Michael's Excellent Adventure

Day 11, 6-26-2002

Group

We slept in a little, as we had just crossed time zones into Central. It stays light here INCREDIBLY late around the solstice, like past 10:00 PM. We stayed at a motel advertising continental breakfast, but that was utter baloney. Actually, baloney would have been an improvement; at least that's got some protein in it. We decided to push on to Ray, ND for some real food, but none was forthcoming there, either. We did catch the rest of the Adventure Cycling group, though. I sat at a nice table in the shade and shot the breeze with them for awhile, and then set out for Stanley. This day featured very relaxing riding, in spite of some pretty tough rollers and some shoulders that weren't always as pristine as the previous day's. Part of it was that ND drivers seemed simply more relaxed than their Montanan counterparts. The very neatly regimented farmland and the rich green made me think of the low countries. Stanley was a pleasant town, very much like Kaleva, Michigan, where my grandparents lived for many years. Also, this day continued a pattern that started in eastern Montana: all of the towns we went through were on the railroad, and we saw a town's grain elevator about 6 miles off (it being the tallest thing around for miles.) When the elevator appeared, we knew that we were nearly to our next stop. The day featured pretty neutral winds, and was uneventful after that, with the exception of the approach into Minot, which was pretty hairy. I'd like to know what the Adventure Cycling maps advise doing. We finished with 129 miles.

One word here: way back on Fluff, I replaced my rear tire, a Continental Gatorskin Ultra (with it's advertised "3 puncture-stopping technologies"), which had gotten 5 flats, including at least 4 punctures. I went to fix a flat and found that the rubber had worn away to the casing threads, in just over 1000 miles! That's a pretty rotten functional life for a tire. So I replaced it with my backup, a Michelin Axial Carbon 700c x 25. This tire has taken me all the way to the Twin Cities, with a single pinch flat, due to my own negligence about keeping enough air in the tube, and not a single other problem. It rolls great, it sticks in the corners, it's got a very supple ride, and it's a bit wider than the 25 mm designation would indicate. It's almost the perfect clincher. I cannot say enough good things about this tire. Unfortunately, those zany French have discontinued the Kevlar version of the Axial Pro, which would have been an amazing tire for this application if I had been able to get my hands on a couple.