29 July 2009

Tour de Valli : Stage 5 to Jamestown

This is a section of the continuing saga of the Tour de Valli, a solo journey on 2 wheels in North Dakota that was taken in early July 2009. Stage 5 begins in Valley City.

I am unsurprised to learn that the previous evening I slept on a railroad bed. This certainly explains the difficulty in trying to stack out the tent. However, for $7 I am not arguing since it included a decent shower.
Valley City is noted for its bridges and so after grabbing a bite to eat at the grocery store I set out exploring on foot. Of the 8 bridges (pdf file) I saw about half. The photo above is the bridge unto the Valley City State University campus (Alma mater of The Champ.) I poked around the empty campus and then pack through the city park.
Later in the morning I packed up and discovered another grocery store (Lever's) which was closer than the other. Then looked through the library to find a North Dakota map gazetteer. The overwhelmed library did not.
At noon I decided to take lunch at the Pizza Hit. The buffet was great deal at $4.99. I ate my fill of pasta and pizza and salad and returned downtown to stop by a thrift store and the county museum. It displaced the typical historic artifacts including German Army items from World War I, an exhibit on the missile silos which were once common in the region, and a model railroad with a scale model of the high line bridge. I think it was around 2Pm that I decided I needed to get going.
I had one problem with starting out to Jamestown, I could not find the connecting road. I biked to edge of town and the Interstate cut off any routes. I looked to my Nuvi to help me and it did not fail. However, I would need to scale the valley to connect with the road.
After exerting much effort getting to the top of the valley, I biked west believing this would now be a trouble free stage. I thought wrong.
The only known paved road for miles (not counting 94) that connected Valley City to Jamestown had barricades for road closure. I decided to press through because the detour would be major.
Traveling down this stretch of Old 10 I saw nothing unusual to suggest a need to close the road. Then I saw another set a barricades and there ahead the road was covered with water! It was about the length of a football field but juse beyond was the end of this stretch of road. I investigated the water by wading out halfway. The pool was about 2" to 3" at the deepest point (see photo below.) I begin a portage of my panniers then followed by my bike. I couldn't ride it through these depths so I had to walk it.
I reloaded my bike and progressed to crossing the road when I saw another road block ahead. I ignored it and went on. A low lying section ahead had flooded as well but a crew was out with a large tanker truck clearing the road of water with pumps. Relieved I waved to the crew as I passed.

Little of importance happened as I cruised over this sometimes well worn road to Jamestown. I did take note that there were plenty of lake-like places in North Dakota. As I recall, these are chiefly water fowl production areas. And boy there was a lot of fowl. Besides the mallards I kept seeing this odd white headed ducks.
I entered Jamestown on the northside and coasted down the hill into the main section of town. This was a big town. Bigger than I expected.

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