Written by: Ginny Hughes
We finished week four in the capital of ND, Bismarck over the weekend. The Grace Lutheran church welcomed us warmly and provided a bountiful Sunday breakfast. Even though it was a rest day some of us chose to help out with painting the school rooms in the basement as they had had trouble finding volunteers for the task. The first day of week five took us from Bismarck to the little town of Strasburg ND. The crops in this part of the country are corn, sunflowers, soybeans, wheat and I’m sure others. I was told that this is a very rich growing area because of the exceptionally deep topsoil. The welcome we received in Strasburg was over the top. The first thing I noticed was someone yelling to me from the other side of the road. That was Teri, the local newspaper reporter getting pictures for an article about the Fuller Bike Adventure. The mayor had been very generous in arranging for us to stay in a school and to prepare our dinner in the senior center. I’m on dinner team this week and we opted to make a baked potato bar and salad. After dinner arrangements were made for us to be picked up by a school bus and transported to Lawrence Welk's family homestead. The Welk's and others in this area emigrated from Russia after having first moved from Germany to Russia. The homestead is in a beautiful setting on a lake. The barn is bigger than the house. Next we were transported to a large Catholic Church built in the early 20th century and is now on the National register of historic places. Visiting a sod house was next on the agenda, but we were all too tired after a long day of riding. Today was the hardest day of the trip so far. Everyone agreed. We conquered 83 miles with head and cross winds. It was relentless. Temps were in the 80 and it was humid. But it was the winds that did everyone in. I almost gave up at the last rest stop but somehow found a second wind. Once again we arrived into a community that has opened its arms to us. We crossed the South Dakota border and are now in Leola, the rhubarb capitol of the world. We passed high grassy plains with the occasional pond. Bird life was abundant and I loved the smell of the roadside wildflowers. We are thankful to be in a school gym with air conditioning and bellies full after a wonderful meal provided by some of the folks in town. I’m continually amazed at the outpouring of love and support we receive from so many. Tomorrow is the Fourth of July when we will celebrate and reflect upon our many freedoms. And do a bit of biking.