06 August 2010

Journey to the Center of North America: Part 1

I finally am getting to writing about my bike trip a month after it happened. As usual it will come in installments. Hopefully you'll enjoy my adventure I took with the Man of 3 Names.

Early in June, or May,  I got an e-mail from the Man of 3 Names. He wished to join me on my annual bike jaunt if it was OK. It was.
I left most of the the route planning to him since he had much more time than I and excelled at planning. In fact he could have won a gold medal in planning if he hadn't gone into landscape architecture.
3 Names set out a tour through Northeastern North Dakota that would pass through Pembina Gorge, the Turtle Mountains, stop by the International Peace Garden, and then go the geographical center of North America in Rugby. We discussed a train option that would reduce some time on bikes but Amtrak didn't support us. No baggage stops or something in Rugby.
On the evening of July 2nd we set out from Grand Forks. We got a rather late start by most standards mostly due to me needing to assemble and back my panniers and eat. There was enough light in the evening for us to get to our destination, at least so I thought. I brought along a Garmin Oregon GPS in case our sense of directions expired.
I could tell when we reached the edge of the city, the bugs came out like mad. But to make matters worse, 3 Names (or David as I will refer to him occasionally) was experiencing major issues with his bags. His bags kept falling off. The issue compounded itself until we found ourselves reassembling his bags in the middle of nowhere at midnight. Fortunately I had some good lights. David had none.
After the issue had been temporarily remedied, we made a dash through Manvel and then onward to Prairie Chicken WMA, a small wildlife management area where one can camp for free. I needed to use the Oregon to find the exact location (It worked like a charm in finding the prairie road into the WMA.)
We arrived at somewhere near 1 in the morning and discovered it was more rugged than anticipated. We set up camp on the very edge of the WMA and scurried into our tents to avoid the bugs. The tall grasses acted like a mattress and we entered a much deserved sleep.

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