I woke up to stillness and the sound of a chorus of birds will everyone how excited they were to be alive! It was still overcast but the winds were calm and there was not rain. I made breakfast, broke camp and headed out on the road towards Bismarck. My Accuweather app told me it was partly sunny. I’m sure was – somewhere above the clouds. Time to look for new weather app. I now use Weather Underground. As I rode on through the day the sun did break through the clouds to a beautiful day. There were also fewer big climbs today but still plenty of rollers. The calm winds made the day more pleasant.
All along the sides of the roads are tall grass. These make excellent wind socks to let me know exactly what direction the wind is blowing. They also make great hiding places for pheasant and grouse. They are used to the cars and trucks whizzing by, but don’t know what to make of a bicycle. So when I am beside them and no more than 10 feet away – peacefully cycling through the serene countryside – suddenly there a big fluttering and squawking and a pheasant or grouse leaps into the air and flies away! It is quite a startling experience and happens multiple times a day.
Rolling into Bismarck, I found a Taco Bell on my round and stopped for a late lunch, then crossed over the Missouri river for the first time to the city of Mandan. There weren’t any campgrounds nearby so I chose a motel near a grocery store. The owner of the motel was really nice and let me wash my cycling clothes in his washer/dryer. This would mean clean and dry clothes for the next day!
I went to the grocery store for food for the next couple days and for a second supper.
One of the things I was realizing was that I couldn’t keep up the current pace. I decided to drop by days down to 50 miles a day. I had planned a rest day in Mandan, but planned instead to rest in Dickenson, breaking the trip to Mandora from 2 days to 3 days. This would likely mean taking a shorter route to Missoula, but would make for a more relaxed trip.