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Posts Tagged ‘US 2’

Mac

Mac

The previous day could be best summarized as bugs, wind and heat!

Hoping for less wind than yesterday’s Montana adventure we got up early.  Actually, one of the guys in the posse (and you won’t believe this), wakes up minutes prior to the time of the alarm!  As if he has some subconscious alarm clock telling him it’s time to go. 

At any rate, we were greeted with even more wind than the previous day which meant full-face helmets to provide some relief from the 30MPH sustained, gusting to 40MPH “breeze.”  The weather service issued a wind advisory across the entire NoDak state…like we didn’t notice!

NoDak Farmland

NoDak Farmland

US Highway 2 runs east-west through the northern side of NoDak and Interstate 94 runs east-west through the southern side of state. Interstate 29 runs north-south on the eastern edge of the state.  We made a mid-course change in our plans and decided to drop down and take one of only two major roads in North Dakota which runs diagonal (northwest-southeast) through the state — US Highway 52.

US 52 provides an ever changing mix of agricultural farm and pasture land, native wetlands, and small lakes set on rolling landscape, but the wind was howling and made for wicked motrcycle driving!  Tolerable as long as we headed directly into the gusts, but on US 52 we were often diagonal to the wind direction and it was interesting riding having to compensate.  All day I couldn’t help but wonder when are they going to turn North Dakota into one big-ass wind farm…

Farm

Farm

We picked up Interstate 94 east at Jamestown.  Louis L’Amour, the western novelist, and Darin Erstad, the pro baseball player in the 2002 World Champion Anaheim Angels, are both natives.  In my “fun fact” search of NoDak tidbits I ran across this little video of some dude’s cam-cording the NoDak landscape from his pickup truck while driving across I-94…and listening to some kind of Scottish music.  Can you spell F-U-N?!

About an hour later we arrived in Fargo.   Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota and situated on the Red River.  It’s the place people most relate to in the Coen Brothers movie starring Oscar-winner Frances McDormand and William H. Macy.

10,000 Lakes

10,000 Lakes

Another 3 hours of wind-whip-lash we were approaching the Twin Cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis).   It’s hard to determine which city you are actually in.  There is no visible dividing line; the cities really do blend into one another.  Minneapolis is an all American city, the people are chill, there’s no east coast ‘tude, and there’s water everywhere…a great vibe.  The best part of the day was that we’d seen the wind drop off significantly and the end of a 500 mile day came to a close.

Interested to know more about our “Ride Home”?  Read the road blogs for: Day 1HERE, Day 2 HERE, Day 3 HERE, Day 4 HERE and Day 5 HERE

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Havre Sunrise

Havre Sunrise

I got up early and went outside to stretch my legs for a bit. It’s nice outside, mid-70’s, which makes it a decent temperature for riding.  

We departed Havre, MT about 8:30am on the 3rd day.  For reference day #3 was Monday, August 25th.  We lost an hour of sleep due to the mountain time zone change and felt a bit rushed once we realized it was going to be a high mileage day.  We wanted to get some miles under our belt before the day’s temperature heated up.

Unknown to us was the fact that the largest infrastructure project ever tackled by the Montana Department of Transportation was finished just prior to our arrival.  A $30 million project spanned 33 blocks of Highway 2 within Havre’s city limits. More than 280 businesses and residents now have entrances to their property right off the Highway.

At 11am it was 90 degrees and by 1pm the temp gauge on my windshield was pegged at 100.

Montana Farmland

Montana Farmland

We had to suffer some and be uncomfortable most of the day. It’s incredibly monotonous scenery now, some rolling hills, but mostly wheat plains into the horizon as far as you can see with the occasional Milk River crossing breaking it up.   The Milk River is a tributary of the Missouri River, and runs 729 miles long thru the state of Montana and the Canadian province of Alberta.  The river got it’s name from Captain Meriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, who described it as:

“the water of this river possesses a peculiar whiteness, being about the colour of a cup of tea with the admixture of a tablespoonfull of milk. from the colour of its water we called it Milk river.”

We crossed this river all day long and I lost count of the number of overpasses or small bridges. 

From Havre to the North Dakota border, the surrounding area is known as “The Hi-Line“.  To the locals who know it from the early Great Northern railway route.  My Montana relatives always refer to this area as the “Golden Triangle” which is one of the most productive farming regions in the country.

We continued east through the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation then to Malta. From Malta, we continued on to Glasgow, just north of Fort Peck Dam, and then into the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. We stayed either on or within the reservation for much of the remaining trip through Montana. On the reservation it goes through Wolf Point and Poplar, and then exits the reservation a short distance before leaving the state.  We hit the final town in Montana of Bainville and said goodbye to the “Big Sky” state.

Welcome To North Dakota

Welcome To North Dakota

We stopped at the North Dakota border for a “welcome” to the state photo op.  North Dakota has been converting sections of US 2 from two lanes to four lanes for many, many years. The section from Grand Forks to Minot was completed several years ago. The section from Williston to Minot was just completed this year in a campaign that began a few years back and was labeled “Across the State in Two Thousand Eight”.   In actually, US 2 is a four-lane road now from the eastern edge of Williston for a stretch of about 343 miles, leaving only 12 miles to the Montana border which is a two-lane highway.

Between Williston and Minot, the road provides several high points where you can view beautiful landscape for many miles in all directions.   We ended our riding day in Minot after ~440miles.

Interested to know more about our “Ride Home”?  Read the road blogs for: Day 1HERE, Day 2 HERE, Day 3 HERE, Day 4 HERE and Day 5 HERE

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