Trip Log – Day 50 –McClusky, ND to Mandan, ND

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 6.38.50 AMJune 24, 2015 – Overcast, 75 degrees

Miles Today: 74

Miles to Date: 2,948

States to Date: 14

IMG_2549Passing storms through the night left a calm quiet morning. I pedaled west, and then south to Bismarck with great ease. The ponds on the side of the road were like glass, the fowl floating on the surface like they’re on vacation.

IMG_2547I cycled past Center Line Road; I am halfway through North Dakota. It looks more and more like the west, wide swales and more arid land. I came upon a Bureau of Reclamation project and know I am truly in the West. After seeing one, I realized how much engineering there is in this seemingly wild land: not only the straight roads and long power lines, but also the ponds along the road, usually at intersections. They’ve developed tall grass and a natural look, but they’re not natural.

IMG_254638 miles in I stopped for a late breakfast at Wilton. The County Line cafe was quiet mid morning. As I ate my bacon and eggs a solid guy walked in, landed at a table and ordered with a sigh. The waitress sat down and drew him out. His wife of 56 years is in the hospital with cancer. “I walk into the house and the quiet hits me. I know it hasn’t really hit me yet, but it will.” Kelly told him to come anytime he feels alone and suggested she and her children would come visit him. It was an intimate scene for a public place, but touching. I was too close to pretend I didn’t hear, so I introduced myself to the man and expressed sympathy. I didn’t ask him about tomorrow.

When I came out the weather had shifted. The wind picked up, clouds gathered, and light ran fell on my twenty miles to Bismarck. By the time I arrived at the North Dakota Heritage Center the weather lifted. I spent the afternoon interviewing Beth Campbell, Visitor Coordinator, viewing the exhibits and visiting the State Capital Building, surely the most unique in the land. Built in the 1930’s after the original capital burned, the Deco structure has no dome and isn’t even symmetrical. Imagine Rockefeller Center transported to the Prairie and used for government offices. I ran into James McPherson, AP Reporter, who gave me more background on this boom. “You have to see it to believe it. There’s nothing else like it anywhere in the country. Of course, booms, by their nature, go bust.”

images IMG_2565 IMG_2567

I pedalede through downtown Bismarck, followed the bike trail along the Missouri River, and crossed over to Mandan. For dinner I tried Fleischkeuchle, a seasoned hamburger in a puff pastry. Once is an experience; I don’t need to order it again.

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About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, theawkwardpose.com is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog, www.howwillwelivetomorrw.com, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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