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  Day 18   Alexandria to Minneapolis, MN 62 miles / 1,750 feet of elevation Sunny / warm start, 56° but fall is coming!   We learned that snow has fallen on some of our route already – we just snuck in these rides on the Northern tier route in this year.     We feel sad this journey is coming to an end but blessed to have been able to complete one half of the Northern tier this year.   Spring / late Summer 2022, Minneapolis to Bar Harbor, Maine! We continued our ride for 62 miles today on the nicest bike path we have ever encountered.  As I said in yesterday’s notes, Minnesota’s roads stunk out loud and their shoulders were non-existent.  But this bike path is super fantastic.  Smooth, safe, quick riding and great views all around.  This old railway route, converted to a bike path, is really special. The old rail route connected farming towns outside of Minneapolis St. Paul and today the towns have embraced the bike 100 percent.  (See photo with bike and “roadside repai
  Day 17   Fargo, ND to Alexandria, MN 107 miles / 2,155 feet of elevation   Sun, cold and windy!   LIFE DRAINING HEADWINDS FOR 107 MILES!   No matter where we turned or what road / bike paths we found ourselves on, we had stiff headwinds all day.   This led to one of our longest days in the saddle, 8 hours and 18 minutes of total time (with food / water breaks).   (Our 19-20 mph average went to 13-14 mph.   Tough riding!) About 10 minutes into our day’s ride we crossed the border into Minnesota.  Here's Scuba Steve / Steve Miska putting the new state’s flag on the back of the van. Within 20 minutes of that we knew we weren’t in North Dakota any longer.   The road surface and shoulder area quickly deteriorated.   And the courteous, friendly drivers vanished.   I got yelled at twice within our first 40 minutes in Minnesota, “Hey, you’re supposed to yield – don’t ya know?”   (In a heavy Minnesota accident.) For the next 60 miles we endured poor road conditions a
  Day 16   Jamestown to Fargo, ND 106 miles / only about 1,400 feet of elevation!   WIDE OPEN ROADS!   Joe put together a reworked route that kept us off any major highways and the backroads and frontage roads he chose rivaled any ride we have had to date.   These roads were new, recently repaved and not trafficked.     When we left just after sun-up, we had blue skies and wide-open roads.   Our early pace was brisk and we were quickly in and amongst “windmill” farms, which we enjoyed for many miles.   As we rode, with no traffic, we heard the gentle “whooshing” from the 120’ blades on these 150’ wind turbines.  At times the turbines stretched as far as the eye could see to the horizon.   After riding through these windmill farms, the countryside (still with no traffic) gave way to corn crops, some flower and soybean crops – all ready for the upcoming harvest.  These wonderful views, along with the beautiful weather and riding conditions, made for a perfect day of rid
  Day 15   Bismarck to Jamestown, ND 106 miles / 3,542 feet of elevation   When we woke up this morning it did not feel like the official "end of summer” was two days away.  Outside it was a “wet cold.”  We rolled out of Bismarck on “bike trails” to avoid the Monday morning commute on the city’s street.  After warming up, our pace was quick which heightened the cold.  One way to describe this early morning cold is to think of that cold when you tuck your chin under your jacket collar to avoid the cold on your face – that’s the kind of cold we started with and it didn’t really warm all day. We traveled on bike trails past St. Mary’s College on the very outskirts of Bismarck and then we transitioned to country frontage roads where the only motorized vehicles we saw all day were pickup trucks and farm equipment.  These drivers seemed perfectly at ease with three guys on bikes in the far-right lane. Later in the morning, the cold temperatures best friends, side and head winds, joined
  Day 14   Dickinson to Bismarck, ND 101 miles / 2,541 feet of elevation   Day 14 opened with a beautiful sunrise; this opening, along with wide open no traffic frontage roads, produced a very brisk pace and perfect riding day. We had 80(+) miles of frontage roads where we could sustain speeds well over 20 mph.  Then, when we came into Bismarck, we had the city’s bike trail to ride on and this too produced a very quick pace.  We had fewer and shorter stops which also assisted with a fast pace.  The few photos show our beautiful sunrise, examples of the roads we rode on and, at the end of the day, my Garmin’s ride summary.  My Garmin is set to calculate total time from start to finish, not “rolling time.”   When you take our break time out of today’s total time to complete the ride, our rolling average speed was just shy of 20 mph or just a little over five hours to complete 101 miles!   For us, this is a screaming pace which we were all very proud of.   (Ok, we had a ta
  Day 13   Wibaux, MT to Dickinson, ND 93.3 miles / three different venues / 4,300 feet of elevation and all at an afternoon temperature of 98° (yesterday’s start was 36° / todays finish was 98°!   Today’s ride was an eclectic trip with three different venues beginning with Steve Miska’s childhood ranch area, then to Theodore Roosevelt National Park (Medora) and to complete, we rode on frontage roads going into Dickinson.   All three venues delivered for one of the best rides in either RAA I or RAA II – a great day! We began riding in Wibaux, MT, where Steve spent his adolescence summers working on his family’s ranch.  From Wibaux we rode across the Montana / North Dakota boarder to Beach, ND where Steve was born. Steve dropped us off, put a new “state sticker” on the van’s back window and then went to see his family’s ranch / farmland.  (Some of the area we rode through early today is part of General Custer’s Trial before Little Big Horn.)  After about 25 miles of wide-ope
  Day 12   Jordan to Glendive, MT 106 miles / 6,300 feet of elevation (multiple rollers!) / some portage due to significant road construction   Our very sunny but very cold day began in Jordan where it was 36°.   Couple that temperature with our early morning speeds of between 18-20 mph and that makes for a very cold start to our day. However, we had wide open, no shoulder but also no traffic, roads to ride on for the first 51 miles.  These first 51 miles consisted of a series of “rollers” where we got progressively higher in elevation.  We would climb a bit, descend, giving away some of that climb and then, climb higher the next set of rollers.  This is not something you would even think about if you were driving this highway but on a bike, you cringe each time you descend only to see the next hill looming in the distance!  We had literally no traffic for this first half of the day and that made these rollers enjoyable and fun.  After we stopped for our mid-day food / wate