(Raphael staring at infinity)
A lot has happened since we left Fargo behind.
We’ve learned just how relentless the west winds are in this part of the country. On bad days (15+ m.p.h. headwinds, or crosswinds), riding into the wind feels like we’re trying to run against a strong river’s current. Out of the ten or so days since we left Fargo, we’ve only had one full day of East wind. We did 106.5 miles that day; a new record for us.
In response to the wind, we’ve honed a technique called drafting, or echeloning. The technique works as follows. One of us leads the group into the wind, shielding those behind him. The second person rides within two feet the leader and keeps his head down. The third follows the second. Each person takes a turn leading the group every mile. With the three of us working as a team, we’re able to cover 80+ miles in a single day into a strong headwind.
We’re in Montana now, on Route 2 heading North West to Glacier National Park.
On our way here we rode through the busy oil development near Dickinson and Belfield; North Dakota. We saw cattle grazing a few miles from a fracking plant. An oil well in someone’s backyard. And rows and rows of white pickup trucks outside of jam-packed motels and rv parks. Convoys of “oversize load” tractor trailers hauling everything from drilling equipment to mobile homes down I-94. Bakken oil country is booming.
We took the day off yesterday on an Indian reservation, in a town called Wolf Point, MT. It was rather upsetting to see the alcololism, poverty, and sadness said to wrack American Indian reservations first hand.
We rode into Wolf Point after dark and almost crashed into a group of young, drunk Indian guys walking down the road. They said they were walking somewhere else. And warned, “get what you need from the store and get the f*** off this rez man, it’s dangerous here”.
We set up camp in a park just outside of town in the end. The place turned out to be safe enough.