Another 125 miles....

Trip Start May 06, 2012
Trip End Jun 26, 2012

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Flag of United States  , North Dakota
Thursday, May 24, 2012

I woke up feeling surprisingly great after the 150m the day before. The achievement was either so uplifting that I didn't feel tired, or the wind was so strong that it was actually rather easy to cycle as far as I did... well the roads are flattish and the wind had been massive but either way it was a long way to go in a day and I was pretty happy to awake feeling fresh. 
Fortunately the winds hadn't died down so I got on my bike and set off for Minot 125m away. Though the first 15 or so miles were not easy given that they were due North which unfortunately meant I was buffetted for an hour or so by strong cross winds I was comforted by the knowledge that I would be turning soon and would then have 110 miles of support, so I pedaled on without complaint and with a smile. 
The road was not as bad as I had been told. There has been a massive boom in North Dakota for Oil Shale which means that the towns have grown up in no time to become huge sprawls of industrial growth. Williston's population has grown from 10,000 to 60,000 in a couple of years and I found out that places like McDonalds were having to offer double and triple wages to attract people to move there! There is no accomodation so the oil companies have set up "Man Camps" which look like long rows of barrack style housing, reminiscent of P.O.W camps. They must be paying good money to get people to live 10m out of town in a Man Camp!

This industrialisation has also meant there there is a huge amount of industrial traffic, from a stream of never ending trucks to huge equipment carriers. This is not so much fun on a single lane road, even with the huge run offs that I enjoy, but fortunately, the road to Minot was mainly duel carriage way. Thought the road was as busy as I had been told and though cycling on a duel carriage way is not fun, the fact that it was duel carriage meant that I didn't feel in danger given the lorries and trucks weren't cramped which was a blessing. Unfortunately, there were no real places to stop for food so I pushed on and about 6-7 hours later I arrived. 

However, I did stop at one gas station on the way to refuel on some chocolate and discovered the most incredible sights which you can see in the pictures below. You don't usually find rifles, pistols and knifes in your Petrol stations but you clearly do in North Dakota. I was stunned especially when you see that a pistol that has been coloured pink - well girls you must have a matching gun! It seems crazy to have all this firepower simply chained up in a gas station and though it made me smile I wondered how easy it would be to acquire one.... visions of Deliverance unfortunately kept springing to mind!

It is also quite interesting how changeable the weather has been. I have had every kind of precipitation and now most temperatures from the 30s to the 90s. The wind chill is also a big issue. When I stopped the few times that day, it wasn't for long because I got cold very quickly given the 20mph winds, but once you are cycling you don't feel the winds and so the key is just to keep going!

So now I had done 275m in 2 days.... it was a good feeling as was the fact that I had checked into a Motel right by Minot Mall which would enable me to do a bit of shopping and even visit the cinema - you know how much you are struggling for company when a cinema seems like manna from heaven! Tomorrow would be a day off - or so I thought!
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