Hwy 10, West of Mandan

Hwy 10, West of Mandan

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Last Ride of the Year?

With a major winter storm predicted within the next 36 hours, the opportunity for ‘one last ride’ seemed too good to pass up.  Dressing in layers and with a single water bottle in tow, I headed out late in the morning on my commuter bike, the Surly Cross-Check.

(The commuter, sans Schwalbe tires, Hondo fenders, and Nitto rear rack)

For nearly all of my rides, I travel south out of the neighborhood onto Tyler Parkway, the main arterial from northwest Bismarck into town.  While typically busy with traffic, the road is wide and accommodating to both bicyclists and pedestrians.

(Tyler Parkway, looking south)

Following a brief stop at Gate City Bank, I headed west on Burnt Boat Road until I reached the entrance to the Missouri River overlook.  Here, I paused before riding the steep descent to Pioneer Park.

(Overlooking the Missouri River)

The scene beyond Pioneer Park has changed considerably since my last ride, now with leafless trees and very few trail users.

(One of many excellent paved paths of the Bismarck/MandanTrail Network)

As I proceeded south, I noticed the presence of wildlife activity immediately adjacent to the trail.  A sign that winter has indeed arrived in western North Dakota.

(Bark!  It’s what’s for dinner!)

Further south passing underneath Memorial Bridge, I arrived at the intersection of Memorial Highway and Front Street.  The building on the northeast corner (formerly Hansen’s Furniture) will be the future home of Epic Sports.  Having had a personal tour of the building last month by friend and biking compatriot, Dennis Kemmesat, I can’t wait to see the transformation that is to come.  2014 is slated to be an awesome year for anyone associated with the shop.  My prediction is Epic Sports will be highlighted in Bicycling magazine as one of the best bikes shops in the northern Plains sometime in 2015.

(Future home of Epic Sports)

I headed west into the wind over Memorial Bridge.  There are five turnouts along the south side for each military branch.

(United States Marine Corps turnout on Memorial Bridge)

After navigating through the pseudo-industrial development that comprises Mandan’s Memorial Highway, I resume my travels on a paved path immediately south of Kist Livestock.  By the sound of the stockyard, there is a major sale today.

(Path along the south border of Kist Livestock Auction Company)

Continuing on I reached a critical intersection along the trail.  On any other day, the northern terminus of the Fort Lincoln Trolley is where I decide to travel north (Harmon Lake), west (to work or further to New Salem), or south (Abraham Fort Lincoln State Park or the many gravel roads southwest of Mandan).  Today, however, I turn around to head home.  As much as I would like to continue riding, my daughter is home from college, and with less than a day left of her visit I need to make the most of our limited time together.

(North, West, or South?  All good options!)

Will this be the last ride of the year?  Stay tuned…