Today is hot once again. I find myself cycling along through State Park land which is rather boring with just Spruce type trees on all sides. The terrain is flat and we have 150kms to go to get to our destination of Rapid Falls Minnesota. The only mildly exciting thing is that we are being chased by a pretty dark thunderstorm. Dark enough to produce a drenching. Adi says she would find this pleasant in the 30C temps. I on the other hand find that following a good drenching my bike runs like crap as all the oil has been washed out of it.
The drenching in the end doesn’t materialise and the baking temperatures continue. The heat and nothing special landscape start me thinking that only a cycle tourist can look forward to the next town with real anticipation. Surely an inactive person seated in a motor vehicle doesn’t scan each new length of road for signs of a settlement up ahead. Only if the petrol gauge is on empty would a motorist be that concerned. But all long distance cyclists know the signs to look out for when you are parched, tired or hungry and you start dreaming about how nice that next drink will be. Or in some cases it may be getting dark and you are still not on the outskirts of anywhere.
When I cycled across Australia and South America the sign of a town or roadhouse was always the tall cell phone or radio mast. These structures sticking up above the forest of trees were such a welcome sign. In Minnesota the sign is always a water tank with the town’s name on it. When Adi and I cycled across the US last time we were often looking for hills where the locals had spelt the town’s name out with rocks. In some countries roadside litter is indicative of approaching eateries and drinkeries. McD has a customer base that can be relied on the world over to dump their litter 10-20kms from the junk food outlet. Then the hungry cyclist just has to work out from what side of the road the litter emerged from the vehicle to ascertain whether the McD outlet is still coming up or whether he has passed it.
On this particular day having quenched my thirst and filled my stomach with a horrible American hot dog, I downed a root beer float or spider as I prefer to call it and head out with Adi onto the road again. It’s not long before my mind starts to wander though as the going is no more interesting. I’m thinking about all the stuff I have passed up along the side of the road that people have lost this trip. On my last US trip I came home with cycling caps, multi tools, pliers and various other tools I couldn’t turn down. This trip however I have been good and have only so far stopped for the awesome clear sunglasses that I found in British Columbia. These appeared just as the nose piece on my Rudy Projects broke. Today I found a Harley Davidson bandana but only kept it long enough for the photo. If it’s not cycle specific it goes back where I found it. With the exception of money of course. Anonymous donations from motorists are always accepted.
We had to stay last night in one of those cheap and Smokey biker’s motels frequently seen on the outskirts of towns. After cycling around in circles trying to find the camping ground I finally had to admit defeat and Adi got her way of a motel for the night. Sometimes the odds are stacked against you when they put camping signs along roads with no further directions indicating the distance to the campground, or anything else for that matter. Apparently the particular campground that I was trying to find was 18 miles away! A biker’s motel in the US can be had for $50 so it’s not so bad. All you have to do is put up with the smell of smoke in the unit, the sound of petrol heads parking their motors outside your window and the occasional wall thumping ritual in the morning.
But the day’s bike riding was good and this evening we have made it to Duluth. Duluth is on Lake Superior’s western most edge.
Tomorrow we will see the mighty lake properly as we cycle further East along its shore.
A good ride around the lake with a brisk tailwind to Ashlands Wisconsin. The only drama being a quick left turn off the Interstate to avoid the highway patrol as we were not allowed on this section of road but I couldn’t be bothered trying to find the alternate route.
Then it was into the Ashlands Camping ground and town park where we spent the evening camping while the 1961 High School reunion was on. Wouldn’t that be great. You could turn up and feel soo happy that you never hooked up with Tammy Bo the hot cheer leader , because look at her now! And my, look at Mary Lou with all those kids! Billy Jo can’t be pregnant at this age can she??
Anyway we woke up in Wisconsin and we will be going to bed in Wakefield Michigan.