Day 81 Rainy Day and Fireworks

Day 81 - Friday, July 3rd, 2009
- Start: Williston, ND
- ATW:
- End: Ray, ND
- Day Miles: 35

Heather slept good, Dave didn’t. Always seems to be the way it goes. One is rested the other isn’t. We woke to rain on our foreheads and quickly dragged everything under a covered picnic shelter. We ate breakfast packing up our gear. The sunrise was the most amazing we seen on the trip. Brilliant pinks and purples over the water weren’t dulled much by the head nets we were wearing to keep back the hordes of mosquitoes. Last night they had swarmed just beyond our skin’s reach due to the head nets. Not sleeping in a tent may have it downsides after all but the head nets work alright.

Once we got riding we warmed up, then it began to rain. Out came the rain gear, warmed back up as we pedaled in our water proof suits. We tried to make a side trip to Spring Brook and Epping but our map showed the wrong road as paved and instead of back tracking to the paved one we bumped along gravel until we connected back up to Rt. 2 bypassing the two towns. Rt. 2 was long low rolling hills that went on and on. Into the wind we pedaled and became more and more frustrated. Even though he wasn’t feeling sick anymore, Dave’s lack of sleep didn’t help. Being the lead on the bike he gets the brunt of the wind every time it blows in our faces. With no windbreaks to be found we stopped on the side of the road often to rebuild our strength. Completely exhausted we finally made it to civilization and a gas station in the town of Ray. Outside was parked three touring bikes and inside were three more exhausted cyclists. They had started after we left Williston but had made the cut off and better time since they didn’t ride gravel. They planned to keep riding and make it to Stanley, another 30 miles. We wished them luck and had a few photos taken of our rig. Over our second cup of hot chocolate and a couple sandwiches we relaxed. Next we set out for the grocery store and then the town park. A nice place that we barely got to sleep in.

We spent the day resting out wind. They sun had broken through just as we made it to Ray but we didn’t want to ride anymore in the wind. Sheltered by trees and bushes we made camp, napped, ate, and then got ready to sleep for the night. But the weather thought otherwise. A storm blew in at around 9pm. A large sign in the park said that if there was bad weather to head for the Senior Citizen Center or the Catholic Church. We left all our gear behind expecting it to blow over quickly. Stopping at another gas station we were told we needed to get to the church because the store closed in 10 minutes.

We trudged through with vague directions to the church. Once inside the storm began and lasted long into the night. Eventually we lay down in the foyer on the carpeted floor and slept fitfully as the lightening flashed and thunder sounded. Somehow though it couldn’t have been all that bad because between thunder claps we’d hear fireworks exploding near by. At 4:30am we woke up to faint water dips. The storm was over. We walked back to the park and our gear which was completely soaked. Dave had lowered the open end of the tarp in hopes the wind wouldn’t blow in rain but the rain came down so hard that the tarp sagged and soaked the bag through contact with it.