Saturday, June 23. We had wonderful digs last night thanks to a local Napoleon icon, Tony Braun. Tony purchased our rooms for us above the Downtowner Bar.

20120624-233529.jpg Something about Tony is really genuine. Friday was a tough day for us, and we pulled into town at 7:00 p.m. He immediately appeared out of the bar and instructed us on how to get to our rooms. The next morning, over breakfast, we would learn that Tony was born 6 miles outside of town, moved into town as a child, got married and moved 6 miles out of town, then moved back into town, into the same house. The constraints of his domiciles have not diminished his smile, enthusiasm, and benevolence. We were exhausted and greatly appreciated the mattress. Tony told us to meet him at the cafe across the street on Saturday morning.
We were expecting more headwinds (along with a planned 95 mile day) so we rose early and ate a huge breakfast because we knew we would need the energy. Tony and his high school friend Arlie joined us. Tony is an insurance man and Arlie is a farmer, and a character. I learned that the area farmers practice “no-till” farming. The soil is never churned here because it increases evaporation of water, the equivalent of 1/2″ per year. This equates to about 7 1/2 bushels of wheat per acre. To sow a crop, The farmers use a machine that pushes seeds through the debris and soil to the proper depth at the proper spacing. Arlie also told us about the “dinosaurs of the prairie”. This is a long row of old threshing machines that are arranged up a ridge line a few miles out of town (modern farming equipment has made them obsolete). Arlie is the man responsible for the artwork and says it was once featured in National Geographic Magazine.


Before we left, Arlie told us that we would be cycling through the “pothole prairie”. Many years ago a glacier created a multitude of small depressions that fill up with water, some of them remaining wet all year. There are no drainage rivers in this region which is good for about half of all game ducks on this continent. They use the potholes for living and breeding. We saw lots of ducks and heard lots of frogs. We also surmised that no damn pothole was going to stop a North Dakota road;

The wether today kept the unaccustomed headwinds in our faces but they weren’t quite as strong as the day before. Services and watering facilities have been sparse. We had nearly run out of water yesterday only 35 miles into the day and it was likely to be a similar day. In Gackle both Ty and myself purchased a gallon of water and carried it to avoid dehydration.

The clouds were rolling in and the cooler temperatures helped us to conserve water. I eventually carried that gallon of water for 50 miles, all the way to our campsite ( a gallon weighs about 8 1/3 pounds). We were concerned about a huge thunderstorm that was shadowing our route to the north. It could have been 20, 30, or more miles away. Eventually it crossed in front of us and disappeared to the south. The late day sun emerged and in seconds the wind shifted 90 degrees to a cross direction, slowly returning to a headwind after a few minutes.
We reached our last provision point 6 miles from Little Yellowstone Park, our campground. The owner told us that there was no water available at the camp so I strapped another gallon of water to my bike to use as a rinse-off before crawling into my sleeping bag. Ty also carried a bag of ice!

Little Yellowstone is a great setting, down in a canyon.

20120625-002618.jpg In most instances, campers would be sad to see a crowded campground. There were some ham radio operators setting up antennas and the pavilion was crowded with the celebrants of a five-year olds birthday party (Levi, he’s a good kid). They had a giant inflatable “bounce house” in operation. The party-goers immediately approached us and told us that they had a giant cooler full of lemonade. My knees swooned at the mere mention of the sweet elixir. Eventually they would introduce us to everyone, feed us sloppy joe’s, and even donate $20 to Mac and Drew for the cause. As for myself, I felt like Yogi Bear (which I most certainly was).
Bonus photo; the city of Gackle;