As I rode out of Williston after a good breakfast, I noticed something I hadn't seen on this tour, smog. Williston is in a valley and has some dirty industry. There was a distinct gray pall over the city. I had noticed it a bit before I left as a dulling of colors in the town, but from the hills east of town it was really obvious and ugly. The road, highway 1804, rises pretty steeply heading out of town into the hills of central and south western North Dakota. The humidity was high and the temperature was rising. I had four water bottles and food for the day since there are 'few' services in the next 70 miles.
The ride was very hilly going from 2200 to 2800 feet repeatedly. It was also very hot and humid. It was quite beautiful, especially as it neared Lake Sakakawea. At the lake there was road construction and I had to ride some of the worst 'road' - downhill on deeply rutted dirt - with a huge RV following 10 feet or less behind me. At the end of this short section, I could have, should have, turned off to stop at the marina. It was the only place to stop for food in that 70 mile stretch. I figured I was OK on food, and I was, and on water, and I wasn't.
I stopped to eat by the side of the road a few miles later. The route was less hilly for a while, but soon the hills began again. I stopped again to eat and rest some 20 miles later when the road turned south. It was 20 miles from this point to New Town. I was running low on water, it was about 95 F and very muggy, there was no shade, and there was a moderate, 10mph or so, head wind. The road ahead was also quite hilly. The locals said it was the hottest day of the year. I'd say it was the hottest day of this tour.
I made it to New Town with empty water bottles and a big thirst. I stopped at a Dairy Queen because there were no real restaurants open and, after waiting 10 minutes for a large order to be filled, croaked out a request for a large water. After drinking the water I was able to order a large milkshake and a 4 piece chicken dinner. I drank two quarts of water, and one quart of milkshake before I ate my dinner. Then I drank another pint of water with the dinner. I think I was a bit dehydrated.
After tanking up in New Town, I decided to ride on to Parshall. I'd only covered 75 (hot and hilly) miles and another 20 miles sounded about right. The road was good, and the wind would not be in my face. Parshall had the only motel between New Town and Minot and I hoped that staying in the motel in Parshall would be more peaceful than staying in New Town. I headed east on highway 23. A good road.
I enjoyed the last part of the ride, but I was ready for a hot shower and a good meal when I rode into Parshall. I found the Parshall Motor Lodge. The sign in the window said "No Vacancy." Oops! It was 20 miles back or 60 miles on to the next motel or campground. I went in and explained my situation to the lady inside. She was sympathetic (later she said I looked completely exhausted) and we discussed where I might put my tent. The weather forecast called for big storms that night, so she was a little concerned about my being in the tent. She suggested that I the use the bathroom in her home to clean up and then that I get something to eat before we settled on a sleeping arrangement.
I used the bathroom and the towels she provided to get my hot shower, and then I walked into town and found a cafe for supper. After supper I walked back to the motel and the owners, Joan and Bud (the lady I had talked to earlier and her husband) invited me to stay in their son's room. He was out of town. I graciously accepted (I got very good at accepting kindness) and then spent an hour or so talking with Joan and learning about the area. I visited briefly with Bud that evening and for a good while after breakfast the next day. Joan works at the bank and Bud farms. They've also run the motel for more than 20 years, in effect working two jobs. Good people.
Parshall is a nice place. It is on the Fort Berthod Indian Reservation and near enough to Lake Sakakawea to be a popular place for tourists. As a result it is culturally interesting and it has good services. It is also, unlike New Town, peaceful. If you ride this way I recommend you stop there (there are two restaurants and a cafe and a good grocery store), but do call ahead if you plan to spend the night to see if they have a room available!
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