Day 36: Burlington Settler's Park to Towner - Racpat Northern Tier - CycleBlaze

July 6, 2021

Day 36: Burlington Settler's Park to Towner

Patrick finds more treasures

“I just figured out why we cycle…it’s so you can find treasures at the side of the road,” Rachel jokes as we stop at the Homestead Restaurant in Minot for second breakfast. Patrick has found a set of drill bits, a T-square, and later another ND license plate. All this along with the antlers he found yesterday, lots of things now hanging on the back of his bike until we send a package home.

We are asked by many, why we cycle. For us it’s about connections, meeting people and to stay curious about what we are seeing even when at home. One of our favorite quotes is: “Travel allows you see a thousand lives you might have lived.” While we travel mostly by bike, we first view ourselves as travelers, and the bike is one of many modes of transportation. On other travels, some of our best experiences have been when hitching a ride in a long haul truck in South Africa and listening to Hank Williams, or taking the train in India, or mini bus in Indonesia during Ramadan. What better way to understand our country than by meeting a farmer who went to Mongolia to learn more of prairie management; or talking with a man raised in the area and how the family homesteaded; or the waitress who is from Nez Perce Idaho and moved to small town North Dakota to be with her boyfriend. 

The beauty of the bike though, the scenery is unframed and the cyclist becomes part of the scenery. Cows stare as we pass by, birds take flight, and the little Prairie Dogs turn and run. And you go slow enough to find treasures at the side of the road.

On a slog of day like today, we ask ourselves, why do we cycle? The wind is not our friend, blowing from the Northeast. We weathered a huge storm overnight, all of a sudden the sky opened up and rain poured down. Patrick bolts out of the tent to pull the rainfly over the tent. Even though we are in the shelter the blowing wind sprays water and a hole in the roof drips right next to the tent. Today, we are not in a particular hurry starting out, the wind will do what it does determining our ride and in tandem with the direction of the road. The temperature has cooled down. A drizzle starts then stops, the wide shoulder stops after Surrey until about 10 miles from Towner adding tension to the ride. The mile markers pass slowly, thoughts of “can it only have been a mile since the last one?” With the direction of the road we can see the water tower of Towner and seems so close yet is at least 8 miles away. Mostly it is the long straight road, with “not much to focus on,” Patrick says, that seems to take forever to make any progress.

This too is why we cycle: a reminder of what to focus upon. When riding and there is an obstacle on the road, if you focus on the obstacle, you will hit it; the focus needs to be on where you want to go to miss the obstacle. So on a day like today, the focus is just keep pedaling, and tell each other “Let’s Get There.”  Eventually, we do.

We reach Towner about 2pm and set up in the shelter in the city park. Coming into town the Welcome Sign declares Towner to be the Cattle Capital of North Dakota. It’s reasonable to think that the local bar, something Moose, will have good hamburgers, so we walk to the bar for some very good burgers and good bottled beer for dinner.

At the end of the day, we think about the treasure of being able to ride our bikes together.

 

Nice drill bit set found, of course, going up a hill.
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Heart 2 Comment 2
Scott AndersonOh my gosh! Who could pass that up!
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2 months ago
Rachel and Patrick HugensTo Scott AndersonPatrick has collected license plates from everywhere he/we have cycled, now on the ceiling of the remodeled garage/workshop.

He has a good eye to spot his treasures
Rachel
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2 months ago
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Heart 3 Comment 3
Scott AndersonThey look like the best of friends.
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2 months ago
Rachel and Patrick HugensTo Scott AndersonLove it!
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2 months ago
Jeanna & Kerry SmithI think they're cuddling.
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2 months ago
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Heart 2 Comment 1
Bill ShaneyfeltSome of my most used tools are "roadkill." Coins and bungees in abundance. Some, like hammers never got picked up. Screwdrivers and pliers and socket wrenches and so on got left with friends along the way. Part of the joys of cycle touring!
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2 months ago
Towner "old" city hall
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City Park
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Today's ride: 55 miles (89 km)
Total: 1,468 miles (2,363 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 4
Comment on this entry Comment 3
Rachael AndersonBeautiful writing! The two of you are amazing!
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2 months ago
Rachel and Patrick HugensThanks Rachael,
We think the same of you guys.
R
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2 months ago
Jeff ArnimThis is my favorite entry so far; I've come back to re-read it three times already. It makes me want to load up some panniers, throw the kid in the trailer, and head to the Great Plains!
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2 months ago