Today we figured out why the ACA wanted us to ride on Hwy 46 for over 100 miles: it's one of the few paved roads in North Dakota.
So even RideWithGPS routed us on HWy 46 for the first 10 miles. We were glad to turn off, even though it was on to a gravel road.
Soon, RideWithGPS was urging us forward onto what appeared to be a grass track.
So our choice was left or right, with the GPS clanging "off course" for miles. Fortunately, with the western grid system of roads, we rejoined the route. Although it was beautiful, it was all on gravel roads.
Soon we came to a road labeled "scenic" on the state map. There were even historic sites.
We could see the town of Kathryn in the distance.
But even Kathryn only had one paved street.
When we left Kathryn, Roy wanted to take the paved highway, but I insisted we follow the scenic road indicated on our route plan. Big mistake.
It was quite scenic, but after 20 miles on gravel, Roy said we'd never finish the day if we didn't find some pavement. So we backtracked a mile to Hwy 1 and lengthened our route by 10 miles.
We passed by the most amazing lakes, full of wildlife.
Notice the grass bending toward us. We had a headwind most of the day.
We weren't sure whether this was someone's classic car collection or an auto junkyard.
Even our paved road turned to gravel for awhile. Just when everything felt hopeless, we entered Spiritwood. It had a bar where CocaColas, snacks, and sympathetic conversation restored us.
We were the most interesting thing that had happened to our bartender all day. Thus refreshed, we were able to continue 16 miles to Jamestown.
We were quite taken with how suburban it seemed--golf course, little league fields, big schools, subdivisions, a college, municipal buildings. There was even a bike path across the Interstate. It was 7 o'clock before we reached our hotel.
So tomorrow we are routing ourselves on roads near the Interstate, hoping that they are more likely to be paved. We are feeling more kindly toward the ACA tonight. There is virtue in pavement for skinny tired bikes.