Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 57, 7/4/10 - Tioga to Stanley, ND

Happy Birthday, USA!

Just the Basics: 30 miles for a grand total of 1611. Some highlights:

Great riding conditions! We had: Wide, paved shoulders (with the exception of the 4 miles from Tioga back to U.S. 2); the wind at our backs; temperatures in the 70s and about 600 feet of climbing, as opposed to yesterday's 1200.

Nice breakfast in the Sportsman's Cafe in Tioga - very sunny waitress, the Minot paper, very good oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar and the only actually toasted English muffins we ever remember getting in a cafe - usually they are brushed with butter and heated on the grill. Added to that, they had orange marmalade. YUM!

Great encounter with Chad from Minnesota (pictured) - see below!

En route, Kathy and David from NY caught up with us - she is 70, he's 74; they started in Portland and are headed home to NY City. They look very fit, have done lots of cycle touring and took off like lightning - very impressive!

Also met Dan, cycling alone from PA to MT. He cycles in hiking boots! He says they are very comfortable and his feet are always dry.

Made and ate our current typical picnic lunch at a roadside rest: PB sandwiches on raisin bread; purple cabbage; oranges; fig newtons and water.

Chatted at the rest stop with a couple about our ages driving to Glacier who asked about our trip - the guy jokingly asked if we'd known how far it was to Maine when we started! They had seen John and Valerie and their cycling 9 year-old triplets, Deidre, Ian and Zara about an hour earlier!

Arrived in Stanley to discover that no cafes in town were open, not even the one at our motel. Found a grocery store about 15 minutes before they closed at 4 and got ingredients for a very nice picnic dinner in our room: Sandwiches, canned beans, and 2 different deli salads - a spicy pasta and a broccoli and cauliflower w/cashews, grated cheddar and a light mayo-type dressing. The bar adjacent to the motel is not closed, and they sell beer from a drive-up window, so we also had beer. = ) = )

Today's Photo: Chad from Minnesota - see below

Tomorrow: About 54 miles to Minot, where we will stay at the Comfort Inn. Hopefully, there will be both a strong tailwind and good shoulders most of the way.

For Those Who Want More: After breakfast in Tioga we headed for a convenience store (the big grocery store wouldn't open until 11), to buy a paper and some water. As we passed the closed market a REALLY tall guy in a great old pick-up about the age of our 1987 wonder, pulled up and got out - we told him the store wasn't yet open and that we were headed for a convenience store we thought was a few blocks down the road. He offered us a ride, which we accepted.

We ended up standing around outside the convenience store and talking for a long time. Chad is from Minnesota (like Riley) although way up north - Riley knew the area. He works as a roustabout in the oil fields - his official job is the earth-moving part of things, but he actually spends a lot of his time on mechanical stuff, as he has lots of skills in that area. We have been dying to ply someone with questions about oil drilling and he was full of information - if we have any of the following stuff wrong, it's our error, not his.

Some stuff we learned:
  • Lots of the tanker trucks we see on the roads are actually hauling water, not oil or gas - the water is used in drilling and also to float oil up higher in the lines.

  • He is preparing for laying pipes which will run under Highway 2 - they dig entry ways at both sides of the road, then tunnel under the road without disturbing the pavement. They put in a big pipe - like a culvert - which will typically carry two separate pipes which are threaded through it.

  • There is a natural gas storage and processing plant in Tioga - he pointed it out to us.

  • They shut down lines at the natural gas plant in order to do maintenance, first bleeding out the gas in the lines - some of it goes along at 800 pounds per square inch (psi)!

  • Oil lines are cleaned with something called "pigs" - some pigs are a sort of foam cylinder, some have wire brushes - hence the term "pig," for the general shape and the bristles - they are launched like torpedoes with a "pig-launcher" and shoot through the pipelines to clean them out.

  • They are building a new railroad branch near Tioga, including a special facility for loading oil into railroad tank cars.

  • Chad has his own adventure planned for retirement - he is building a steel sailboat in which he plans to sail to Asia around Thailand, Sri Lanka, and so on - after first spending a year sailing it around the Great Lakes!

  • After we made our purchases and he bought some breakfast, he offered to drive us back to our hotel - which we gratefully accepted.
We feel like we are having a Travels With Charley experience on this trip, meeting all these amazing people like Chad.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to have met you this morning. Interesting journey you two are having, I will be sure to follow along as you blog about your adventure.
    Happy Trails