Day 6: Monday, June 1, 2015
Stop to Stop: Little Yellowstone Park to Gackle, SD
Underway: 7:30 am Off Bike: 2:50 pm Ride Time: 5:15 hrs Stayed At: House
Miles Traveled: 65.2 Total Miles: 425.5 Weather: Partly cloudy, SSE wind, 75+
First Things First: First time having to backtrack to find something that blew off (the map) when a semi went by and I didn’t notice for a mile or so: First time staying at someone’s house I just met while in town.
Mile to Mile: After the coyotes woke me up this morning – a little creepy when you are alone – I actually made my first batch of outmeal, packed and headed for Gackle, ND about 60 miles straight west.. It was still cool and overcast with a SSE breeze giving me a little boost. The terrain is mostly flat with an occasional uphill to another plateau and lots of pothole lakes and ponds mixed in with thousands of acres of farmland. It’s stark but pretty in it’s own way. And lonesome. The only services on the main route were at a little coop store in the middle of no where.
With nothing else to occupy my mind – not even any interesting trash – I started playing games with the wind. She can be beautiful as she dances through the tall grass in ever changing patterns but she also has a dark side. She would try to tip me over with her 20 mph gusts. I would swerve and lean the other way to try to stay upright. It was a tie. I survived and the wind kept blowing to her hearts content. Although tiring, at least I got a little boost once in a while and it wasn’t a headwind. You know the wind is strong when there are white caps on the duck ponds.
I made it to Gackle, ate a hamburger combo and shake at the Tastee Freeze and went looking for a place to stay. There is the Honey Hub – a hostel for cyclists – but no one was there. Someone named Jason at Dani’s Bar supposedly puts people up but he isn’t around right now. There is an old RV Park but that just didn’t sound right. I lucked out though and chatted with a guy mowing the lawn next to the Tastee Freeze. To make a long story short, he invited me to camp out in air conditioned comfort for the night.
Jay lives in Fargo but has this house in Gackle as a hunting and fishing shack. The walls are covered with stuffed birds and deer, the shower is hot and the AC is cold. He fed me one of the best fried fish dinners I’ve ever had (Andy’s Seasoning – Red), we shared some great conversation and went on an amazing tour of the surrounding countryside (which changed my view of SD forever). Talk about amazing – thanks for the hospitality, fresh crappie dinner (and breakfast) and great stories. If you are ever going through Minneapolis, be sure to look us up. Another day to write home about on Mike’s Great Bike Adventure.