There has been such a drastic change in the landscape since entering into the Rockies at Glacier National Park. Before then a lot of the towns were pretty similar- small, off of Route 2 with really friendly people. One had a pretty cool dinosaur museum, one night I slept under the stars and could see the Milky Way but almost al of the riding was flat, through the plains with no trees, some plaques about the history of the Blackfoot Native Americans in the regions and not much else.
We left Cut Bank, MT a few days ago and were finally able to see the wall of mountains in front of us on our ride into Glacier, starting off with pretty brutal headwinds that made us happy to begin climbing. And once we did start going up it was crazy beautiful! \
We saw trees and mountains for the first time in weeks. That night we camped in Glacier during a pretty narly storm but it was awesome, I was able to fit in a fast hike to a waterfall during the day and the day after we climbed the Continental Divide, up road to the sun! I had some bike trouble, my derailer broke mid climb so I unfortunately wasn’t able to make it all the way up so I was a little bummed out but I got over it and still had a fun adventure on the bus ride town.
We stayed in Whitefish, and awesome place with a really nice downtown for two days after because we had a build day there (our last one!) And we road to Eureka and now Whitefish since then. Our rides the past few days have been some of the most beautiful the entire trip, it’s been incredible, going through the Kootenai National Forest, stopping for lunch near incredible lakes, it’s been awesome. And tomorrow we leave Montana and are headed to Sandpoint!
Powers Lake was a really small town, around 200 people, but a lot of the community came out for dinner in the park and a bike clinic so that was really nice, and we just played games in the park until going to bed so it was a great night. But it was pretty crazy that it was the only town we came across all day, we had lunch in front of a gas station which was closed and that was the only store or even building that I saw until Powers Lake. The day after we rode into Montana, re-routed from Route 2 and ended up at Brush Lake camp ground which was a lot of fun even though there were no trees to be found. We haven’t had the chance to camp since New York so we hung out in the lake and played assassins. Yesterday we had a really pretty ride into Culbertson, with an awesome decent the last two miles and today we are in Wolf Point.
After about 250 miles of flat and windy riding along Route 2 in North Dakota, from Crookston to Devils Lake to Rugby (where we had prom!), to Minot, which we rode into during a storm and then stopped for a build day to help with flood damage from last year, we finally went on a different road (!) into hillier land to end up in Powers Lake, for our last day in North Dakota! It’s been quite an experience.
Right now we’re in Crookston, MN on another day off! We’ve been mostly on the same road, Route 2, since Duluth, so that can be a little monotonous but we’ve made it almost across Minnesota and we enter North Dakota tomorrow.
The build day in Duluth was great, the staff from the Habitat we worked with were really friendly and we had a pretty interesting project that was definitely different from what we’ve done so far- they were moving a house to a new location and we were working on the foundation which had a lot of setbacks from the flooding from about a month ago, so we climbed down and had a fire line going carrying buckets of stone up ladders and pouring them over the side, then there was a huge mound of dirt that we spread out along the bottom, so it was great to feel like we got a lot accomplished.
After Duluth we’ve headed West (and passed our halfway mileage point!) to Grand Rapids, then to Bemidji which is home to the northernmost lake that feeds into the Mississippi and apparently the secondmost visited roadside attraction in the country, a big statue of a blue cow and a farmer and now Crookston, staying at a wonderful, really friendly church. And the local paper wrote an article about us if you want to check it out-
We’re in Duluth, MN right now, right on Lake Superior and according to Gordy who I’m sitting next to this is the last real city we’re going to be in until Vancouver and I think he’s right which is a little crazy to think about. We have a build day here tomorrow which is a nice break, we’ve had a lot of ride days in a row, but they’ve been pretty great.
After Soldier’s Grove we went to Onalaska, which was another beautiful ride, which ended in a town that was a little more suburban. Then we rode along the Mississippi River, to Pepin, WI passing a lot of really small touristy towns along the way. Pepin was really small too, its claim to fame is that it’s the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder so there’s a little museum and a beach and a few little ice cream shops and that’s about it. The next day was pretty epic, there was a thunderstorm in the morning so we had to wait an hour before leaving then we ended up going over hills like we haven’t been on since VT. But it was really fun and after lunch we crossed over into Minnesota and it got a lot flatter and we ended up in the Twin Cities! We stayed in St. Paul. Then rode to the small town of Finlayson and now Duluth!
- Our ride- from Madison to Soldier’s Grove, WI
- Total Mileage: 108
- Top speed: Between 35 and 40 down a 10% grade hill at the very end of the ride!
- Wake up time: 4:15 am
- Departure: around 6:15
- Sweepstakes- Who can write the best joke on the ground gets a free massage from sweep (the two people who ride in the back of everyone)
What I ate today-
- Breakfast at the church: total raisin bran and plain yogurt and half a banana
- Snack: Handful of trail mix
- Second Breakfast (around 9:30): Half a PB and banana sandwich, half a salad sandwich, half of a veggie brot (12g of protein!), dried veggies, and an almond biscotti (thanks grandma!)
- Snack: An apple, more trail mix
- Lunch: Multigrain bagel with jelly, fudge, peanut butter chocolate rice crispy bar (maybe 2), an orange, more fudge
- Snack once arriving: Chocolate protein powder!
- Dinner- Split a veggie chipotle burrito, salad, a brownie
Wisconsin is beautiful!! I think it may be my favorite state so far after VT and NH. First of all Madison is an awesome town, (also probably the most bike friendly place I’ve ever been) it has all these small ethnic restaurants, I had dinner at a Thai Vietnamese Bistro, lots of little coffee shops, an sweet downtown with a street that cars aren’t really allowed on with lots of local stores- ice cream places and bars and pharmacies and clothing stores and it has two huge lakes! We biked out of there this morning after being there since Wednesday, with a day off on Thursday and a build day on Friday. I was sad to leave because I wanted to explore more but our ride today was really spectacular. It got really rural really quickly and the farmland was beautiful- it was rolling hills of fields and trees, and the colors of everything were awesome. I think it had to do with the lighting, it was sort of overcast all day which was so nice because it wasn’t too hot, and it actually ended up lightly raining for a little which was great- but in the morning the clouds and grey blue sky made the corn fields look really yellow green and then there was some red, and then some of the roads we were on were purple! It was so funny and pretty. And there were a lot of cows. I saw regular cows and pooping cows and adorable baby cows, black cows and brown cows and black and brown cows. And there were horses and I saw a few goats and I think that was about it for the animals.
And a few miles before the end of the ride I got some cherries and apples donated for the group! Also we’re staying at a school, which is a lot of fun!
Yikes it’s been nearly a week since I wrote on this- that keeps happening! Something I forgot to include last time is how awesome mail day is (every Thursday) when my wonderful family and friends send me postcards and packages full of great things, so thank you all the Tants and grandma and of course my parents! And today is mail day again so of course of excited.
Today is also great because it’s our first day off! I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Madison, trying to get some work done and catch up on email and whatnot because we often don’t have Internet (and then when we do have it I’m often just too pooped to use it). But so far Madison has been awesome, I was able to walk around a lot yesterday and plan to later today to see where my grandma used to live and check out campus more, maybe go to a yoga class, and all that great stuff.
So since last week we… rode 100 miles into Chicago! Which actually wasn’t that bad because it was really flat, and it rained on us pretty spectacularly for the last 15 miles but it was a nice cool down, and then I got to see Gina, which was the highlight of my week! It was so great going out to dinner with her and we were staying in a tripped out office building called Red Frog Industries, which had a tree house and a zip line inside, it was ridiculous. So we had fun getting a tour there and then she ended up sleeping over. After Chicago we went to Gray’s Lake, IN that was was cool to bike through Chicago (though scary) and Evanston, passed a Bahai temple. Then into Wisconsin, which was a tough day, it was a windy, really hot 70 miles where I got a flat tire, and stung by a bee, a little lost and I got poison ivy on my butt, which totally sucked! But I was happy to be in Wisconsin where there are a few more hills and lots of lakes! So we made it to Janesville, had a build day, had a short bike ride to Madison yesterday and now I’m here!