Aug 122015
Day 37 - Hazelton, ND to Gackle, ND, 11.08.2015 I was aware this morning that the following two days would again be around or over 100kms due to the distance between towns with campsites in the eastern part of North Dakota, but I set off in good spirits. This landscape seems more "cultivated" than the western part of ND or Montana but just as empty of people. At an auto repair shop in Hazelton where I bought coffee I asked why I never saw people and the man said: "Oh. I guess they're all at work!" Except that I didn't see anybody working, either ... The road was just as empty, well, almost. I decided on taking some cycling videos but every single scene I  took up was disturbed by exactly one car going through the picture. Just imagine, for ten to fifteen minutes not a single car, you set up the camera on the road side and then the truck runs right through your scene which is supposed to illustrate the absolute calm and quiet of that particular highway .... well! The route took me to Napoleon where I could see at the local cemetry that people had been right when they said that about three quarters of the poplulation had German roots ... From Napoleon I went back on to that incredibly still, peopleless landscape. Along the road you see mailboxes but no houses. Maybe this is the only place where you have to get into a car to fetch your mail! The ranches and farms are often half a mile or further from the road - which says something about the size  of the farms - which was most alluring to Europeans used to small farms during the period of "homesteading". But speaking of cars, let me add another observation of American inventiveness. I had once seen a car for sale - 25 years old, pretty run-down - which had its steering wheel on the right hand side. "Wow, an import from GB", had been my first impulse. But today I found another explanation: A car had stopped at a mailbox, a woman put something into the box. When the car moved away I couldn't see the driver! Then it became clear: these cars with their steering wheel on the "wrong" side are used to deliver mail and / or newspapapers! Cycling was hard today because of the south-easterly wind. But I had a good map, enough liquids, knew where I was going and felt good. So, barring an unforeseeable problem I would reach Gackle eventually and once again consider myself the happiest man in the world. The day wasn't over  and when I got to Gackle I was in for another surprise or two. Up on Main Road a man spoke to me from his car and gave me directions for a cyclist's hostal which was not on my ACA map. It turned out to be one of the most friendly places I have yet stayed at. Jason and Ginny Miller with their four young children have created a wonderful cyclist-friendly place in their privte home. In the basement they have a room with a few beds, a bathroom, cooker, and WiFi. For years Jason,who is a triathlete and cycling enthusiast, hd been dreaming of such a place. They live in North Dakota for three to four months a year, then go back home to California for the winter together with their 30000 beehives. His father, John Miller, is a well-known beekeeper in the States; check out This place is called "Honey Hub of Gackle" and truly an oasis for tired, thirsty and cut-off cyclists. It should not only be on the "addendum" pages of the ACA map. Thank you Jason and Ginny - should you really come to Germany one day, give me a ring!      
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What from the distance looks like a heard of elephants or dinosaurs turns out to be a work of ...


... art!


After a long ride I reach the town of Gackle which has a surprise waiting for me!


A beekeeper from California has opened his house and lawn to cycling tourists!!


It is here that I can finally wash all my clothes after weeks of handwash and improvising. I am late in the season. Jason tells me in July the house and lawn are packed with cyclists.


... faster than pitching my tent!

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 Posted by at 3:50 AM

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