Thursday, June 23, 2011


Ming and I biked the Bike the Border ride last weekend.  140 miles - 38 the first day, 68 the second day, 32 the last day.  The ride went from Glenburn, ND, to Berthold, to Mohall, and back to Glenburn, in a big circle north of Minot.  The 9 hour drive each way was definitely a pain in the a**, but good company, so there was lots to talk about.

I apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures.  My camera white compensation has died and in any lighting, it now takes pictures with a greenish tint.  Replacing it is a goal for the week.  I'm not sure if it's related to loaning it to three eight year olds, but I have my suspicions based on the timing of the issue.

Me in Glenburn, imitating a hula tree art project.  They didn't put this together just for us.  The guy had several pieces of art in his yard of a similar sort, many involving beer bottles.  There were only about 68 people on the ride - 150 was the limit for the ride - because of the weather and flooding.  There was water everywhere.  The fields were saturated. The roads and parking lots were buckling.  The hills were sliding loose.  Ducks were EVERYWHERE because everywhere was comprised of giant lakes of water in fields that wouldn't go away because the ground was already saturated.  What I remember about the area when I was a kid was how dry it was - not this year.  Because of the water in the fields and the mosquitoes, they let us sleep in the local schools each night.  Ming and I never so much as cracked a tent pole or sank a stake.  There was even air conditioning.  The only impediments to a good night's sleep were wooden basketball floors and Neil the Canadian PM snoring after drinking too much.

Ming took this picture in Mohall.  It's Chiveworthy.  I may have to ask him if I can submit it.  Mohall was weird.  Their school had cages for the lockers and equipment.  Not like lockers.  More like prison cages with locks on them that sealed off areas.  And there were no stall walls.  Which sucks if you need to relieve yourself.

The best thing about the second day was that it was beautiful out.  70s and sunny the whole 68 miles.  A definite difference from the previous day where the last 6+ miles were uphill into the wind while it was raining.  Of course, that made the 38 challenging, so there you go.  The nice thing about ending up in Berthold after the first day was the principal at the Berthold school was super nice.  She actually drove people around in the bus to avoid the rain, and did a smores cook out on the front lawn.  I was happy to spend money in her town, even if, as we heard, the local restaurant shut down an hour early because the owner couldn't handle the (68) bicyclists coming in for dinner.  Ming seemed to like the second day fine until we got to the hill at about the 63 mile mark.  Big hill.  Very big hill.  I think between the hill and running out of water, he was ready to be done.  But he still wasn't ready to enter Dad's Back Door.

We ate at the Paragon Cafe in Mohall.  I strongly recommend against it.  It wasn't bad.  But the waitress was brusque.  Exceedingly so.  I thought it was just Ming and me, but later, in the gym, we heard the story making the rounds about how crabby she seemed to be toward everyone.  For dinner we ate at the burger joint instead.  They looked overwhelmed by the cyclists, but put in the effort to make sure food was moving and still be pleasant.

This is from Minot, after the ride, at the bookstore.  Ming looked for a book to read throughout the ride.  Several Cenexes and three towns, and he couldn't find so much as a good magazine.  He borrowed my copy of Zombie, Ohio, and enjoyed it.  Maybe people are afraid to go in the bookstores because they're furry porn shops?

Charlie's, where we ate breakfast after the ride.  Apparently a favorite of anyone over about 70 in Minot.  That's a good sign if you're a breakfast person.

Ming and the ape.  Two women brought the ape along as they travel with it everywhere.  We met the ape, some local teachers, two women who were married to guys working at Minot Air Force Base, a guy who works at the base, Erin the teenager and her dad (I pointed this out to Eryn, insinuating she should go on a ride with me), Neil the Canadian PM, Archie the old guy (who laughs when he pees - sorry if you're reading this Archie, but it's true), the organizers of the ride, and a variety of other folks including a postmaster from closer to Williston and Bob from Minot.  We met a group of women aged late 30s to early 40s as well.  I joked that Ming should take his ring off, at which point he admitted it was already off because his wife didn't want him to lose it on the ride.  Maybe she'll rethink that next time.

The pump at Donnybrook.  I used to pump water here into large cans to haul up to the farm for Grandpa Harry.

Me at the Donnybrook sign.  Ming said I was disrespectful because I farted in the field.  I pointed out I was just leaving a bit of myself in Donnybrook.

Ming reading Zombie, Ohio.  This was our regular sleeping quarters.

Mohall was home of the bombers.  I thought this was amusing because there's that saying "build schools not bombers".  I bet they don't use that saying in Mohall.

All the bikes in a hallway.  No one wants a wet seat.  No one wants wet feet either, which is why I bought shoe covers.  Then put on a brand new pair of sneakers, not realizing they were much bigger than the sneakers I used to try the rain covers.  Doh.

From our trip up and back.  A Nazi Native American.

Ming in Glenburn, readying his bike.

Jamestown, home of the giant buffalo.  I took Ming there just to check it out.  I learned the other day that Audrey, from work, is from Jamestown.

In Jamestown, the slippery slope has slidden.  Ducks and alligators openly kiss.

The last day was short, but windy.  Erin's dad told us the wind would pick up later in the morning until it was at 10-20 mph, and earlier was better.  So most riders set out about 5:30 a.m.  It was a good choice, because the last three miles were some serious pedaling for not much speed.

I mentioned it was wet.  This is what many of the hills looked like.

Another picture of hills:

And Audrey sent me this picture of Canada.  This is the same river that flows through Minot.  When we were in Minot, it looked just like the picture on the left.  I can't imagine it looking like the picture on the right.

And finally, a nice video of our drive into Minot.  We had Pooteewheet's new car.  Hope she doesn't mind that we drove it through a river.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. I'm surprised they didn't cancel the ride considering the amt of water! Would you do it again?

Scooter said...

I had fun - I think I would. Although definitely not by myself. Having another person there was the only way to stay sane. And next time I'd bring a board game in my extra pack.