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Wednesday, July 17, 2013


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A few weeks ago, SAM and ME crossed the Mississippi River, heading West.  Since that crossing, we have been climbing ever higher to finally reach the CHEYENNE GRASSLANDS, where we are now walking and rolling. 

The Grasslands is a vast,  mostly flat prairie land, cut by deep river valleys.  The SHEYENNE River Valley is such a cone.  Yesterday, SAM and ME walked from FORT RANSOM, on the shores of the SHEYENNE River, North to the town of VALLEY CITY, NORTH DAKOTA, generally following the river valley as it serpentined it's way South.

We crossed the Sheyenne River Valley three times, each time having to climb the steep sides of the valley to reach the Grasslands ... only to once again plunge down into the Sheyenne River Valley for a few miles...before once again climbing back up onto the Cheyenne Grasslands...

These valley crossings required much brute strength on my part to push 200 pound  SAM up...but even more strenuously to hold SAM from running away from me while descending back into the river valley.  The temperature was in the mid 90s...humidity in the mid 70s.  I became quickly soaked through from profuse perspiration.

To complicate matters, the AAA maps I am using for this walk across America have a number of errors and omissions.  Some of these errors occur in and around Fort Ransom, leading me to take another wrong turn, adding at least 6 miles to our walk.

So, instead of walking and rolling 34 miles to reach Valley City, SAM and ME forced our way North for about 42 miles...putting us considerably behind our scheduled arrival. 

Luckily, we were visited by HEIDI, Reporter for the Valley City Newspaper.  Heidi agreed, upon her return to Valley City, to reserve a room for SAM and ME...thank you Heidi...else, we may have found - again - no room at the INN(s).

Upon arrival, we found our room.  Upon arrival, I discovered that I was not well.  For the first hour, I nearly passed out three times...from exhaustion and hunger.  This led me to move slowly, rest every few moments, unable to complete this blog update.

It is now 5:30 in the morning of Wednesday, July 17, 2013, having begun to upload photographs some two hours ago.

SAM, standing at the front steps of our recent "home" CRANBERRY COTTAGE, some four miles from the village of FORT RANSOM.

...looking back at the trees hiding CRANBERRY COTTAGE, as SAM and ME follow the gravel road North toward Highway 21...and the tiny village of KATHRYN, the only sign of life we will see on the 34 mile roadway to our destination, VALLEY CITY, NORTH DAKOTA.

We were lucky...a road grader smoothed out the bumps in the roadway last evening.

We came to a "Y" in the gravel leading slightly West...the other leading to the East.  Our AAA map showed no such "Y", but did show the roadway to turn gradually to the, I chose the West route...A HUGE MISTAKE.

The above photo is of a clay - rockless - cliff cut into the hillside next to the Sheyenne River...just before SAM and ME followed our roadway up a VERY steep climb out of the Sheyenne River Valley, finally reaching the Grassland Plains above...our roadway then turning due West, taking us in the wrong direction.

Sheyenne River, as SAM and ME climbed out of the Fort Ransom area of the Sheyenne River Valley.

...contemplating the gravel roadway leading UP UP UP out of the deep valley.

Reaching the Grasslands high above the Sheyenne River Valley, we wistfully look back...Grasslands in the distance...Sheyenne River Valley in between.

Please say HELLO to KORY SORBY.  At the top of that first long climb, Kory stopped to see what we were about.  Not knowing of the map error of omission - not showing the "Y", I did not question Kory about our route.

Kory, a "cattle buyer" on his way to Fort Ransom, gifted me a generous cup full of tiny "June Berrys"...looking very much like the Huckleberry's of the Pacific Northwest.  I have enjoyed Kory's berrys all day as we walked...having half cup left for today's march along I-94 Freeway to JAMESTOWN, NORTH DAKOTA, our destination for tonight, some 25 miles distant.

Another view of the Grasslands. 

A Pond of reed filled water...also FULL of ducks.

Finally finding our way - with help from two ladies driving our same route to Valley City -, we reach Highway 21, which leads into hilly country as it takes SAM and ME two more times down into...and back UP onto...the Grasslands.

...yes, that unseen hill is VERY steep leading down into Sheyenne Valley.  It is much more difficult to drive SAM down steep hills than it is to push her back UP.  Her 200 pounds wants to get away from me, causing me to walk with tiny baby steps slowly DOWN.  If SAM built up any speed, I would never be able to stop her.

The distant silos are the edge of the town of KATHRYN, NORTH DAKOTA.

Kathryn "Guest House"...tho, it seem deserted.

...the Community Center.

...a Creek flowing through the center (between the only two streets) of town.  The water is a "milky" white...for which I could find no explanation...yes, I did ask.

Main Street...only 4 blocks long.

The only OPEN business...KATHRYN SALOON...which I took advantage of by downing two beers (another big mistake)...leading to nausea and weakness climbing the series of waiting hills.

The Saloon.

Roadside sign, upon leaving Kathryn.

First of many - steeper than it looks - hills.

Please say HELLO to HEIDI.  Heidi heard SAM and ME were coming, so she drove the 16 miles from Valley City, to find us.  After my interview for tonight's newspaper, Heidi kindly agreed to book (reserve) me a room at one of the Valley City motels.

Thank you, Heidi...and for your $20.00 donation to help SAM and ME along.

Once again reaching the Grasslands far above the Sheyenne River Valley, this image shows the Grasslands over which SAM and ME walked and rolled before reaching Kathryn, North Dakota.

...and a few minutes later, DOWN we ago once again into the Sheyenne River Valley.  In all, we negotiated our way through three such valleys...the temperature climbing as the afternoon progressed...along with the increasing humidity.

I did not have an easy time today.

Walking and rolling the bottom of the valley, one sees the distant tree line...marking the course of the SHEYENNE RIVER as it winds it's way South.

...once more over the river.

...and up and down the undulating rolling hills.

Ranchers fields - filled with massive rolled-up bales of hay...Winter feed for livestock (animals) ...the ever-present line of trees, marking the location of the Sheyenne.

Finally, we come to hillsides with rocks lying about.  The landscape for many miles has been denuded of rocks.

...and so, SAM and ME arrive in the town of Valley City.  Valley City stands astride I-94 (Interstate), which we will walk in the morning to Jamestown.  I was much too "spent" to take any more photographs.  We made one last STEEP climb up the hill, on top of which waited the WAGONWHEEL...our motel for the night.

Tomorrow is projected to be even HOTTER  and more HUMID than today.  For that reason, I plan to use the Interstate for most of the 25 miles we must walk and roll.

The city of BISMARK, NORTH DAKOTA, some 133 miles from Valley City, has a bicycle shop, where we have made a reservation to repair SAM's wheel spokes...hopefully we will reach Bismark by this Saturday in time to have the work completed.  We have only 48 hours to walk and roll those 133 miles...otherwise, we must wait until next Monday...meaning more $$ - which I no longer have much of - to tide us over.

Beyond Bismark, North Dakota, the land is desolate (locals say ... "a bit empty" SAM must be in good condition when we leave Bismark.  The next place of any size is SPOKANE, WASHINGTON, some 700 miles distant.


Rodney Hess said...


I see you are still moving along, although slow at times. You are one courageous gentleman. Yes, it has been very hot the past few days in the upper Midwest, with little let up until the end of the week. Have you tried the energy drinks, like Ensure, to give you extra stamina? It is very nutritious. My dad, who lived to be 94 years of age, drank Ensure mostly every day. Noone expects you to walk so many miles each day, especially in this heat, and Humidity.

So what, if you are a few days late in arriving in Bellingham. Better to be safe than sorry. Best wishes on your journey today.

Anonymous said...

Have a safe trip
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