Day 28: Napoleon, ND to Gackle, ND

Brian Richardson

In an article for the REI Co-op Journal, outdoor-adventure writer Kelly Cordes defines the term ‘type 2 fun’:

“Type 2 fun is miserable while it’s happening, but fun in retrospect. It usually begins with the best intentions, and then things get carried away.”

Today we had a lot of type 2 fun.

When I woke up at 6:30, it was raining. Our options for the day were to ride 38 miles to Gackle, where we could stay at a bike hostel, or ride 98 miles to Little Yellowstone, where we could stay at a primitive campsite. We decided to take the Gackle option and slept in a little longer.

When I woke up again at 9am, it was still raining. We slowly packed up our things; we were in no rush to leave the warmth of our sleeping bags to go bike in the cold rain. With only 38 miles to do, we figured we had plenty of time to grab breakfast at a bakery down the street. We sat inside, enjoying the warmth and sipping hot coffee for a long time before deciding to bite the bullet and head out into the weather. This was at 11:15, and it was still raining.

As soon as we turned on to HW 34, we were blasted with a headwind that would last for 37.5 of the day’s 38 miles. The wind made us work harder and ride slower, but it also brought on a deep chill when combined with the rain and 50 degree temperature.

We took turns ‘pulling,’ or riding in front to block the worst of the wind. I would pull until I got too tired, then rotate to the back of the line to draft until I got too cold, then rotate to the front and repeat. There were no services between Napoleon and Gackle, so we didn’t take any breaks during our 3.5 hours biking. We arrived in Gackle, drenched and freezing cold, and it was still raining.

Gackle got some rain today

Gackle got some rain today

In Gackle, we spent some time looking for the Honey Hub Biker’s Oasis that some other cyclists had told us about. It didn’t show up on our maps, but a local who saw us out in the rain looking confused showed us where to find it. We weren’t sure what to expect from the Honey Hub, so we were thrilled to find out that it had warm showers and a place for us to sleep indoors.

The Honey Hub, Gackle, ND

The Honey Hub, Gackle, ND

The hostel is run by a family of beekeepers who spend their summers here in North Dakota, where the weather is more gentle for their 12,000 bee hives.


Zoe and Gayle, two cyclists on their way from Maine to the West Coast, had already arrived for the night and had no problem making room for three more, soaking wet, smelly, exhausted, people. The five of us went to dinner together and shared stories from the road. It was still raining as we walked back from dinner to the hostel.

Gayle, Zoe, and Wes relax inside

Gayle, Zoe, and Wes relax inside

It’s interesting to note that, in Kelly Cordes’ article, the first example of type 2 fun he mentions is “riding your bicycle across the country.” It’s also important to realize that a key word in the term is “fun.” From all my whining about biking in the rain, it may seem like I’m having an awful time, but the truth is I had a lot of fun today.