Day 26
The storms did not materialize during the night, so it was still relatively hot and muggy in the morning. The wind was still from the south, but, as I rode east on highway 23, I could see the front that had been expected to come through the night before. It was a distinct line of dark clouds (fronts are often quite awesome on the plains) stretching across the sky to the north and west. I pedaled harder than usual in an effort to get in as much good riding as I could before the front caught up with me. I made the 20 odd miles to a new gas/food store (not on AC's maps) in good time. The road was slightly rolling with good shoulders and low traffic. The surrounding land was lush green fields, some belonging to Bud. The wind was gentle from the south.

After I left the store the front was closing in on me. The wind shifted to the north and became much stronger. For the next 18 miles I had strong cross winds and areas of rain moving to the north of me. Then I turned north towards Minot on highway 83. This part of the route is divided four lane with moderate traffic and good shoulders. The 17 miles to Minot took two hours riding into 15-20 mph head winds. I also rode into one of those areas of rain. It was too windy for my rain cape, so I rode in my GorTex parka. The rain lasted maybe 30 minutes, but the road was wet and spray from cars and trucks was a problem for most of this section. I didn't enjoy this part of the day.

At Minot I stopped at a KFC (the first restaurant I came to - I was hungry!) and had a good lunch. Just north of the restaurant I took the highway 2 bypass rather than riding further north (the wind!) into Minot. There were one or two moderately tricky bits were this, interstate style, road had busy exits and entrances, but it wasn't too bad. After I got around Minot and was heading east again road conditions were pretty good. The wind was still from the north and strong.

I was tired from fighting the wind going into Minot, but I figured I'd still be able to reach Towner, my planned destination, about 50 miles away. I stopped in Granville, a very pleasant small town, for supper and had a good meal and desert at the local cafe/store. The wind was now from the northwest and riding east was pretty good. Riding north (the road had several 2 or 3 mile long sections that went north) was not good.

As I rode out of Granville and on to Towner, riding was easy and the sky was quite beautiful. A big sky and great clouds with the sun behind me. As usual, this was the best riding of the day. Highway 2 had good shoulders and traffic, at 7 PM, was very light. In Towner I stopped at a gas/food stop on the highway for a snack and then rode to the only motel in town. It had vacancies, but no one was there to register me! I went back to the store, but no one there could help me find the motel owners. It was getting late (7:30?) and it was 23 miles to the next motels (in Rugby), so I ate a small pizza and got back on my bike.

The wind was now from the west and Rugby is straight east from Towner, so I was able to ride those 23 miles in a little over an hour. My left knee, which has been problematic for more than a year, did not appreciate the extra work; my knee was hurting as I arrived in Rugby as the Sun was setting. 125 miles - a hard day.

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