We made a major decision this morning. We have changed our walking route. We are NOT walking US 52 to Minot, North Dakota. We are advised by numerous folks - including police - that Route 2 West of Minot is not safe for walking because of thousands...and they mean thousands...of trucks are running amok servicing the new oil fields. Also, the personal crime rate has shot out of sight in the area, making is risky - if not outright unsafe - for any walking through the area...about 300 miles East to West, into Eastern Montana.
We have, instead, decided to walk I-94 - yes, the Interstate 94 all the way from Jamestown, North Dakota into Eastern Montana...to connect with Highway 200, which crosses Montana a bit South of US 2, avoiding the oil fields.
This morning, we walked West on I-94, returning to SPIA after 7 hours on the road. We walked 26 miles...the most in any single leg since last Summer crossing the Southern Deserts.
Dozens of lakes - large and small - border nearly every road I have walked - have been walking on secondary roads before taking to the Interstate this morning.
These lakes are full of Ducks. As I walk by, they take off two by two - always in pairs -, circle around and come back to land in the same area.
There are many "Rest Stops" on I-94. I stopped in to piddle, and upon leaving, snapped these photographs of a display for tourists.
Please click click to enlarge...some of the information is interesting as well as historical.
Some truckers do not use the Rest Stops. Many "on ramps" to I-94 have 18-wheelers parked near the top, where the drivers are taking a break...most probably sleeping. Federal Law limits the number of hours in any 24 hour period that drivers can be on the move. Where ever they are when their time is up, they must move off the highway, stop, and sleep.
The yellow cylinders in the above photograph are plastic cans, partially filed with sand. They are intended to be a "non destructive" barrier for speeding vehicles - speed limit is 75 mph - who lose control of their vehicles and plow into the bridge abutments. The yellow sand filled cans not only limit vehicle damage, but also protect the bridge supports from damage.
This is a "rest stop". Here one can pull off, park, have a picnic at the provided tables, use the Restrooms, make telephone calls, pick up maps and guide information, or just take a walk on the trimmed lawns...or perhaps, sleep for a few hours.
Overnight "camping" is not allowed.
Please say HELLO to Gary.
Gary is from Winnipeg, Canada, on his way to Yellowstone National Park - about 1,000 miles distant - on his bike.
Gary and I took the opportunity to get acquainted. Gary was having a difficult time pedaling as the wind was directly in his face, blowing about 40 miles per hour.
...for the record, 1/2 of my walk today was also into that same wind AND generally up hill.
Please say HELLO to Evan.
Upon returning to SPIA, Evan and I chatted about his work. He is working in Maintenance - picking up litter when we met - for the local BUFFALO MALL, next to WAL-MART.
As I drove SPIA from Jamestown to the village of Medina, North Dakota, I spotted Gary sitting alongside the freeway. I stopped, walked back to him, asking if he was OK...oh yes, he replied...just taking my break...which I do every 10 miles or so.
Truly a Gentleman's Tour.
Some pics of the "declining" village of Medina, where I parked SPIA as I took my second walk of the day...4 hours - two hours into that awful wind -, covering another 14 miles - total for the day = 40 miles...and I am NOT hurting or tired even though I continued walking until 7:45 pm.
Medina, North Dakota.
Medina, North Dakota.
Looking South from Madina toward the local road connecting with I-94 in the far distance. This connecting road is one mile from the freeway.
I-94 West of Madina, where I walked this evening. The waterways next to the roadway were full of ducks.
We drove West on I-94 after returning to Medina. We tried to find parking in the village of Crystal Springs, but there was not even a real town...no place to park..., so we continued West another 5 miles to the town of Tappen, where SPIA is hidden behind the above service station, protected from the howling wind; even so, as I sit at the table typing at 10:08 pm, SPIA is rocking from sudden gusts that sweep around the building.
Tomorrow, will walk BACK I-94, picking up the 5 miles we drove...then walk West on I-94 toward the city of Bismark (Capital City of North Dakota). We are about 115 miles from the Montana border, which we should reach in 4 days; i.e., Thursday.
Now, to post this - hoping somebody out there is reading it - before falling into bed.