11 August 2009

Tour de Valli: Stage 6 to Sibley Crossing


The following in the continuing narrative of my solo bike tour in North Dakota in early July.
It was July 4th. It never seems special anymore since I am usually on the road to somewhere. Well, last year I was actually at a celebration at a friend's homestead. I even met up with a rock star that evening.
Today I met a motor cycle couple from Iowa. They had pitched camp next to me at the campground. We talked a little about biking. They mentioned RAGBRAI, a popular (if not legendary) tour in Iowa from the Missouri to Mississippi River. I had read about it a number of years ago in Outside magazine. We also discussed the flooding in Fargo and in Iowa.
After chatting I headed to the actual Pioneer Village next to the campground. This collection of old buildings with associated antiques is quaint and free. There was even a building they called "Louis L'Amour Writer's Shack," which featured artifacts from the prolific author's original hovel for writing. If you did not know, L'Amour grew up in Jamestown and then flew the coup in his late teens.
On the other end of the Pioneer Village is the world's largest buffalo statue. Below the statue site on a rolling prairie, a buffalo herd roams freely. One of the herd is albino and named White Cloud. Another albino was born there May 31st. The herd is part of the National Buffalo Museum, which has a museum adjacent to the Pioneer Village. I regret I did not visit it as I needed to be on my way.
It was noontime and I hoped to bike quite a bit today. So after provisioning at Super Walmart I headed back into town and up the hill and then out toward the Jamestown Reservoir. I should also note that I missed quite a few attractions in Jamestown due to time constraints. There is an old fort, a cathedral, and the sports hall of fame.
I cruised north and then east on a county road with some wind resistance. A band in a van stopped and asked for directions to Wimbledon. I told them to continue straight on the road I was on. They thanked me and invited me to their concert in Wimbledon. About an hour and half later I arrived in Wimbledon. I refilled water at the city park and decided waiting to 9pm to see the band would not be ideal. I continued pedaling east.
There is not much of interest to talk about here. The route was mostly the same farm fields over and over again. But eventually the terrain did change and in the distance I saw the sentinals of North Dakota-- wind towers. What I saw was actually the Ashtabula Wind Energy Center built last year. I will speak more on that later. The towers were still a great distance away.
As I neared Lake Ashtabula region I made the decision to go to Sibley Crossing instead of the Army Corps of Engineer's East Crossing. It turned out all right.
I spent the night at a crowded privately owned campground. The proprietor just barely found space for my tent. I was glad because I would not be looking forward to riding in the dark to someplace else.
After I got situated and set up camp, I walked over to beach to watch part of what was to become a 4 hour fireworks show put on by visitors to the camp. After an hour and a half I decided to check out. The fireworks kept going to clear near midnight. Nonetheless I fell soundly asleep.

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