Monday, August 5, 2013

Another One Bites the Dust

Within the span of a week, I've set foot in two countries, two provinces and two states. All these place names have given some variety to the otherwise monotonous landscape of the vast plains. The part of North Dakota I've gone through has been particularly flat, which is great when the breeze is with you, but an effort when you're fighting against the wind.

I had considered taking a rest day in Rolla since the forecast was calling for rain all day, but I decided to push on in the late morning when it simply looked like heavy cloud. I put on my rain gear, but I was spared any sort of downpour. The headwinds were strong, though, and at times I was down to my middle gears to go against some of the strong gusts. The tall grasses and bullrushes were dancing to the windsong by the side of the road.

I found my way onto US Highway 2, which is a wide divided highway with not much traffic. There were parts with no shoulder but everyone passed me one lane over like I was a car. I got into Devils Lake in the early evening and opted to stay in the town's centre thinking I could get better options for places to eat, but I was wrong. As in many small towns in America, the action has moved from the quaint main street to the strip malls out by the main highway. Luckily, there was a supermarket a couple of blocks away, and I came out with a meal that was cheaper and healthier than anything from a restaurant.

Exciting downtown Devils Lake ND

Woke up to another grey morning, but it soon cleared up. It was completely sunny by noon, and with the sparse traffic on US 2, a shift in the wind made for a rather pleasant day of riding. Heading into Grand Forks, I wrinkled my brow at a narrowing of traffic being squeezed onto one side of the divided highway as they were reconstructing the other side. I had no choice but to remain on the uncompleted side instead of the "sui-side". When I got on to the newly cast concrete surface, I expected the construction worker to shoo me off, but instead, he smiled, gave the thumbs up and said, "Give 'er a go, dude! You'll be the only one on on the road for ten miles!" It was a cyclist's fantasy, 16 kilometres of brand new Interstate quality surface all to myself with the wind at my back!

Eating salad out of a bag

Brand new concrete all to myself!

Tapped into a wifi hotspot and booked a cheap motel room through Expedia as it was calling for thundershowers overnight. I got to the motel and they told me they did not get my reservation and even if they did, they were fully booked anyway. I got on the phone to Expedia, and not only did they find me another room at no extra cost, they gave me a $25 refund plus a $100 coupon. That's like two free rooms on my budget :)

North Dakota has some of the nicest rest areas I've seen

This section of US 2 is named in honour of the 164th Infantry Regiment which has some interesting links to the Philippines which is reflected in their insignia. 

A terrible surface, but at least they have a bike path leading into Grand Forks.

Grand Forks sits on the Red River which is also the state border — East Grand Forks is in Minnesota. I'm expecting it to get slightly more rolling terrain as I go forward.

“Are you ready, Are you ready for this,
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?”

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