We’re only a day and a half into North Dakota, but I have to say it’s definitely a top-four state of the trip so far.
We were on the interstate again this morning, but as Wes mentioned, I-95 makes for really pleasant riding. The rumble strip and 10 foot shoulder gave plenty separation between us and the cars, which were few and far between. We traversed rolling hills with a strong tailwind for 26 miles into Medora for breakfast.
Medora is a small town inside Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It is surrounded by a stunning landscape of painted cliffs that looks like something out of a Dr Seuss book. We rode by the Cowboy Hall of Fame on our way to the bike shop there. Wes and Evan picked up some spare tubes since we had two flats yesterday.
36 miles down the road, we hit Dickinson, MT, which is the end of map #4 of the Adventure Cycling map set we’re using. Each section covers several hundred miles of the Northern Tier bike route, so it feels like a big milestone whenever we finish one. While we were sitting inside a gas station for a lunch break in Dickinson, a brief, but heavy rainstorm rolled in. Had it been 15 minutes earlier or later, we would have gotten soaked out on the road!
22 more miles of rolling hills got us to our destination of the Assumption Abbey in Richardton. A friend had told us that the abbey here, connected to St Mary’s Church, regularly hosts cross-country cyclists. We were welcomed in by Father Charles (Father Odo usually helps out the cyclists, but he was busy) and given warm beds and showers. Supper was at 6pm in the dining hall with Father Charles and all of the other monks.
Today was our ninth consecutive day of riding since our last break-day in Whitefish. We’re planning to ride into Bismarck tomorrow and take a much-needed day off there. That means tomorrow is a very special day that I call “break-day eve.” I can hardly wait.