Geographical Center of North America
Good start this morning with a strong northwest wind. Rode east on US Highway 2 for 20 miles then south on North Dakota Highway 3. The junction town, Rugby, is the "Geographical Center of North America". The wind is pushing me along at a good clip. Not as flat as before. The hills are long and insignificant. Head east again after switching to North Dakota Highway 19. The wind is coming straight out of the North now and the highway runs east with an occasional stretch running north. No more tailwind. The small towns seem to be getting bigger lately. None of them are on any of the highways. There's always a junction that takes you into town.
Highway 19 turns north at Minnewaukan, going around Devils Lake. The headwind is incredible and the highway runs on a causeway through the lake so there is nothing to cut the wind. I have to struggle to keep moving. I've gone 80 miles so far and have another 20 to go. After 4 miles of this, the highway turns east again and I break out of the 6 mph doldrums. The road is still running on a causeway including the intersections. That's odd. Why would anyone build a highway through a lake? Then it hits me. There are drowned trees everywhere and partially submerged buildings here and there. Devils Lake is growing. I find out later that the lake has no outlet and is consuming the land around it. I see an old map. It looks as if the lake has doubled in area. Minnewaukan is now a lakefront community.
The causeways are new and under continual work. The last 16 miles of my trip are through a construction zone. I have been seeing large trucks hauling earth, but never knew where they were going. The roadbed is 10 feet higher than the surrounding submerged land. Riding through the construction zones is hell. A sign says "Material on road". Well, there is no road surface to speak of. I'm riding through a heap of dirt, compacted by traffic. I have to ride in the ruts. The shoulder is still too soft. Everybody is fairly sensible about passing me. They can see that I have nowhere to go. Still I do not trust them. I have to concentrate to stay in the rut and watch over my shoulder for potential maniacs. After the construction zone, conditions are not much better. Sand from the construction zone has blown out on to the road a mile beyond. Where there were ruts in soft soil before there are now gaps of pavement. The shoulder is a sand dune.
Devils Lake is somewhat of a big place, but I don't feel like exploring it. I don't usually stop at the first motel I see. Today I break that law. Oddly enough, it's probably the best motel I've been in since Lewiston, Idaho two weeks ago.