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July 18-25th...

posted Aug 16, 2010, 9:10 AM by Matthew Gorzlancyk

July 18


I woke up at 730 am with plans of reaching Rugby, ND, which was 90 miles away from Michigan, ND. It was a very nice day but the highway became very unpredictable fast. The shoulders would be quite large, but decrease in size for extensive increments. You would experience a semi truck from five or six feet away, then from two or three. The road kept changing, and so did the experience.


I reached Leeds, ND by 800 pm or so. I ran into a group of motorcyclists as I was pulling into town. They decided to go to the same pub I had chosen. I guess I was not paying too much attention to them, for I had decided to be a ghost around those who may be a threat or intimidating in any way. I just spoke with the bartender and brought my bicycle on in to the bar.


The motorcyclists had noticed me. There were two guys and two girls in the group. One of the dudes came over to the bar and invited me to be seated with them. The group turned out to be quite solid. We enjoyed a couple of beers together (2 of which were purchased by them) and spoke about the trip and about a band that one of the guys was in. The band is Shovelhead. They have songs on Youtube: Crash, Bounce, Shut up, Unbreakable, and Convenient Pain.


The motorcyclists ended up leaving early and made arrangements for me at the RV park in Leeds, ND. This was very nice, but the people in the bar were full of tour questions. I ran into Vicki and Bill as I was about to leave. Vicki, a town regular, offered me a beer and dinner. I could not pass that up. Vicki, Bill and I ended up having a few and I was told I could sleep in an abandoned place behind the bar that was supposedly for hunters during the hunting season. I decided to accept since it would be nice to sleep indoors again (though I had slept indoors only a day earlier).


Vicki and Bill both ended up leaving as I was talking with another gentleman at the bar. After our discussions of Ronald Reagan, politics, and outdoor gear, I was pretty spent. I decided around 130am that I needed to get to this abandoned house and go to sleep…


Well, I got to the house and it was a trip. I brought my bike in, but searched for a light for at least five or ten minutes. Fortunately amongst the clutter I was able to find a couple beers in the fridge. I then looked around the living room to find a light to read by.


The living room was completely furnished, but was wood paneled. I tried hitting each light that was set up as if they had been there for years and would be ready to go. None of them worked. I found myself looking around the living room with my flashlight… There were no outlets, and the room was completely setup as if there should be! I got to thinking it was some kind of weird kill room or a place where the neighborhood weirdies might get wandering vagrants to let their guard down and go ‘Deliverance’ on their asses!!


I ended up living, and was not given any ‘Deliverance’ treatment, fortunately… I ended up sleeping on a chair (the cleanest looking piece of furniture available) and having a pretty good sleep.


July 19


I woke up a little late today. I was a little hungover from the previous evening in Leeds. The townspeople were solid, and especially the woman who let me use her kill room to sleep in. PBR definitely will take some getting used to… headaches…


I headed up to the grocery store around 3:00pm and ran into another bicyclist from New York (Anish). We decided we would ride together to the geographical center of North America: Rugby, North Dakota. We cruised together and hit a $10 campsite where we utilized the continental breakfast we were not supposed to as campers. ***This campground did have some personality though! When we approached to inquire about rates and such, a couple of rednecks sat perched outside of the check-in. They were speaking of politics and Jesus, as many rednecks tend to do. The first thing we were told by an over-all wearing hillbilly was that we were now in a ‘red’ state. (Maybe he thought we were gay?…). It was really awkward, so I said, “Sure enough, fella, it here be one o’ dem red states.” He liked this answer. Anish then engaged him in some conservative talk, so we could pass his test. The best part of this experience was that there was an 80 year old man who kept saying things like, “ derf ba doof fart pppppooooo tie tang.” I acted like I understood his language and humored him. Anish asked me later what he had said, for he thought I was really conversing with the old feller… I don’t think the old guy even knew what he was saying…


We then went on to set up our tents and went to sleep.


July 20


I heard Anish rustling around in the morning and actually got out of my tent before 8:00am (a big deal for me!!). We nailed the continental breakfast and coffee, even though there was a sign that said, “breakfast and coffee not for campers.” Too flippin’ bad. For the terrible accommodations, we were owed some food (not too mention the b.s. conversation we were forced to engage in prior to getting sites).


Along the road we dealt with a bunch of road construction. We met a dude who provided us with some interesting chauvinistic humor, and then proceeded to tell us about his criminal history. Just out of prison he was…, surprise? After our time with toothless Steve, the construction worker, we continued down the road to Minot, ND. I had made plans to meet up with Logan Osterberg for the second time of my trip. Yee-hee!! Logan is one kick-ass fella. I met him later in the evening following a rainstorm, but had an amazing diner experience prior to the adventures Logan and I experienced.


So Anish and I had to get a little lunch on the way. We stopped at a really sweet diner where there was a 50 something year-old fella talking religion and such to a group of older folks. My favorite line I heard from this guy had to do with evolution. He said, “I don’t believe in that bullshit evolution stuff. If that there evolution is true then why ain’t monkeys bornin’ humans?” He then went on to speak of government conspiracy and provided some insight into religious matters for the couple of people on breathing machines nearest him. It may have been the best lunch ever. This guy was unbelievable. His bleeding cross tattoo with the American flag shreds was my favorite piece of his costume.


Anish and I arrived on the outskirts of Minot, ND around 6:00pm. We got owned by the rain as soon as we were entering the city. Fortunately for us, some dude in a truck picked us up on the road right before the torrential rains began. He dumped us off at a bar nearby, once the rain stopped, and that was the last I saw Anish for the trip. He dipped out to Seattle, WA very quickly. Him and I will stay in touch. He turned out to be one hell of a good guy.


I met Logan around 7:00pm. We decided to head to his hometown of Mohall, ND. There I met his mother, stepfather, and his siblings: Zack, Kendra, and Beckett. We enjoyed everything Mohall had to offer us.


The first night there we enjoyed a couple of beverages at a fine drinking hole in Mohall following my introduction to the Herigstad clan. I really had an unbelievable time. Logan has an amazing family. They were very welcoming and generous to me during my stay.


July 21st and 22nd in Mohall, ND with the Herigstad family


Logan and I did a fair amount of shooting, drinking, and hanging out in Mohall. He always said there was very little to do there, and I guess he was right. We did do a lot of hanging out, but it was very nice. I got to spend some time with some very special people. The Herigstad’s sent me on my way on the 23rd , very full, and with a little dinner dinero. What a wonderful time!


July 23rd


I had planned on leaving a day earlier, but the weather was quite rough. Paul had checked the radar and displayed to me the rainy weather on the 22nd. So, a day later than planned, Logan and I were on the road back to Minot, ND for the continuation of my tour.


We grabbed a little breakfast, picked up a handlebar bag for me, and I was back on the road. It was difficult to leave, as it always when meeting up with friends. I am very thankful to have a friend such as Logan meet up with me on the road.


From Holfstrud, ND I made it to Ray, ND. Upon my arrival I headed directly to the pub. I spoke with a gentleman named Kirk Mendenhall for a couple of hours. It turned out that this 80 year-old man had been a barge driver, a tugboat driver, a police officer, and a truck driver over his years. He gave me his, and his wife’s, entire story it seemed. He had recently lost this amazing woman only about a year ago.


Following my bar experience I moved on to a city park where there was free camping. Free camping has been a great part of the North Dakota experience. It has been very nice to know you can avoid spending money to sleep most nights. This frees up money for food and a beer on occasion.


July 24


I made it to Williston, ND today. I really only biked about 35 miles, but ran into a really nice dude outside of Wal-mart. The guy’s name is John Bliss. We got to talking, and he informed me of a campground in town called ‘Buffalo Trails’ where he was planning on throwing something of a ‘shindig’ for a little crew. He told me I was welcome, and that there was a bunch of beer and food to be consumed. This was a very difficult decision for me, as many of you would know if you have ever spent time with me… I did some soul searching, and next thing I knew I was enjoying a cold Budweiser and eating barbecue.


This was no ordinary camp by any means. The gang consisted of a whole bunch of dudes who had come to Williston, ND looking for work during the big oil boom the town has been experiencing due to new drilling methods. There were tents and trailers setup all over the place!!! It really reminded me of the Canadian television program: The Trailer Park Boys… Many of the characters were present: Ricky, Bubbles, Julian… Hell, one guy even passed out on the toilet and we had to threaten him with a bucket of water to get him out!


We had a very rowdy night. It soon turned into another rowdy following day…


July 25


I woke up early having planned on riding with another bicyclist I had met at the campground, Paul Calewarts. He was bicycling from Jacksonville, FL and was on the same path as I. I got ready, but my knee was causing me some pretty bad problems. Following an attempt to move on, I decided to turn around and take part in one more day of Williston shenanigans with the TP boys crew. We did raise some hell, but I was productive enough to finally attach my speedometer for my journey.


***Here is my shout-out to you guys!!! Thank you for everything! Especially you, John Bliss, for allowing me to set up on your site and cooking for all of us. I had a blast. It was much needed at that juncture in my journey. Stay in touch guys! …and you Minnesota gangsters, take care! Thanks for lunch.