We left Bismarck, crossed the Missouri, and immediately started seeing hills and cattle ranches.
Passing by the State Capitol building. The classical Capitol building burned in 1930. The legislature wouldn't appropriate enough money to replace it so they settled for this Art Deco skyscraper. In its defense it only cost $4.50 per square foot to build, and is 80% usable space. It's still controversial.
Just outside Mandan, we passed this tribute to a beloved rancher, erected by his son in 2003. It's 3/16" steel sheets, cut with a plasma cutter. Naturally, we looked this up on the Internet.
Around lunchtime we started looking for a shady spot to have lunch. This is looking forward:
This is looking back;
Marie was starting to despair of finding any shade. We found this one tree:
We saw 2 other transcontinental cycling couples (one on a tandem pulling a trailer) and one single guy. One couple, Bob and Connie from Tucson, stopped to talk and we made friends. They are just slightly older than we are, and their final destination is a child living in Bethesda MD. Funny, our final destination is a daughter-in-law (and her spouse) living in the Bay Area. They are also blogging and we are going to mine their posts for lodging information. When we checked into the B&B tonight, their names were the last ones in the guestbook!
As mentioned yesterday, we see grazing pastures, and a few miles later we see crops. This is the biggest continuous wheat field I have ever seen.
North Dakota wheat is spring wheat- the winters are too hard for winter wheat. It requires a 100 day growing season and ND averages 120 days. It yields a flinty kernel that with a lot of grinding, produces "Minnesota patent" flour. It is ideal for bread because the proteins trap air in dough, so it rises quickly.
My pictures do not convey the rolling hills and glacially carved landscape. But trust me, we had both hills and a 15-20 mph SSW wind all day. At one point Marie intoned "I'm having a dark night of the soul." At that point the next town was 10 miles away. So the dark night continued until we came to New Salem, home of "Salem Sue"
but more importantly, the Sunset Inn.
where we self-medicated with our drug of choice:
Soon the smile returned!
This kind of stop really brings you back from the brink. Water, air conditioning, encouragement from the locals we met, and ice cream- somehow it gives you the will to continue.
On the horizon, a windmill farm. They were rolling today.
Glen Ullin, where we are tonight, is a shriveled husk of a railroad town. The business district was probably 50% derelict buildings. The only place that served food was Doc's Saloon, pictured below. The Cafe is closed and JR's is a bar that's only open weekends.
For dinner, we went with their signature dish, hamburgers. The only other choice on a weekday is a chicken Caesar salad. It was fine, and the beer was cold. The folks in the background are playing tournament bridge, not eating. I bet they get a lot of practice in the winter.
The local motorcycle club has its own building on Main Street. Note the sign in the window.
There are a lot of crews working on the railroad tracks. We see them working during the day and they fill up the motels. They have trucks that can drive on the tracks. I think that would be a fun feature to have. (Right up until it stopped being fun.)
Tomorrow we head to Dickinson. It's uphill but I am sure we are up to the challenge. I will admit this is not the easiest riding we have ever done. In fact it's seriously challenging. It would be impossible for us without ice cream.
Another thing that raises our spirits is the encouragement we get from friends, either in the blog comments or in private emails. It really means a lot to us. So thank you all for your support and solidarity; it's very tangible to us and it's a larger part of our daily consciousness than you would imagine.