75.69 Miles / 1492.54 Total Miles
1765 Ft. Elevation Gain / 64,865 Ft. Total Elevation Gain.
We had a 76 mile day ahead of us, so we woke up at 5 AM to try for an early start. The hotel served breakfast, so no need to set up the stove or worry about washing dishes. I don’t know what took so long, because we didn’t get out the door till 7:25. Our route followed Old US Highway 10 Scenic Byway, for the most part, with slight cross winds, very nice pavement, and lovely scenery. Since it was Sunday, there was no large truck traffic and hardly anything was open in the towns we passed through. I was hoping we would arrive in one of the towns on our route around the time they had a church service–any church service–so we could go to church, but that didn’t work out.
The scenery was little towns (Taylor, Richardton, Hebron and Glen Allen) separated by crops, cattle, large grain silos, and wind turbines.. At about the 2 hour point, we are usually ready for a cold drink, but nothing was open anywhere, so there was no way to get a cold drink. Ed was running low on water, so he filled his bottles with water from the spigot at a cemetery we passed, and now his water tasted like embalming fluid.
In Taylor, I decided that I need to take a welding course at one of the community colleges, when I get home. Really cool metal signs and yard art were abundant.
In Richardton, we visited the historic Assumption Abbey, home to 59 Benedictine monks. Communion was going on, when I stepped in, followed by a lovely musical number performed by 6-8 men playing recorders. Yes, cheap little plastic recorders. It sounded peaceful and lovely.
In Glen Ullen, we finally found a Cenex gas station and convenience store that was open on Sunday, and they were serving delicious, hot single serve pizzas and cold beverages. After a little break, it was time to get back at it.
After a pleasant day of riding on mostly smooth roads, our route put us on the interstate for 13 miles, because there were no other paved roads to take us east. The traffic was heavy and the rumble strips were INSANE. Instead of a 6-8 inch wide strip running alongside the white fog line, these rumble strips were almost the width of the shoulder, with 6–10 inches of space to the left of them and 12-18″ to the right. And they weren’t really a strip. They were a grid that was stamped in the asphalt every 40 feet. When we passed the rumble strip on the right, often there were plants hanging over the shoulder, and sometimes plants have stickers, so that did not work for me. On the left side, there was sometimes only 6 inches of space between the white line and the stamp. For 13 long miles, I had a death grip on my handlebars, and looked at nothing but my rear view mirror and the rumble strips in my path. Okay, I’ll admit that I occasionally glanced to the right and left to see if there was anything out of the ordinary to look at, but there wasn’t.
In New Salem, we set up camp in the city campground and had access to water, electricity and a porta potty–a nice, clean porta potty, complete with hand sanitizer. Ed did some checking and learned that the city pool has a shower, so we grabbed our swimsuits, some fresh clothes and a few hygiene items, and headed out for a swim, so we could shower. Then we were off to the local Cenex gas station, hoping they served some hot food, which they did. They even had some delicious scoop ice cream, so I left there a happy camper.
On the way back from the Cenex, the huge cow on the hill in front of us reminded us that this is the town where we were supposed to look for Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein, at 38 ft. high and 50 ft. long. She was way WAY up hill, but it looked like there was a road up that hill. So we took our freshly showered and fed bodies and put them to the task of climbing a steep dirt road to get to the top of Salem Sue’s hill. It was totally worth the effort.
We dosed ourselves with bug spray and sat at a picnic table under the ramada, till bed time. And as we sat there, the wind picked up and the temperatures dropped, to the point that I had to don a jacket. By the time I went to bed, I’m thinking the wind was up to 20 mph, and it blew most of the night.