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
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
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
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
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.
A: the cows are still staring.
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
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
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
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
the people continue to impress me - got a personal
tour of the
, 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
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....