18 August 2012

Journey to the center of North America: Part 8


Way back in July 2010 the Man of 3 Names and I set out from Grand Forks, ND on bicycles to sojourn to the Center of North America (Rugby.) I continue this story as we head east on US 2 from the cairn in Rugby, ND.
changing size shoulders on US 2
From the Center of North America 3 Names and I got on US Highway 2 and headed east towards Devil's Lake. Little did I know that this would be the longest part of any journey I have ever taken on 2 wheels.
As we leave Rugby we meet a lady and her family that are doing a cross country bike tour. She had a support van so we knew we were really the hardcore ones out on the wide shoulder. We were doing good time since we had a strong tail wind pushing us.
Not long after I experienced a rear flat. Luckily we were close to a wayside rest where I was able to repair it in about a half hour.
Back on the road we began to notice our large shoulders diminish to less the a foot of usable space. Pretty scary since cars and large trucks generally sped by at high speeds but fortunately many pulled into the far left lane to pass us. We pressed on through Knox then York adn eventually Leeds and Niles.
Soon we were approaching the Devil's Lake region. Devil's Lake has been a problem for a quite a few years since it has been extending its reach beyond its normal boundaries because the lake has no natural outlet. Water flows into it but little flows out. It is a huge international issue because Canada does not want that water from Devil's Lake to flow north via the Sheyenne River to the Red River.
As we neared Church's Ferry we began to see road construction on US 2 which makes for real troublesome riding. But fortunately for us, sometimes a whole new lane would be coned off offering us the rule of that side of the highway. I also need to note that at this time it was getting dark. Traversing through this construction was hard enough but without good lighting we were finding it a bit more difficult. The construction slowed us down considerably.
the road is no more
We encountered portions of road became all dirt and gravel. It was surreal at times-  it looked like we were in a war zone of destruction. However, I never recall actually seeing the lake itself.

Darkness falls and we resort to riding in the dusky twilight with only my headlight as illumination through the maelstrom of construction. At nearly 11 PM we arrive in the city of Devil's Lake and nothing is open- no grocery stores or Wal-Mart. The only things opens were bars and gas stations. We watch the Empire Builder arrive and depart from the rail station then pick up a bit to eat at a gas station.
At this point, we have ridden at least 100 miles in the day and potential camping is 10 to 15 miles away. We concede and head to a motel and get the last room they have for $80. The construction on US 2 had bloated the town with construction workers, so we were fortunate to get a room.

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