where there was no shoulder and many trucks. There were oil trucks, water trucks, semis, double bottom ore trucks.... all interspersed with pickups and passenger cars. And to think we were put on this road because 1804 was thought to be too dangerous!!!???

Many riders pulled themselves off the road when they felt vulnerable and threatened by the heavy truck traffic. Dianne pulled off when a nice young man in a red pickup truck told her it was totally unsafe to be on that road on a bicycle. Kathy L and Jennifer pulled off when a trucker headed right toward them from the head-on direction to see if they would flinch.

I quit when the Mountrail County Sheriff pulled me over--blue lights flashing--and told me I could not ride any further on that road, and that the road we were meant to turn on (CR 23) was even more unsafe and we were not allowed to ride on it either! As we were about to load my bike into the Sheriff's pickup truck the Woman Tour van pulled up behind us and had room for one more person and one more bike. So I vanned it in to the hotel. They had already picked up everyone that had been behind me.

The Sheriff then stopped at the corner cafe where there was a group of riders and gave them the same talk. They had to wait for the van to drop us off and come back for them. He found Sherrie ahead of everyone on CR 23 and ferried her and her bike to the hotel.

I rode 86 miles; Dianne rode 79; CJ and several others rode 93 miles. Sherrie was the leader (as usual) with about 98. The tour leaders told us that we are still EFI since the ride was cancelled in Stanley and is to resume in Stanley after the van and sag car shuttle us all back there in the morning.

We stayed at 4 Bears Casino and Lodge, a giant Casino on the Fort Berthold Reservation. It is becoming even larger with massive ongoing construction. The rooms were nice, the buffet dinner was OK, but there were children running up and down the hallways screaming at each other all evening. Not what we wanted to hear after such a stressful day.


Lynda Anne said...

The girls have been asking me to print every picture of horses you've taken! Glad they pulled you off that crazy road ~ we prefer you in one piece & not flattened!

Lise Brown said...

I am glad the day turned out the way it did and that everyone is safe. You guys really need to be proud of yourselves. I know Ray and I are proud of you!

Lise Brown said...

I am glad the day turned out the way it did and that everyone is safe. You guys really need to be proud of yourselves. I know Ray and I are proud of you!