I should’ve seen today coming. Everyone had warned me of the winds in North Dakota, not that I can do anything to avoid them. Today was rough. I planned on riding to Bismarck today, but made it just half way. 50 miles isn’t shabby, I don’t think, given the sustained 25 mph NNW/WNW wind in my face. 😦
I woke up at 5:30 thinking I’d need the extra time today given the 100 miles I wanted to cover. It was still totally dark. Back to sleep. I got up at 6 and was on the road by 6:30 with a foggy sunrise as my companion.
About 15 miles in, the Brits caught up and we stopped for breakfast in Medina, just off of 95. We met a couple traveling to Glacier, and when we asked where they started from, the man responded “Defiance, Ohio” in a way that led me to believe he expected we hadn’t the faintest idea where it was. When we launched into our Defiance stories (baseball cards, the Messermans, coffee shops…) they were delighted! That’s the benefit of going through smaller towns!
After breakfast, I checked the weather (major gratitude to Matt – I don’t know what I would have done without the iPad Internet!) and discovered we were riding into a big system with thunderstorms and strong sustained winds. Bismarck was immediately out of the question, and we agreed to just check in via text about a destination.
Around 12 I stopped at a rest stop to wait out some ominous clouds and take a rest from the wind. TheBrits stopped at the next rest stop. Around 2pm I ventured on to where they had been, but they’d moved on to the next town. We kept checking in, still hoping to make good forward progress and meet up. I stayed on the old highway 10 that parallels 94 despite its suboptimal conditions.
By 4 the winds were around 30mph (if you don’t believe me, or think I’m exaggerating, I will email you a screen shot I took of the current weather conditions. It was absurdly windy!) and I though the old highway turned to gravel, I decided not to rejoin the freeway because it was just unsafe.
I decided to stay in Tappen even though my friends had forged on another 13 miles. Tomorrow is another day, and though the forecast calls for more wind, hopefully it will be more manageable or at least not accompanied by horizontally falling rain! 🙂
I have to say that though today equalled my day in Defiance in terms of headwind misery, I could still appreciate the beauty in the storm, and in the fields around me. I saw sunflowers, more pelicans, and golden haystacks silhouetted against a dark sky. I very actively thought about people in order to keep myself happy. I thought about Mama, and Papa, Noonie, Ivan, Vij, Ruth, Mahesh, Kruiky, the Sanckens, Deacon Perry and Fran, Bean and Shelly, Holly and Rosie, Mark, Matt, Adam, Zhunan, Michael and Sarah and how Bhumi would just tell me to take a break and open more cat food for her… I thought about Sara and Zsuzsa, Szani and Gizi… Horvath Iren, Nagymama, and all the puppies… I thought about all my Bowdoin friends and Boston friends, I thought about all my new friends I’ve made on this trip from all walks of life… It was very inspirational for me! I also received an inspirational text from Ryan, encouraging me to find my “fighting spirit” to “bring out the Flavosaurus in me.” 🙂 Can you understand why I didn’t feel alone!?!
8:30 and it is bedtime. I’m excited for a new day! When I spoke with Mama this afternoon, she reminded me of something Father John says. “Don’t ask God to take away the storm, ask God to give you strength in it.” Today I found that strength in thinking about friends, in being flexible with my plans, and in listening to lots of Shakira. 🙂 No surprises there!
PS here’s my buddy the mourning dove chickie (I think!?) who greeted me at tonight’s campsite!