Day 6. September 22. Fessenden to Kongsberg

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The route for the final day of the September ride to Kongsberg ND is shown by the violet-colored line on the map.

Martin - park and campground

Martin – park and campground

After breakfast, Myra took me from our motel in Harvey back to where I had left off the previous day, east of Fessenden.

The first 20 miles from that starting point were to make up for stopping short of my goal the previous day. They went quickly. The winds were in my favor for the first time since the very first day. And starting at Fessenden, where I get back on US-52, there was a broad, paved shoulder, so I didn’t have to weave back and forth across a rumble strip. This was easy riding for a change.

By the time I got to Harvey, Myra had already arrived in Velva and had reserved a motel room. I got a sandwich at the Tesoro station and then moved on.

I stopped in Martin to make some adjustments and oil my chain. Across the street from me was the town park, so I took a photo. Some time back I had been told by other bicycle tourers that in North Dakota’s small towns there are city parks where you can stay overnight for little or no money. This appeared to be one of those legendary places. I had also seen one back in Page, but hadn’t taken a photo there.

It looks like most of them are intended for self-contained RVs, but there are also some that might be useful on future rides in North Dakota.

McHenry County line on US-52

McHenry County line on US-52

Kongsberg lies in McHenry County, but at the point shown in the photo I still had 40 miles to go and three more county lines to cross. My great-grandfather’s homestead near Kongsberg was on the south edge of McHenry County. My grandfather, when he became of age, took a homestead for himself just to the south, across the line in McLean County.  McLean was one of the two counties I would ride in after leaving McHenry, and before getting back to McHenry.  Even after this bicycle ride completed, I planned to be spending a lot of time going back and forth between the two counties.

Kief

Kief

I left US-52 near Balfour and then headed south on state highway 53. This was pleasant riding even though the wind was not at my back on this segment. The winds were light so it didn’t matter much. When I passed by Kief (shown in the photo) I had only 17 miles to go.

Kief is named after Kiev, capital of Ukraine.  There are a lot of Ukrainian surnames in this area.

Butte

Butte

I presume the town of Butte is named for the nearby buttes on the Missouri Escarpment, or maybe for Dogden Butte in particular, which is where state highway 53 would take me next.

Looking back on the road from Butte to the Dogden Butte

Looking back on the road from Butte to the Dogden Butte

Soon after leaving Butte, the road left the flat land of the Souris River drainage basin and climbed up Dogden Butte on the Missouri Escarpment.  It was a climb of about 300 feet, which is not particularly long or steep, but it was the biggest climb on this 6-day trip. The road doesn’t go all the way up Dogden Butte, which rises another 200 feet above the roadway, but goes high enough to give a view of the Drift Prairie region to the north.  One can see some of the buildings in the towns along the Souris River, ten miles away.

Looking north from the road near Dogden Butte

Looking north from the road near Dogden Butte

Here is another view of the plains to the north, from .  One thing that’s different now than when my great-grandfather homesteaded is the trees – mostly ash trees.  Back in 1902 it was hard to find a tree.  Even 50 years ago, there were far fewer trees than now, although by that time  shelterbelts had been planted on the north and west sides of the farmsteads.

Sign on Hwy 53 pointing to Kongsberg, 1 mile to the north

Sign on Hwy 53 pointing to Kongsberg, 1 mile to the north

Here, at the intersection of Kongsberg Road and Highway 53, one can see the top of Dogden Butte on the horizon. I’ve never been to the top, but my mother and others used to like to climb up for the view. According to the diaries she left, which I’ve just recently started to read, I may have missed a chance back in the 1960s to go with her for a walk up there.

Kongsberg ND - looking north past the town on Kongsberg Road

Kongsberg ND – looking north past the town on Kongsberg Road

Kongsberg was never very large, but the old brick bank building is still standing. This building later served as the church where my father was pastor when he met my mother.  The railway still runs at the base of the escarpment, although now, instead of grain, livestock, and a few passengers, it mostly carries oil from the Bakken oil fields a little further to the west.

Grandpa’s country store was just on the other side of the church. I ended my ride there, and then spent the next day with family, touring some of the old places by car and on foot. It wasn’t enough time. I hope to get back there soon to take more photos.

 

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Day 5. September 21. Carrington to Fessenden

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Rest stop on Hwy 15 at the former site of the Germantown Baptist Church

  The day’s route is shown in green on the above map. According to the wind forecasts, it had looked like Monday the 22nd (Day 5 of September’s six-day ride to Kongsberg ND) would be more difficult than the other days. It turned out to be that way.  Even though I got an earlier start […]

Day 4. September 20. Past Hope to Carrington

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Historic James River Church east of Carrington

Day Four of September’s six-day ride to Kongsberg ND  followed a straight line from east to west, much like on Day Two.  All 61.5 miles were on highway 200.  I began where the previous day’s ride had left off, about 12 miles northwest of Hope, and ended in Carrington. To get to the starting point, […]

Day 3. September 19. Gardner to somewhere northwest of Hope

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Taking a breather on the way to Page ND

Date of ride: 19 September 2015 The 3rd day of my 6-day ride to Kongsberg, ND took me from Gardner ND to a highway intersection northwest of Hope.  The day’s ride of 55 miles is shown in a purplish color on the above map. The first object was to get going early enough so Myra […]

Day 2. September 18. Waubun MN to Gardner ND

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MN-113 Roadside

Ride date: 18 September 2015 The 6-day ride to Kongsberg ND resumed on the 18th. We started by driving to Waubun, retracing my ride of two days earlier. We drove past the restaurant at White Earth – the one with the sign saying “umbay wesinin” – but didn’t stop to eat there. The parking lot […]

Day 1. Park Rapids to Waubun MN

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Restaurant at White Earth

September 16, 2015. Most of Day 1 of the 6-day ride to my birthplace home was spent on roads I had never been on before, many of them on the White Earth Reservation.  These were roads that turned out to be in very good shape for bicycling even if they were not identified as such […]

Park Rapids MN to Kongsberg ND, September 2015

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Kongsberg, ND

  This is a summary of a 6-day, 331 mile ride from Park Rapids, Minnesota to Kongsberg, North Dakota. The final destination was my birthplace home.  It had been 28 years since I last saw the place, a small village that lost its post office back in the 1950s. The starting point was the home […]