Day 24. Circle

68 miles 2,910 feet

One of the first things I check each morning is the wind forecast using both Apple Weather wind animations and Bicycle Route Navigator. Both showed what I hope for this morning: Wind from the west, 10 mph or more, a great omen.

But first breakfast at the Hell Creek Bar, the same place where I had dinner last night. The bar was occupied by 8 or so men having coffee, laughing and telling jokes. One older gentleman next to me told me this is their therapy. He is a retired rancher, and said "not a good one, I went broke." There is no irrigation so farming depends on nature's vagaries. "Poke and hope" as he puts it. He now has a greenhouse for flowers in the town. There was the usual joking disbelief and what I was undertaking.

Missing from the restaurant this morning were the paleontologists. They left earlier before it opened to head out to the site. There are lots of paleontologists; the current group staying at my motel was Paleo X and they weren't in the habit if having restaurant breakfasts but other groups are.

Breakfast started late and I had financial things to attend to, so the ride began late. at 9:30 am. I had tailwind from the start, and the same up and down prairie wave terrain I had yesterday which meant than on average there was not much gain, but a lot of up and down from beginning to end. The road started with a broad shoulder but this gave out for the middle third. About 3 pm thunderclouds appeared and I found shelter and a small, closed, hole-in-the-wall bar. I waited under the protected entrance for the storm to pass.

Then I biked the remaining 12 miles into Circle, an agricultural support community with lots of heavy equipment, much of it from John Deere. The motel is simple and nice, and highlight was a cute lab named Bear who was very interested in me.

Dinner was at the town restaurant with baseball on the big screens and lots of multigenerational families dining.

So over the last 3 days with generally net flat terrain and tailwinds I've covered about half the width of Montana—309 miles out of 630. If the terrain stays flat, and I hear that it is in North Dakota, and if the winds stay favorable, I could make good progress to Minnesota. But wind direction is fickle and that is the most important factor.
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Shelter from the storm in a closed bar

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Bear the lab

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