Knowing of the hot temperatures for the day to come (up to 98F, 102 heat index), I made a best effort to leave early morning and hammer out some miles before the sun grew strong.
I had never seen a sign like this before, for a rest area along SR281. This perhaps best captures the reality of North + South Dakota's major roads, and the day's ride. Shade is scarce.
Gradient filament. These prairie grasses are exquisitely beautiful. Like fiber optic cables as they illuminate in the sun and change from a lime green to a indian corn purple.
Golden rod as viewed through sunglasses.
North Dakota through 'Mike's eyes'.
This barn's siding exhibited an incredible pattern of red + gray striations, accrued through years of re-coatings, and the natural weathering of its wooden composition.
Buried old truck. Still in great condition!?
It was a wild day in terms of animals. These cattle across the road provided a great mid-morning inspiration, running swiftly along on the opposite side of the road. It was like I was riding a horse in the open fields! I happily absorbed their playful energy.
Wild day situation #2. Horses just grazing. I stop for a photo. They are turn and pose. Perhaps curiosity? Perhaps natural born beer commercial ponies?
Road ridges. Great as a warning for oncoming traffic while on the shoulder (thanks to God for no need of their use yet); very rough on the hands/bike/setup when needing to cross them and/or getting carried away while taking in the surrounding atmosphere.
Some 200oz of fluids (water/Powerade mix), and still thirsting.
A solution. These high schoolers from Ellendale, ND were doing a carwash for Relay for Life. I shared shade with them for a little while before embarking on the final leg of the day, Ellendale, ND to Aberdeen, SD. They too were braving the extreme temperatures, in the hottest parts from 12-6pm. Good stuff for a great cause. Thanks for the hose-down!
Hay bales dotting the horizon.
South Dakota! Last state before Wyoming!
Detail. Fireworks store along SR281 southbound.
Red, white and blue. Another fireworks store.
Small town 23 miles north of Aberdeen. The top sign reads 'Tervetuloa' --> Finnish for 'Welcome'. Moi moi Frederick!
See the bend in these marsh reeds? That suggests the southern winds experienced during the day's ride. While considerably slowing the day's pace, the wind also functioned as a personal fan under the hot sun. First time I was actually thankful for the headwind. Very fortunate to have it today.
Almost to Aberdeen!
Shadows on the curve.
These were laundered yesterday. NaCL.
Tied as a close second to the canola oil processing facility for stench.
After getting some ice cream to cool off after the day's ride, I tried out this coffee shop, Red Rooster, in downtown Aberdeen. It was a really awesome spot with incredible coffee. The 'Runner's High' was my personal favorite, and the comfortable atmosphere made for some good post-ride relaxation.
The big comfy couch was especially welcomed after the hours on the saddle. While sitting here and soaking it all in, I was approached by the owner's wife, Angie, who kindly asked if I'd like a place to stay for the night, as she and her husband Dan commonly host travelers, including bands/performers from the shop, among others. I accepted and am super grateful for all the kindness she showed in hosting me for the night. Thank you so much Angie!
The evening at Dan + Angie's consisted of loads of good conversation. Pictured here are (left to right) Rosanne (housemate), Angie (Dan's wife), and Jeremy (soon-to-be housemate). Rosanne had actually spent some time in Xela, Guatemala; and all three are heavily involved in a fantastic project called the 'Fallout Creative Community', a non-profit which advocates the use of arts in all forms and in a wide range of capacities. For me the highlight of the night's conversation (hard to pick) was a comment made by Jeremy regarding creative force/potential, wherein he described each person as having a creative potential to share, and related that the Fallout's goal is to 'tease that out' of people. Keep up the great work guys!