We flew to Portland, biked to.. Havre, Montana.. . so what’s left?
It pains me to report that the guys and I, after days of discussing, deliberating, planning, plotting, and protesting, have found ourselves with no other option than to hop a train from here to Minneapolis. But as my good friend Todd put it, that pain would be quite a bit less than being hit by an oil truck.. Let me explain.
The decision boils down to safety. As it turns out, the entire western half of North Dakota and a large chunk of the north eastern side of Montana are under one of the largest oil booms in the history of the USA.
We started to hear of the boom a few weeks back by other cyclists heading both east and west. They warned of oil truck convoys 20 truck lengths strong ripping past cyclists every 10 minutes 24/7. And because of all the truck traffic we also heard of extremely poor road conditions for cycling. That didn’t phase us too much (I mean come on, we bike in NYC every day) but what made up our minds was the fact that even if we did get through the convoys with no problems, we would have no place camp.
As it turns out, North Dakota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation because of the oil boom. And all of the oil workers have been booking every hotel, motel, and campsite solid for over 4 years now.. Everything is thrashed, and if it isn’t, we spandex clad cyclists sure aren’t top of the list to get the good camp sites. So not only was it unsafe to bike, it would also be almost impossible to sleep, or at least sleep peacefully. No good.
The final straw was after we unearthed all this information, we called up Adventure Cycling (the company whose maps we are using). They urged us not to ride through that area and said that the transportation commissioner of North Dakota had told them to tell their cyclists (us) to not enter North Dakota. This information would have been fantastic to have 4 months ago when we purchased the maps, but apparently Adventure Cycling only cares about selling maps..
Many puzzle pieces have fallen into place to bring us to this moment. Some absolutely amazing, some painfully boring, others deliciously enlightening (maple bars). I guess that’s all part of the journey. I told my wife the other day, “This is where we are supposed to be, because if we weren’t, we wouldn’t be here.” So here we are.
And as it turns out, following the route of Lewis and Clark, we have already biked the distance it would take to go directly from Portland to Minneapolis. I swear those guys didn’t know how to use a compass or follow good advice..
Another piece of the puzzle that brought us here is Pat will no longer be riding with us. The city lights, and work calling from NBC are beckoning his return to the Big Apple. Because Pat needed to head back to New York, Craig and I were left with the decision to keep heading north with him, all riding together, all hopping a train together, or head south, leaving him to ride alone north to the closest Amtrak. The latter was not an option.
So here we are, at the Havre, Montana Amtrak station waiting for our train. Pat will head home, and Craig and I will continue past this small hiccup in the road with much much more adventure ahead of us.
Stay tuned, from Minneapolis we head south to the Ozarks!
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Thanks again for all your support from both myself, and the American Cancer Society.
A lot of people have been asking me if I’m going to ride alone, and the answer is no. I will be riding with 2 exceptional cyclists; Patrick Seeley (left), and Craig Davies (right).
Craig and Pat toured together last summer from Seattle WA. to Los Angles CA. along the famous Route 1 and 101. This year I’ve been lucky enough to join up with them to ride across country.
Craig, from the far lands of New Zealand has extensive medical and touring backgrounds, and Pat is just an all around great guy who lives for tackling tough climbs while popping StarBurst. I could not be in better hands.
You will more than likely be seeing a lot of these guys in the photography I will be posting once we all hit the road.
& I think I can speak for the 3 of us in saying, we all can not wait to get rolling. 10 Weeks!