Day 24: Shelby to Hingham - Racpat Northern Tier - CycleBlaze

June 24, 2021

Day 24: Shelby to Hingham

Prairie Winds

“I’ve had Neil Young’s song Prairie Winds going through my mind the past two days,” Patrick says as we are riding out of town around 6am. Robert says, “Me too.” For now the wind is calm. The various weather wind maps have shown the winds mostly from the Northwest.  To the north we can see a couple of the mountains that are probably in Canada.  Dark clouds are forming over them and rain starts to obscure the horizon.

About 15 miles from Chester, the shoulder becomes nice and wide. Large trucks for the most part give us room by moving over into the other lane, traffic is light. We reach Chester by 10am, take a food break and a cold Starbuck’s Frappuccino at a convenience store. Chester was our original goal for today, but with the favorable winds we made good progress. A lady walks by and Robert talks with her about the next town, Joplin another 10 miles, where she lives.  We are considering  whether to continue riding, as the wind is in our favor. She says, yes we can camp in the city park, but there is a water restriction in place. That means the park is no longer sprinkled and turning yellow. Not too bad for us since we are always fearful of a sprinkler head popping up right next the tent in the middle of the night. The click, hiss of air and then the tchuck-tchuck while you wait for the drops to hit the tent are something you never forget. Of course it can always be worse, the sprinkler head can pop-up right in the vestibule of your tent….

We ride to Joplin, and then make another decision: continue on to Hingham another 16 miles. “We must respect the wind,” Robert says. “We don’t want the wind to turn against us,” Patrick adds. Now the wind is a tailwind. After Joplin, the shoulder once again becomes narrow with rumble strips.

As we ride, the small towns seem to have just been plopped onto prairie, surrounded by farm lands. Each one has an interesting metal Welcome sign. Rudyard however, had a sign that indicated 596 nice people lived there with one old sore head. There are brief sprinkles of rain as we were catching up the rainstorm. Most of the rain is virga, evaporating before hitting the ground.

Reaching Hingham, we stop at the Hi-way Bar and Grill, and pick up a few beers and then ride to the water tower, where the city park is located. There’s a nice shelter from the wind, Patrick and Robert rearrange the picnic tables being stored inside the shelter to make room for the tents. There are restrooms, water and even power outlets under the shelter.  The caretaker dropped by (later we found out he is the Mayor) to turn on the sprinklers for later tonight. We have set up our tents under the shelter.

We head back to the Spencer’s Hi-way Bar and Grill for a burger, a brew and have interesting conversations with the locals. “Are you the people camping,” one of the patrons says. “Yes”, we say. The burger and fries were excellent and the Cold Smoke beers hit the spot. We see another loaded cyclist come by, Robert goes out and talked with him; he’s from the Seattle area and heading to Minnesota, doing long days and he kept riding.

There are two men, both local farmers at the next table having a political conversation. The older guy was obviously more progressive then the younger man. Patrick says, “It’s refreshing to hear people with different views actually being able to have a conversation.” The older man taught the younger man geometry. The younger man is a local farmer and we had a good conversation about farming practices and climate change. The farmer even admits that without government subsidies he could not farm: Wheat gets him only about $200 an acre, while he has to put in about $240 to make it happen. What a great evening. We are reminded why we enjoy bicycle touring: if makes you spent the night in little towns like this and meet people like these.

 

Ready to Roll
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Read this carefully
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We found proof CRT is being spread in Montana....
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Traveling West, do not believe this sign, O'Hara Motel is closed
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Chester by 10 am, we decide to Ride the Wind and continue onto Joplin, and then decide whether to continue onto Hingham
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Jen GrumbyThat looks like a great camping shelter!

We were always so excited to find places like this: shelter from wind and rain, bathrooms, outlets to charge devices.

What more does one need?
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2 months ago
The caretaker of the City Park, also the Mayor
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Spencer's Hi-Way Bar and Grill
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Today's ride: 70 miles (113 km)
Total: 935 miles (1,505 km)

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