Today I rode the 400 and some miles from Bismarck, ND to Billings, MT. I thought about stopping several times and calling it a day, but I kept pushing on. I’m glad I did because things turned out very nice in the end. The day started in the high 40s with a lot of wind. I’m guessing 20-30mph winds mostly headwinds, but occasionally from the side.
It was tough work riding, and I quickly wore out. My arms and legs are tired from the workout they got all day. My fuel economy suffered badly as well. I nearly ran out of gas near the North Dakota/Montana border as I went from 45-50mpg to 30-35mpg.
The scenery was surprising to me. I had only crossed Montana once before, and I don’t remember it very well. The scenery alternated between prairie and big hills. It was mostly green and towards the end of the day there were many evergreen trees – looked like mainly pines.
I saw a bunch of critters today. Most of them alive, but several dead ones too. Wild buffalo, wild horses, prairie dogs, a bald eagle, and a few cows in the road. There was even a dead porcupine on the side of the road. I was tempted to take a photo of him, but decided I was too lazy. lol.
Most of the photos taken today are with my new point-n-shoot a Nikon AW100. I bought it for this trip for two reasons: 1) waterproof 2) GPS aka auto Geo-tagging. #2 means that if you click through on almost any photo below it will take you to the flickr page with an exact location on a map. Very cool! (and a big time saver for me!)
Menacing clouds for most of the day. They’d fire a couple warning shots and then blast some rain down.
I tried to visit the giant cow at New Salem, ND. It looked really big. Notice how it dwarfs the parking lot lights.
It was on a steep winding hill. I tried to ride up it, but only made it about 1/3 of the way. The top 1-3 inches was a very slippery mud. After my rear tire slipped out over a foot for the second time, I decided it wasn’t worth the risk to continue as it got steeper and looked worse. I was tempted to park and walk, but decided the giant cow wasn’t worth all that mud. I performed a 8 point turn and went slowly back down.
SV parked in front of the ‘Geese in Flight’ sculpture at the start of the enchanted highway. It stands 156 feet long and 110 feet high. The goose on the left has a 30 foot wingspan and is 19 feet long. It is a really big sculpture. I did not ride the enchanted highway. too tired from fighting the wind, so I just kept plugging on. This pic is my favorite of the day.
Much easier gravel road to get to the geese.
My tasty lentil soup and Gatorade picnic at the Painted Canyon. There were live buffalo roaming around too.
One of the two wild buffalo roaming about. They were very interested in eating their lunch.
Amazing scenery. I need to come back here again. The pictures just don’t do it justice at all.
Me in front of the Yellowstone river in Montana. It warmed up nicely. I was finally able to stash the rain gear and put on my tinted shield!
Rattlesnakes don’t like sidewalks. I didn’t know that.
The rest stop on the other side is clearly more fun. Notice the people walking around on top of the rocks. No fair! The other side had a couple trees and some grass. We also had a rattlesnakes stay on the sidewalk sign.
Nice to end the day with some blue sky and warmer temps.
I just looked at the map and noticed how close I am to Yellowstone… tempting, but the wrong direction. Tomorrow, I head towards Missoula and Lolo.
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