Biking the Pageant Trail
Where: Canada, Canada
Miles Today: 00068
Total Miles: 01701
Reading: Inflight airline magazine
  * mechanical failure
  @ crash
  ! epiphany
Messages for Bill
The most recent segment:

Tales from the road:


well, i guess that's it. i rode back to williston, nd today - the nearest airport.

i crossed the border yesterday afternoon at ambrose, nd. there was one lone canadian border guard, alone and completely bored (not much goes thru ambrose) who didn't hear me ride up as he was setting his vcr clock. he sounded a bit suspicious when i explained that all i wanted to do was cross the border and turn around; he finally warmed up to the idea of riding a bike alone for a month with the goal of doing just that, and decided to skip the more extensive checks. we joked about it a bit, he took my picture sitting on the 1925 treaty marker, and gave me a canadian pin from the bag which he was saving for today, canada day.

i spent last night in crosby, nd. if you ever want to know exactly what the inside scoop is on a little town, have 4 hyperactive teenagers explain it to you. they know who everyone is, who is sleeping with whom, who's psycho, gay, pregnant, hot, and why the reverend has a shiny head.

i'm pleased to report that cruising is alive and well in the heartland - it's the main activity of teens in every small town i saw since nebraska. the kids and i sat in the park for hours slapping an intense blitzkrieg of mosquitos (hatched during the june 9 rain according to the ag report on the radio) and they told me everything while screaming "i love you" at every other car that passed.

so that's it, no more riding. and no more cows. which, by the way, i've come to believe that it's of questionable judgement to have every square inch of public land that's not in a national park chewed up, trampled, and shat upon, all in the name of cheaper burgers. screw the cows. and not just because they've been giving me dirty looks for a month.

about the ride:
- miles border to border: 1614
- miles total: 1702
- wheels turned 1.4 million times
- pedals cranked .4 million times
- 28 days riding
- 21 gallons of warm gatorade
- 0 breakdowns, 0 flats!


I made it!


almost to canada! i'll cross the border tomorrow or the next day. then, back to williston to fly out. can't believe i'm almost there....

i went through alexander, nd today. notable for its "pioneer museum", and the fact that the largest billboard in town is the ten commandments.

i've been stopping in the pioneer museums in the towns i've been going through. turns out that most of them are less museums than huge thrift shops (minus the pricetags). they take donations from people in the area, and as one volunteer put it "they have a hard time refusing anything". there's a number of cool things, it just takes a while to find them. an exception is bowman's museum, where the volunteers got funding and got trained in curation, and have made a fantastic small museum.

the one piece that sticks out in my mind from today was a corkscrew on a shelf with a billion other kitchen implements (dating from the 1800s to the 1980s), with a hand-lettered sign: "corkscrew, which removes cork from the jug".


ok, tim thinks i'm being paranoid about the cows. today a herd not only looked up in unison, but ran towards me up to their fence. it's as if they were staring into my very being, as if to say, "come wiiith us. you'll be saaaafe with ussss."

i made that last bit up. but the ranger at the theodore roosevelt national park did tell me to stay well clear of the buffalo, evidently they HATE bicycles.

the park is a very eroded part of the missouri national grasslands - a beautiful huge area of, well, grass - mesas, super green, endless waves of grass. i didn't bother looking as i went by, however, because i was preoccupied with keeping my heart from exploding in 99 degrees and 60% humidity.

the people here really do talk like they do in "fargo" - at the post office today, i almost busted up when talking to the clerk. i barely suppressed the urge to say, "SO, THAT WOULD BE YOUR FRIEND IN THE WOODCHIPPER, EH."

guess what's going on in town tonite? no, not the miss north dakota pageant, but "homefest" - a summer celebration, featuring a "street dance". not sure what that is, but what the hell, i'm going. it stays light until 11 pm up here....

Editor's note: Bill expects to complete his mission on July 1st around noon. Unfortunately, the live webcast I had been planning won't work because I discovered that the cord on my webcam isn't 1523 miles long.


Temperatures in the high 90's.


FAQ for the trip:

Q: "do you stink at this point? you must stink. how bad do you stink?"

A: not really. because i only took 8 pounds of gear in a daypack, it's a lot of hand washing in the motel nightly.

Q: "are you having fun? i can't tell from the website if you are actually enjoying yourself?"

A: i realized the other day after another question like this that it may not appear from what i write that i am enjoying myself. i am. this trip has been amazing so far. but what good would it do for me to write every damn day, "i rode through the most beautiful land, blah blah, i saw things i never thought i'd see, came closer to fulfiling a decade long dream, blah blah blah hawks soaring above me, wierd and interesting people blah blah." instead, i'm writing about the different stuff, the interesting things and people.

like this evening, walking towards what was referred to as the best restaurant in town (where the beans are so tough they taste like peas and there's just a hint of sterno hanging on to the baked potatoes), i passed an out-of-business storefront on main street which had a few upended half naked dolls, a styrofoam cup, and a plastic horse with cobwebs; and taped in the window a hand lettered sign from a child stating: "hazel and mackenzie's barby pincic" (sic). that, yes THAT is the kind of stuff which seems to make the trip all worth writing about.

Q: ?

A: the cows are still staring.


Brutal headwinds.


Editor's note: A few people have wanted to send messages to Bill. He is able to check out the site every couple days, so I thought I'd put together a page with messages from his friends. If you'd like to send a message, just email me and I'll put it up for you. You can see the messages here.


time to rotate the tires. hey, forget mount rushmore (ok, don't forget it, it is amazing), there's a family building a sculpture of crazy horse just outside custer, sd, that when finished will be the biggest sculpture in the world.

speaking of mount rushmore, i was feeling pretty good about making it this far, until at the base of mount rushmore i met pat and cat patterson, taking 1000 days to ride their bikes AROUND THE WORLD.

i didn't plan it this way, i promise - but the miss south dakota pageant happened to be in town. i couldn't resist (besides there wasn't much else up) so i went to the preliminaries.

i heard the contestant ms rushmore say: "this is my little sister courtney, who peed on a rock for me for good luck." ms hot springs seems to have added: "ezerclampsio artist where i plan to thalabee the audience." ok, maybe the sound just sucked in the gymnasium, which was decorated with fake records and poster paint, a la 5th grade play.

all feminist-minded people will be happy to know that the "swimsuit" competition has been changed to the "lifestyle and fitness *in* swimsuit" competition. it now consists of the contestants parading around in swimsuits and high heels.

hearing a rendition of "you really got me now" by tenor sax capped off the night, at which point i left early. overall, the whole experience was like having your skin slowly stripped off, and salt rubbed in.

now does it sound like i'm not having fun? i am! i enjoyed the hell out of it! go miss south dakota!

the ride i did today is one of those ones that i pictured when i thought about this whole trip, a 15 mph tailwind, cool temps, through forests and sand dunes, neither of which i knew existed in nebraska. windmills in the hills. endless skies. the people in the panhandle are quick to point out that their part of the state (and they themselves) are very different from the rest of nebraska

quite a change from yesterday when i got my ass thoroughly kicked by a 25-20 mph headwind, taken down by a dog, and pelted by small black biting flies.

the people continue to impress me - got a personal tour of the chadron museum , including their hundreds of pencils and pens, by evelyn.

Editor's note: I've rewritten a little history with the help of Bill. You might want to take a second look at the last few entries.

my favorite sign so far, outside of bridgeport: "guns & ammo, minnows, leeches, snacks".

back to that cow thing. really, it's odd. a cow that will completely ignore big rigs flying by 15 feet away, will stop chewing, look up, and stare until its own ass blocks its view of me. then it'll swivel around and stare until i'm gone. i think it has something to do with being not a vehicle and not a person - therefore some kind of odd animal? maaaybe it's because my bike is covered in fur and has bar ends that looks like horns? the same thing seems to go for deer, antelope, and prarie dogs. all staring. staring staring staring. hey bud, what did i ever do to YOU? not to mention that i caused a panic in a goat farm yesterday, just riding by....

Latest update: Tue Jul 2 08:00:09 EDT 2002