Any Road Tour: Day 33 – Headwinds to Circle

Last night I learned that Wibaux has its own microbrewery and it serves pizza. I walked into town to partake. The pizza was very small but delicious. I decided that in lieu of dessert I would have another beer. It was muy bueno.

So if you’re ever in Wibaux try the Pale Ale.

After a sumptuous breakfast of Froot Loops and toast I hit the road for the 30 mile ride to Glendive. The first 5.5 miles were on the interstate. It may sound odd but riding the interstate is actually enjoyable. You get a massive paved shoulder protected by rumble strips. And the grades are gentle. Sadly the interstates still get headwinds.

I left the interstate for 12.5 miles along Ranch Road. This road goes through massive cattle ranches. They don’t seem to have all that many cattle though, but the views ain’t bad.

After another 7 miles on the interstate I took an exit and turned left into Glendive. Had I known better I’d have taken a right to go to a restaurant to top off my fuel tank. Downtown Glendive was all but abandoned. I crossed an old railroad trestle, festooned with flags. It had been turned into a bike/ped bridge over the Little Yellowstone River. The park on the other side in West Glendive was having a show-off-your-old-car event.

Not seeing any 1991 Specialized Sequoias I moved on. I found a gas station and sat down to a fine repast of shrink wrapped sandwich, corn chips, and soda. While eating I read the diesel pump: 146 gallons. $452. I wonder if the vehicle had solid rocket boosters.

I made a decision to continue on another 48 miles to Circle. I knew there would be increasing headwinds and rain but the greater Glendive metropolitan area wasn’t floating my boat.

The next 21 miles were a gradual uphill, I went from about 2,100 feet to 2,700 feet. It was as slow going, about 9 mph.

In Lindsay the maps I have said there was a gas station convenience store. When I got there it was closed. It was a good thing I stopped in West Glendive.

The next 9.5 mikes were uphill, another 500 feet. Out here in the plains you can see weather from miles away. I could see that I was riding between two large storms. I could hear thunder. I ate a two-day old peach then u stopped to put on my rain jacket. Down came the rain. I didn’t mind since it kept me cool and took my mind off the increasing headwinds.

By the time I reached the peak, the rain had stopped and I was dry. The downhill to Circle would have been awesome but the wind spoiled the joy.

I was pretty happy to see the town of Circle. It has an old motel that has free WiFi and shag carpeting.

When I checked in I learned that Martin, the Swiss bike tourist I woke up in Gackle after my 136 mile romp from Fargo, was also staying here. We got together for dinner in town. I had pizza and beer. (I bought enough for breakfast.)

Martin is taking the Northern Tier route from here. I’m taking the more southerly Lewis and Clark Route.

There are no services between here and the next town called Jordan. It should be interesting.

As of today I am 4 days ahead of my planned itinerary. I expect to give at least one back to headwinds.

Also, in the next few days you may notice that the URL for this blog has become

Finally: does anyone know what this is?

Miles today: 78

Miles so far: 2,473

Any Road Tour: Day 32 – Badass in the Badlands way

Before we begin today’s tale, I need to clear up something from yesterday. I did indeed cross into the Mountain time zone late yesterday.

Last night I splurged for a decent hotel and had dinner at a sit down restaurant. Salad and jambalaya. The portions were huge. The walk back to the hotel was mostly a waddle.

At hotel breakfast this morning I met Peggy an Jeff who were traveling to Milwaukee by bike. They are known on Crazyguyonabike as PB&J.

The way west was aided once again by a mild tailwind. I must have been good because Bike Santa is sure being nice to me. The road climbed gradually and rolled a big bit I was having no problems. Then I realized that’s The Mule had achieved a milestone coming out of Dickinson.

The number and size of buttes increased today as I rode west. I startled a pheasant in the tall grass next to the road and he blasted up and away. I also spotted another fawn.

Frankly I thought the green hills and buttes were quite pretty. After a few miles the route took me into I-94. The shoulder is paved, ten-feet wide, and has a rumble strip so I felt very safe. Interstates tend not to have steep hills which made my legs happy.

I noticed the soil near the road was not brown. Instead it was white like a sandbox or gypsum in wallboard. I spotted a couple of cool looking mesas in the distance. Then I went around a big grassy hill. When I came to the other side of the hill I saw it. The Painted Canyon of the Badlands in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Not only had the terrain changed in what seemed like an instant, but it was spectacularly beautiful. I rode to the scenic overlook, parked my bike, and walked around for over a half hour.

The road to the scenic overlook contains a cattle guard, a metal rumble strip that catches the feet of large animals. The large animal here is the buffalo. Sadly I didn’t see any but when I got back on the interstate I could hear and see prairie dogs. (No pictures though because I was going downhill.)

I left the interstate to visit Medora, a funky western town that looked cheesy to me.

I stopped at a pub for lunch, a steak salad. Delish.

When I started up again the wind direction had changed. The headwind increased in intensity for the rest of the day as a storm passed through, mostly to the south and east.

Also the hills increased, or seemed to. A bike tourist zoomed by me in the opposite direction. He waved as told me that the food in the gas station in Sentinel Butte was great.

This gave me something to look forward to as I fought the wind and the hills. It also began to rain, not hard but the raindrops were big and cold.

I stopped at the gas station that looked like the one in Mayberry. Inside three men were packing up a burgers and snacks lunch. They offered it to me but I had eaten only a couple of hours earlier. Instead I asked for some ice cream. One of the men paid for it. Then another mad opened up a container on the table. Cookies. I had one, again for free.

Heading west was one big hill then a long downhill through rollers to the town of Beach. Here the route took me back to I-94. And the storm started building over me. Fortunately the road began to angle to the northwest. Into Montana. Note the selfie path.

There were two signs that just might have been related.

For the last five miles I had a strong tailwind. Despite very tired legs I flew along at 17 miles per hour until I exited the freeway at Wibaux. All the rain had convinced me to grab a hotel. I found one just outside of town in a gravel road. No lie.

Time to take the gas station dude’s recommendation and head into town for some pizza and beer.

My thanks to the people of North Dakota for a pretty awesome week that began with colorful ASL bike racks and ended in jambalaya and gas station freebies.

Miles today: 76

Total miles: 2,395