Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day Two Hundred-fourteen, 090930 - Hill City, ND

Day Two Hundred-fourteen, Date Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Time in Saddle: 7:43
Distance for the Day: 55.77 miles From Carey To Hill City, ID
Accumulated Trip Distance: 10,800 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 4954’/4924’, Highest: 5174’ Accumulated: 1188’
Speeds: Avg: 7.2 mph, Max: 26.1 mph
Weather: 33° started out overcast, but began to clear, but cloudy around most of the horizon
Expenditures: $19

I woke up at 6:56am, got up at 7am, and was ready to roll at 7:31am. The rain of the previous night was very light and sporadic, and the wind dried most everything pretty well, which made me very happy (I don’t like packing away wet stuff), but it was still quite overcast. I stopped off the nearest mini mart from 8:15am – 8:40am for a donut and hot cocoa breakfast, and got some food and drink supplies ($8), too. I rode out of town, and continued along my route, when I hit a road construction project that was about 4 miles long, and wasn’t quite practical for me to ride. So, once again, from 9:50am to 10:05am, I got a vehicle assist of about 5 miles to get past it all. It was 40° with a 10-15mph headwind. My fingers and toes were close to numb, so the lady giving me a ride turned up the heat, and I was able to thaw out for the few minutes it took to drive through the construction zone, and the entire ‘town’ of Picabo. There was almost nothing to Picabo; just one gas station and some utility buildings. Still, this was a beautiful area in a desolate sort of way, with large fields and mountains of broken, jagged volcanic rock. Like nothing I’d ever seen before, I found it pretty amazing. As I continued along, I noticed that the clouds I had been under not long ago were now kind of breaking up above me, but were still solid behind. Then I saw that the clouds above me were becoming more sporadic, while those behind had solidified, and seemed to be raining. I also noticed, after yet more time, that the storm front was eating up the terrain I’d passed about an hour before. This storm was following me, and I seemed to be keeping pace with it, if not outrunning it! This kept me pumping a bit harder than usual, and for longer periods of time – I did not want it to catch me up. Along the way, I got buzzed by a large, white van, that missed me by about a foot while going about 60mph – not sure why that happened – if it was intentional or not, but it was a rare, close encounter that woke me up. Meanwhile, the storm that was trying to catch me seemed to have given up, and I was now definitely far ahead of it. I stopped to get an early dinner in Fairfield burger, soda and fries ($11) from 3:45-4:45pm, and by 7:11pm sky above was completely blue except a few puffies. I could still see a ways off to the east, behind me, and it looked pretty horrible/stormy. I rode until it was nearly sunset, when I found a stealth camp location in a water runoff ditch next to a dirt side road off the main road (N43 17.995’ W115 5.839’). It had a relatively clean, flat bottom, and was less than 3’ deep. I brought my trike down into it to hide, and set my tent up. After getting inside, I read my book, munched and drank soda for a while, before hitting the hay. As I lay there, it occurred to me that if this was an irrigation ditch, I might get flooded-out if someone opened a valve to water a field. But, then I figured out that it couldn’t be an irrigation ditch, but just an oversized rain gutter; I could tell it hadn’t had water in it for a fair long time, it had no pools or moist spots, the weeds were upright, and didn’t look like they’d ever been under water, etc. The wind was blowing down the length of the ditch, but got lighter, and by sunset at 7:30pm, it stopped altogether.

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