July 13. Day 30.
We woke up from a somewhat restful sleep in Gackle to finally having the wind at our backs! Everyone going east was really excited and everyone going west was dreading going into the wind all day. The terrain was also going to be mostly flat with only a few small hills. Ethan was really excited because he wanted to have at least one day where we rode 100 miles and the conditions were perfect.
I didn’t want him to get to ahead of himself, so I told him we could try. We had three places we could stay at 57 miles, 75 miles, and 105 miles. We started out and almost immediately realized how people can go 100 miles in one day when you have the wind at your back. It was awesome. We only wished that we had had this wind sooner! We cruised through the first 15 miles and I barely needed a break or a snack. Usually, we would have had to stop several times already. It was the easiest riding we had done on the entire trip so far.
We did stop a few times to make sure we were drinking enough water and I think we took a snack break after 30 miles. The day really just zoomed past as we biked at an easy 15-20 mph pace. We got to our first stop (57 miles) by noon and ate lunch at the Little Yellowstone Park/Campground. I don’t think we’ve ever ridden that far before noon before. We relaxed a bit knowing that we only had 50 more miles, but we also wanted to get back on the road in case the wind changed.
Coming out of the park we had to go up a big hill, but after that was more flat ground. It started to get pretty hot, which slowed us down a bit and I started to get tired. We still made really good time to the second stop in Enderlin. We went straight to the gas station for cold water, snacks and air conditioning. Ethan asked if I wanted to stay there, but the park in town had no bathrooms and I was still feeling like I could continue biking. I thought to myself “am I seriously about to ride my bike 105 miles in one day?” I always told Ethan that I never thought I could do that. Never say never I guess!
The last 25 miles were tough because it was hot and the day was catching up with us. We made it to Kindred (105 miles!!) by 5 and went directly to the gas station for pizza. We treated ourselves to a large pepperoni and 4 big, homemade cookies. As soon as I tried to get up from eating is when I realized how tough the day had really been. Even though the riding was easy, it was still 105 miles of pedaling. My legs were super sore and it was hard to stand up straight. Of course, Ethan was fine and probably could have gone another 20 miles.
After our enormous dinner we headed to the city park. When we got there, it really wasn’t clear if camping was allowed so Ethan went to check out another park while I asked the pool attendant if we were in the right place. He said yes, and invited us to use the pool showers. They were just that, pool showers, and open to the changing room. We have bathing suits though, so we didn’t care. After showering we hung out under the pavilion and in the hammock, then set up the tent once the bugs got too bad.
We got a surprise FaceTime call (video chat) from our very good friends, Nate, Ariel, Mike and Kath! It was so great to chat with them and really was the cherry on top of a great day of biking. Our spirits were soaring and we felt a new found excitement for the rest of the trip. Minnesota was only a few miles away and we went to bed excited to finally get there!