Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ronnie's 2016 Adventure...... Jordan, Montana to Sandusky, Ohio




June 3rd, 2016  Jordan, Montana

Finally!  It begins!!

Lolli and I have been on the road two and a half days driving from Fort Bragg to Jordan, Montana.  1,300 miles across eastern California, Nevada and up through Idaho to Montana; her trusty Subaru cranking out the miles.  My panniers and bicycle loaded in the back.  We spend our last night together in the Garfield Motel, in Jordan, the same Motel I ended up in at the finish of my first cross country adventure when I finally had too much heat and wind and gave up.

Now, five years later, I am back.

Didn't feel like I slept but I'm sure I did.  I am still woozy in the head, have been for over a week.  Meniere's inner ear disease?  Vertigo?  Stress?  I will have to ride careful.  No fast turns on the bike.  But, enough about me!


Lolli takes my photo and away I go.  7:35AM.

Clear skies, decent temperature.  TAILWIND!!  So much better than when I quit five years ago because of the high temperature, strong headwinds and 66 miles to the next town!!

Horses watch me go by.


Duckie ignores the roadwork alongside our road.  I can't figure out why they are building a parallel road out here in the middle of nowhere.  Make work project?


The tailwind just keeps increasing!!  I'm up to 32.5 mph with a loaded bike going down some hills and 4.7 mph up!  Rollers.  Rollers.  Rollers!




At the rest stop 36 miles from Jordan Lolli arrives with cold chocolate milk, hard boiled eggs and yogurt!  I really appreciate it but we are going to have to let each other go.  I need to continue my trip and she is anxious to get to her cabin at Elger Bay on Camano Island where she will spend the summer.

She offers to continue "SAG support" until I reach Circle, another 30 miles but no.  This is it.  I need to get centered.  Get my head in the game.

"You worry about yourself!!"

Away she goes and so do I.

20 miles from Circle I spot a cottonwood tree beside the road.  I park in the shade and take a break.  I'm having a nice rest when along comes a cycling tourist!  He stops, we talk a bit and decide to press on.


We have a great tailwind.


The wind gradually changes to NNW and the road gradually changes to the NNE.  Pretty strong side winds.  Especially exciting when 18 wheelers roar by!  We reach a high point where there is a micro wave communication tower.  From there it is mostly down hill and the rollers are less often.  The last 10 miles to Circle are tough with the side wind, the wind never abates.

We arrive in Circle around 3:00PM.



We stop at the market and I ask the checker about a place to camp for the night.  She says, "Ask the cop shop over there" and points across the street.

I walk over and talk to the nice lady manning the "Cop Shop".  I play my "Old man on a bicycle" card and am rewarded with directions to the City Park.  On the way out the door she says;

"Ignore the 'NO OVERNIGHT CAMPING' sign,  That's for RV's"!

Down the hill, over the railroad tracks and into to the City Park we roll.

We discover the City Park has wind shelters!  We chose one.


The wind picks up even more!  But it keeps the mosquitoes away!!

Excellent First Day!!  Amazing!  I had worried myself sick about this trip.  In fact I was going to resume this ride two years ago but talked myself out of it due to worrying.  But hey!  Excellent "First Day".  Perfect Temperature.  Great tailwind.  Wonderful support from Lolli and a fun cycling partner.

 The guy I'm riding with turns out to be from Holland and goes by the name, "Ezy".  He left Holland 15 months ago and has been through Germany, Switzerland, France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, to Singapore where caught a plane to Los Angeles.  He has been to Brice and Zion, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and is now in Circle.  He is heading for Canada and then on to New York where he will catch a plane back to Europe!!  Check out his twitter account!

Ritzo Holtman "Ezy"

And Yes, he is doing his whole trip wearing wooden shoes!!

67 miles for the day.

June 4th

Up at 6:30  The wind died and it was a nice quiet night.


Ezy cooked enough oatmeal for both of us.

We pack and are almost ready to roll when I discover my billfold is missing!!  It is not in my handle bar bag where I keep it.  I take everything out of my panniers, can't find it.  I'm starting to doubt my new found friend when I finally find my billfold inside my tent!!  I had put it in there for safe keeping!  E-gad!

A couple photos before we leave.



Finally, we pedal back into town.

It is Saturday but we check to see if the Library is open.  It is!  They have working wifi so I email Lolli and my brother and then do a Facebook post.  A woman from the local newspaper happens to be in the Library and she interviews Ezy.  The woman has been to Holland so she and Ezy have a fun conversation.

A bar in town has a great reminder:


"Nothing Happens 'til Somebody Gets Off the Couch!"

Ezy and I are definitely off the couch!

Time to roll.  Ezy has decided to head northeast to Sidney and on into Canada.  I am going to continue southeast to Glendive.


The Duckies are loving it.


Oh boy!  I get to sing the Alfalfa Hay song!  My Grandpa taught me this song when I was a wee shaver.


"Alfalfa Hay.
Alfalfa Hay.
We feed our cows.
Alfalfa Hay!"

They perk up and seem to enjoy the song!

Halfway to Glendive I stop and have lunch in the shade of a grain elevator.


After lunch, while riding with the wind, I decide to make a list the AWESOMES that have happened so far this trip.


AWESOME #1 - Lolli driving me all the way to Jordan and letting me go!
AWESOME #2 - Amazing support and money donations from friends and the SOBs.
AWESOME #3 - First Day of ride turns out to be favorable winds and temperature!
AWESOME #4 - Free stay in Circle City Park and wifi in the Library.
AWESOME #5 - Meeting, riding and camping with Ezy.

I arrive in Glendive and spot a nice park.  Right across the street is Albertson's Grocery so I go in, find the manager and ask if I can camp in the park across the street?  She doesn't know for sure but gives me the phone number of the Police.

I call the Police and am told, "No.  That park belongs to the JC's and they don't allow overnight camping but there is a local State Park and there is a privately owned Green Valley RV park.  I ask for directions to the State Park.

It turns out the State Park is five miles back through downtown, through a residential area and up a hill!  I finally arrive at a nice, new, air conditioned State Park Office.  There is a young girl with a "Trainee" badge maning the counter.  I ask her if they have bicycle tent sites.  She says, "We do. The camp sites are dry sites but there is a pit toilet.  Just go one and a half miles up that road until you reach the end of the blacktop.  From there go up the gravel switchbacks and you will see the campsites on your right".  She thinks the tent sites are $10.00 but is unsure so calls her Supervisor.  She turns to me and asks if I am from out of state.

I am.

"Oh.  In that case it will be $28.00."

Thanks, but no thanks.

Holy shit!  The AWESOMES have ended!

Out of the airconditioned office back into the heat and down the hill into town.  Fuck it, I'll try Green Valley RV park.

Back through town and afternoon traffic I finally get on the highway heading out towards Green Valley RV Park.  Riding along hot and bothered I notice a concrete mixing company behind a row of trees.  There is an access road that goes behind the trees and off into some woods.  Hmmm.

I decide to Stealth Camp.

I find a nice little mowed area down off the road behind some trees.  I'm close to the highway but out of sight.  Perfect!

I hurry and set up the tent because of the mosquitoes.


I'm inside and resting when what to my wondering ears should I hear but a truck coming down the wee gravel road.  It stops and soon I hear foot steps approaching.  I stick my head out of the tent and some old guy asks, "Is it very hard to move that tent?".

I'm thinking this is some polite way of asking me to scram but no.  Turns out he has stopped by to pick up his wood splitter.  I get up and help him drag and attach the wood splitter to the hitch on his pickup.  He tells me I am on his property but he has no problem with that and then offers me a cold beer.  Since I don't drink I turned it down but hey!

AWESOME #6

I cook up some Top Ramin with tuna fish and call it a night.

55.5 miles for the day.

June 5th

I wake at 2;30AM to pee and then start my "fret".

I don't have a map showing me how to get to Dickinson.  I have not been eating well.  Trucks on the highway are using their "Jake Brakes" keeping me awake.  Mosquitoes are waiting for me.

Finally I give up, get up and start packing at 6:30AM.

I leave my Stealth campsite and decide to head for the Green Valley RV Park to see if they might sell me a shower.  Along the way I stop at a mini mart for chocolate milk and a power bar.  The clerk is no help telling me how to get to Dickinson but a tourist overhears my question and looks it up on her I-pad.  99 miles.  It looks like I will have to return to Glenndive and then take the old road to Wibaux, 37 miles East.

I continue on looking for the Green Valley RV park and finally see the sign.  It says "1/2 mile".  I continue on and spot this statue.


The Duckies are impressed.  "It is the biggest Dog they have ever seen!".

A guy out jogging goes by and I ask him how much further to the Green Valley RV park?  He tells me I missed it.  "Go back, it is half a mile off this road."

I go back to the sign and this time turn down the hill to the RV park.

Nobody is in the office!  I notice a small sign that says, "Showers are $5.00, put the money in the slot in the door".

Perfect!  I grabbed my stuff and head for the shower. 


Getting dressed after my shower  I notice in the bathroom mirror I have sunburnt the top of my head through the slots in my helmet!!  My "do-rag" blew out of my helmet in Circle yesterday.  Time to start using suntan lotion on my head!

On the way back to town I see the "1/2" mile also included an arrow!!  Duh!


Here's another dinosaur theme.  This one has a baby in its mouth.  Maybe an early "Baby toss" concept!


Near Glenndive I flag down a State Patrol car and ask the officer if it is okay to ride on Interstate 94?

"Yes" but, he recommends I ride back through Glendive and cross the Yellowstone River on the old bridge which will be much safer than the Interstate bridge.

I do what he recommends and after crossing the old bridge I see the on ramp for I-94.  Up I go and soon I am rolling with the wind. 


A wide breakdown lane, not too many broken truck tires, nice easy rollers and a great tailwind.

Looks like I am getting into some Bad Lands!



After 30 miles I take the off ramp for Wibaux.


Wibaux has a bicycle by their W sign.

I stop at the Cenex for chocolate milk and the lady tells me where the city park is located.  I ride into town and over to the park and discover it is located in a residentual area next to the BNSF railroad tracks!  I take a break at the picnic table but within five minutes, here comes a train.  First the crossing whistle warning and then the clickity clack, clack, clack that finally dies off.  Then a little yapper dog across the street notices me and will not shut up.

Bad vibes all round.  This ain't gonna work.  Time to move on.

Beach is only another 15 miles.  The tail wind is still favorable.  Back onto I-94 and roll.

Soon I happen upon a sign announcing a visitor center in two miles


and then....


AWESOME #7  I am finally, finally, finally done with Montana!!

A few more miles and I take the off ramp into Beach, North Dakota.  I spot a Subway and buy a foot long Meatball with all the trimmings.  Just beyond Subway is the Buckboard Motel.  I pull up, park my bike in the shade and enter the office.  She has a room for $51.00.


Perfect!  Wifi, cell phone connection, shower, clean and comfortable.  Besides, I earned it!!

I eat half of the meatball sandwich and put the rest in the mini refrigerator.  Will have the rest for breakfast.

Last night I slept in a ditch with mosquitoes and highway traffic.  Toss and turn worrying from 2:30 AM on.  Now I am in a nice quiet, clean, airconditioned motel in North Dakota!!

AWESOME #8

45 miles for the day.

June 6th

Great night sleep.  I have a nice long talk with my Lolli.  Yo Bro'ed me brudder and emailed my sis.  Charged all my "devices"; Garmin, cell phone and Samsung Tablet.  Time to roll and find more Awesomes!

Whoa!  Check it out!  I'm "Home on the range"!


Back onto I-94.  Wide shoulder, light traffic, nice tailwind.  Listening to classical music on "Prairie Public Broadcasting" a NPR FM station via my little MP3 player and ear buds.

AWESOME #9


I never ride with ear buds because I need to hear traffic coming up behind me but on this Interstate it is nice to have music to drown out the noise of passing traffic and break up the boredom of the endless rollers.

Duckie is impressed with North Dakota.



I take the off ramp to Medora, North Dakota and Duckie and I discover there is a bicycle trail alongside the highway into town.


Medora turns out to be a tourist town sort of like Mendocino but in this case it is "Western Themed" and there is a big country music event going on.

Looks like they used to do mining.


At a western themed Pizza restaurant I have a pizza and discover all the restaurant staff are foreign students!  Strange.

When I entered town I spotted a Theodore Roosevelt State Park sign.


After lunch I ride back to it and check in at the kiosk.  $7.00 for a tent site.  Perfect!

Then I discover the campsite is actually six miles out of town on the old highway on the other side the mesa!!

It is a long slow granny gear ride up the mesa.  On top is a Prairie Dog Town.  I hear them telling each other about this weird guy on a bicycle!



There is even a buffalo in the prairie dog town!


Over the top and down into the river valley.


Interesting country after the boring Interstate.

Off the Mesa I arrive at the Little Missouri River campground.


I meet a guy with a Tear Drop trailer so I "document it" for my brudder who is building one.


  The campground turns out to be quite nice.  Lots of Cottonwood trees shade the campground on a warm day, the Little Missouri River just across the way.  I talk to a guy travel/camping with his Harley.  He tells me there is a more spectacular campground with a lot of Buffalo 60 miles north of here.

Yeah, Right!!  I'm already fretting about the climb back to Medora for breakfast.

34 miles for the day.

June 7th

Drying my sleeping bag after a warm night.


Morning mist lifting off the Little Missouri.  This usta be serious Cowboy and Indian country back in the day.


Rolling out of the campground I happen upon this Buffalo grazing right beside the entrance road!


AWESOME #10

He pays me no "never mind"!

Back in town I find the Post Office and mail a "Baaken Oil Field" newspaper and a Madora Post card to the SOB's.

"To:  The SOB's sitting in front of the Cookie Company
Fort Bragg, CA
97437"

(Later I find out this address actually worked!  Ya gotta love a small town!  Thanks Sarah the Postmistress!)

I buy a couple "Powerbars" and take the bike trail on around and back to the Interstate.

The free ride with the wind is over.  Strong side wind from the SSE.

I happen upon this beautiful, totally dried out, bird beside the freeway.


I stop at the next off ramp Cenex Store for Gatorade.  My butt is really getting sore.  Also my inner lower lip is sun burnt from riding into the rising sun with my mouth open!  

Sniveling.  Just sniveling.


Soon I reach an area where there is roadwork and the traffic is shifted over to the oncoming lanes.  I have a lane all to myself!!

(looking back)

And then, more road kill.  I keep telling the Duckies, 
"Don't look"!


I finally reach the off ramp for Dickinson, North Dakota, ease my way down onto old County Highway 10 and follow it into town.  It has been a long day, a hard ride and there were really tight shoulders where a bridge was being replaced.  I spot Mandy's Bagel Shop and pull in for a well deserved Banana Smoothie.


While enjoying my Smoothie I ask Mandy about a place to stay the night.  She offers to call around.  She tries the KOA I have listed on my Adventure Cycling Map but discovers they are no longer a KOA.  They have gone private and don't accept tent campers.  Next she tries "Recreation Park" three miles out of town and discovers they do not have showers.

I ask if there are any motels she would recommend.

She calls around and the first one wants $80.00.  Another one wants $65.00.  Then she tries the "Rest Inn".

$25.00!

Holy Cow!  I'll take it!  

Thanks Mandy.

I ride back to the freeway where the "Rest Inn" is located wondering what kind of dump I will find.


AWESOME #11!!  

There is even a Mexican Resturant across the street and I am hungry!

Thanks Mandy!

45 miles for the day.

June 8th

The Rest Inn is a nice Motel.  All the amenites.  I wake to pee four times during the night (I'm drinking a lot of Gatoraid and water because of the heat) and start worrying about the changing weather according to the TV weather channel.  T-storms in my future!.

I write a big email to my Sibs and to three SOBs.  Charge all my devices.  I call the phone number for a Benedictine monastery in the upcoming town of Richarton, North Dakoka.  I had read about this monastery on "Crazyguyonabike" and saved the phone number.

Brother Odo answers.  I tell him I am riding cross country on my bike and looking for a place for the night.

"Come on ahead."

I take the old highway towards Richardton.

Along the way, more road kill.  This is a Bull Snake.


Lots of roadwork on HWY 10.  The Flagman tells me, "There are two seasons in North Dakota, Winter and Road Construction!".


I arrive in the town of Taylor (named after my granddaughter)!  


There are no open restaurants or grocery stores but....,


 there is a bar welcoming Bikers!


"I'll have a coke."


Here is one of those "Man Camps" because of the Baaken Oil Field boom.  They provide temporary housing for the big influx of workers.  Now that the "bust" is happening the man camps are mostly empty, like the towns.


I arrive in Richarton at the Catholic Church.


Sure is a huge church for a town with a population of only 529!

Brother Odo meets me and shows me to my room.


Sheets, blankets, pillow case, a shower room in the corner, wi-fi!!  Brother Odo will return at 5:30PM and take me to dinner.

Here is the dining room looking out over the vast prairie, 20 monks eating!


Dinner is cafeteria style with pork chops, mashed potatoes, steamed peas and corn.

I sit with Brother Odo and we talk.  Eventually he asks me, "Are you churched?"  I told him I was raised up Methodist and finished off Episcopalian!

After dinner I attend Vespers.


I am the only one in the audiance!

Assumption Abbey  AWESOME #12

26.6 miles for the day.

June 9th

In the morning I re-join the monks for a "silent" breakfast, return to my room, pack and am rolling by 8:00 AM.  
Thank you!  Thank you!  Very interesting stay.  I suppose they wonder about me crossing the country on a bicycle as much as I wonder about them staying in one place most of your life.

I ride into an eight mph south wind and soon it gets Hot!


Sometimes I must "Share the Road"!


Duckie wonders why these yurts have no windows?


After 26 miles I reach Glen Ullin, population 807.  On the way into town I spot a RV park.  I keep it in mind in case camping isn't allowed in the town park.  I continue on and find a grocery store.  I can't figure out what to eat.  This hot weather makes me uninterested in eating.  I buy yogurt, a banana, what turns out to be a bad apple and some bagels.  No city park.  I return to the RV park.

The owner/operator is riding around on his diesel tractor back filling the trench where water pipes and power lines have recently been installed for more trailer sites.

He charges me $6.00 for a tent site.  I pay and find a place in the shade to put up my tent and try to take a nap while he keeps pushing dirt around with his noisy diesel.  

Late in the afternoon big clouds arrive.  It looks nasty.  I decide to put on the rain fly.


About 7:00 PM a touring cyclist rolls in pulling a B.O.B. trailer and sets up his tent on the hill above me.

30 miles for the day.

June 10th

Damn good thing I put the rain fly on, a Thunder Storm hit at 1:00 AM.  The guy with the B.O.B.  had a heck of a time holding his tent down in the wind.

But now it is 6:00AM.  The sun is out, all is forgiven and we are packing.


Tony from Twin Falls, Montana.

By 7:30 AM we are ready to roll.  We are going to try riding together.

We stop at a Cenex and have Egg/Sausage/Muffins.  Not too bad.

It turns out Cenex gas stations are about every 30 miles along the Interstate and their "Instant food isn't all that bad.  Plus they have cold Gatorade, a seating area and sometimes, wifi!

Back onto the Interstate.  Nice tailwind again!


Tony is younger than I but I am faster, probably because of the trailer he is pulling plus he is careful about not going too fast down hill.  This is his first bike trip.  Anyway, I zoom on ahead of him and then wait in the shade of an overpass for him to catch up.  With the nice tail wind on a hot day this works well and we make miles!  I had expected to do 30 and we end up doing 60!  Fun to have a traveling partner!


We approach Bismark/Mandan.  Tony knows someone in Bismark where he can stay and heads for their place while I head for Sibley State Park in Mandan.  Along the way I encounter and ride the Millennium Trail.


and cross over the Missouri River.  I must be getting East!


I arrive at Sibley State Park.  $12.00 tent site, free shower!!  (showers!!!)


Not too bad except for one barking dog that won't shut up.  Finally enough campers complain and the owner moves on!!  YES!!

60.56 miles for the day.

June 11th 

Wham!!  4:00 AM Thunder Storm!!

Flash of light!  Twelve seconds later BOOM Rumble rumble!  Some more flash/bangs and then fat drops of rain, maybe hail.  Then the lightening stops and rain settles in.  Pours for a while and then tapers off.  I wake to clearing overcast and rising sun.  Although I was raised in Nebraska I had forgotten all about Midwest Summer weather!

From 6:00 AM on I agonize about food.  There are no grocery stores or restaurants nearby.  Do I have enough food with me to make it to Hazelton where there "might" be a grocery?  Should I ride back into Bismark?

I chew a power bar laying in bed thinking and worrying, round and round, snivel, snivel and finally get up.  

My lower back, left side,  hurts since that iron bed at the Abbey.  I took two Aleve last night and by golly I think I'm better.

I talk to a neighbor camper to see if they are going into town.  They say they might if they decide to stay another night.  If they do stay they will need more ice and I can snag a ride if they decide to get some.  He also mentions the weather report warns of high winds from the East tomorrow at 30+ mph.

That does it!  I decide to declare today a rest day.

The neighbors decide to stay another night and I get a ride into town to do some shopping.  They go to a BIG SAM store and there is nothing there that will fit in my panniers; I'd have to buy stuff in quantity!!  They drive me to a more regular type grocery store but I am still having a hard time figuring out what to buy.  I just want small and easy and it seems everything is large and hard!

In the evening I spot a bike traveler roll into the campground.  I hop on my bike, ride over and check him out.  He is Steve Lorenz riding from Astoria, Oregon to Bellevue, New Jersey.  He is a Baptist Preacher, 62 years old and he is doing "big miles".


0.0 miles on my rest day.

June 12th

I take off for Hazelton, 40 miles away.  The wind is favorable so I continue on to Napoleon.  I spot a rancher herding cattle with his four track!  The modern cowboy!!


Soon I am riding the Lawrence Welk Highway!!


Duckie is impressed with the size of the North Dakota Dandelion!


More, "Share the Road" on HWY 10.


Arrive in Napoleon and find I can camp in the City Park for $10.00 with free shower!  


Tony is already here and set up!!

All during my "rest day" in Sibley Park I worried about finding grocery stores during today's long miles through Moffett, Hazelton, Napoleon.., worry worry worry.   

This day I worried about turned out to be an excellent day with the wind at my back, easy rolling hills, a $9.00 Brunch in Hazelton, a grocery and restaurant in Napoleon..., all that worry and no problems at all!!

AWESOME #13

You'd think I would learn!

68.73 miles for the day

June 13th

Tony and I discover Steve is in town.  He didn't know we were here and spent the night at a motel.  Steve wants to do "Big Miles" and takes off while Tony and I walk into town for Breakfast.  We have decided we will all meet in Gackle later this afternoon.


Steve's bike, Tony's bike and my rig. 


After breakfast Tony and I hit the road.

More sharing of the highway.  Not much room to stay between the fog line and the rumble strip!!


I happen upon this display of old threshing machines and discover a geocache at the foot of the middle sign support!


Duckie is impressed!


We all end up in Gackle and stay at the Honey Hut, a warmshowers host.  We set up our tents in the backyard and walk into town for dinner at the Taste Freeze, it's either that or the bar!

Walking back to our campsite after dinner we stop on Main Street for photo.


39 miles for the day.

June 14th

I wake with the birds at 5:00AM.  I heard what sounded like Elk bugling and Coyotes yap during the night.

I am worrying about the long ride today and an even longer ride tomorrow plus there is rain forecast with SE winds at 10 mph!

Steve has been complaining about a sore tooth, not very talkative this morning and left before me. Tony has gone to the Post Office to mail some stuff home and lighten his load.  We all plan to meet at the Little Yellowstone Park this evening.  

Two hours into the ride and yes there are headwinds but it is mostly a level, long, straight road endlessly East, East, East.


Here's a tractor with big wheels for working the soft wet ground.


Duckie spots some road side roses for Wose.


It starts to rain but I am wearing the raincoat Lolli and her mom bought for me.  Perfect.

It starts to rain harder and then it starts to pour.  The 18 wheelers blast by throwing up spray in the cross wind. Then it really starts to pour.  I have never ridden in a downpour like this!  I try to pull over to avoid the spray of an 18 wheeler and the rumple strip trips me and I go down.  The driver actually gets his rig stopped and asks me if I am okay!!  I holler I'm okay.  I'm mostly embarrassed and I'm sure I will have some bruises.  I get myself sorted out and press on.  I am getting hypothermic in this ridiculous rain and wind when I spot a gas station up ahead.  I turn off to the gas station and discover it is not open!  Darn.  I ride around to the downwind to get out of the wind and rain and there is Steve parked under the overhang!!  He too is trying to warm up.

I put on my rain pants and after about 20 minutes of jumping jacks, trying to warm, up Steve and I notice a slight lull in the downpour and decide to "Go for it"!  Five miles further on we finally arrive at Little Yellowstone Park like soaked rats!  Wow!  Was that miserable or what!!

Nobody is at the campground.  Fortunately there is a pavilion we can get under.  We push some picnic tables to the side, dig a ditch to divert the rain water coming through the gravel and pitch our tents. 


Half an hour later Tony rolls in looking like a drowned rat!!  Steve and I thought he was smarter than us and found some kind farm house to holed up in.  We are amazed at this downpour.  A real frog strangler.  Soon we have hot tea and coffee made and start to cook dinner.

Sharing this event with friends really helps.  We laugh at our predicament.

It continues to rain most of the night!  Wow!

57.9 miles for the day.

June 15th

The rain stopped!

We cook a batch of oatmeal and pack our wet gear.  Back to the HWY and a nice, warming, uphill climb out of the Sheyenne River valley.

Lots of construction on the county road.  The shoulder is being redone so there is soft gravel on the right side of the rumple strip leaving no choice but to ride in the car lane!!  It is tricky riding when an 18 wheeler zips by and there are a lot of 18 wheelers!


 I see a farm where an 18 wheeler is being loaded from a silo, ride over and ask the driver what they are hauling.  Turns out it is shelled Field Corn to be used to make Menthol!

Steve has pushed on for Fargo.  Tony is somewhere behind.  I meet a young guy named Marshall.  He is freshly divorced and decided to do his first bicycle tour.  He is heading for the Pacific Coast and then down the coast.  I tell him to look me up if he gets to Fort Bragg.


Next I meet a young woman bike touring from Bar Harbor, Maine to Astoria!  She is really burning up the miles!

Onward.  Onward to Kendred where I get permission to stay in the City Park..  The City park has a swimming pool and showers so I take a shower, trim my beard and swim!!  Ahhh!


AWESOME # 14

Tony rolls in an hour later, sets up his tent, takes a shower and then we walk a couple of blocks downtown to the Morning Glory Cafe for dinner.

46.3 miles for the day.

June 16th

Lazy get up at 7:00.  It was a nice quiet night.  It is a really nice town.  Tony and I walk back to the Morning Glory Cafe for breakfast.  Really good!

We walk past a Farm Implement Store.  Sure big tractors around here!!


On closer inspection it looks like this tractor hasn't moved since this Robin's nest was installed!


Tony and I pack and head out.

There is road construction north of Kindred and I take the detour.


I think I am getting in trouble.  All the land around here is in sections so the roads are a mile long a side.  The detour route seemed to be fading away and taking me to a farm house but no, I finally hook up with the highway again.  Tony, who left Kindred after me ignored the detour and was able to get through the construction site which turned out to be a bridge replacement.

The day is mostly a nice ride with a stiff headwind going east but gets better when we turn north towards Fargo.

There is a bike path the last nine miles into town.  


Lined with wild flowers!


It takes a lot of map reading to stay on the path but we finally arrive at the Lindenwood Park.  $29.00 for a tent site!!!  Bastards!!  Fortunately Tony and I can split the camp site fee so it only costs us $14.50 each!

The site they give us is down by the river between two RV sites which fill later in the day.  The shower is a block away.  It is hot and humid but, oh well.


25.8 miles for the day.

June 17th

What a crap campsite.  A horrible night!  The bridge carrying Interstate 94 crosses the river is just upstream from where we camped.  All night long the pounding of traffic and the "Jake Brakes" of trucks!  It seems like I didn't sleep at all.

Tony and I pack up hungry but plan to go to breakfast in Fargo as soon as possible.

We find a Denny's type of restaurant but the food is good.

Next we head to the Great Northern Bike Shop but arrive too early.  It is closed.  We really don't need anything.  Just wanted to check it out.


Leaving Fargo Duckie falls in love but I tell her "No, we have to move on".


We have to go South to catch the alternate route to Cormorant.  It is threatening looking weather but we decide to go anyway.  If we waited for good weather we wouldn't get anywhere!!

Darn near went North instead.  Overcast skies don't help my orienteering or dyslexia!!

Crossed over the Red River and entered Minnesota!

Stopped in Downer for a BLT.


feeling bummed?

Onward towards black skies with white clouds!  Ominous!


On and on to Cormorant.  We finally arrive.  Not a drop of rain!!

The woman in the grocery store recommends Tony's RV Park down by the lake.  It is two miles off route but we decide to give it a try.

The last half mile is gravel but we arrive at the RV Park and look around.  Lots of permanent trailers are set up.  People use them like summer homes.  A guy walks up and we tell him we are looking for a place to pitch our tents for the night.  He tells us his folks own the place but they are on vacation so..., just pitch your tents where ever you want.  

"Is $2.00 each okay?  The shower is free."!

After last night's $29.00 fiasco in Fargo Duckie thinks this is...,


AWESOME #15

By the way, we crossed over the Red River and are now in...,

 Minnesota!!

49.7 miles for the day.

June 18th

We pack and leave Tony's RV park at 7:30 AM.  No rain!!

Back into Cormorant for breakfast.  Sausage, eggs, biscuit, wi-fi!

Twelve miles later we arrive in Pelican Rapids and spot a real coffee shop!!  


My first Mocha Latte of the trip!  I include a huge Maple Roll!  Big as a cow pie!!

Duckie falls in love again.


No.  N. O.!!

It starts to rain.  Tony and I don't care!  We are riding through beautiful rolling farm country on HWY 3.  Besides, it is warm rain!

We stop for a hamburger in Edward's, Population 4, at the School House Bar and Grill!


Stops raining.

Arrive in Fergus Falls and have a heck of a time with the Adventure Cycling Map trying to find the Central Lake Rail Trail.


We finally find it after asking.. 1. a guy coming out of a VFW hall, 2. two dog walkers, 3. a local bicyclist and 4. Two women in a car.

Strange how the ACA maps work so well and suddenly don't.

We finally find it.  It starts at a tunnel goes under the highway 210!!


Woot!!  Easy grade, smooth blacktop, 184 miles long!!!


AWESOME #16

Tony and I roll sixteen miles to Ashby, Minnesota.


I have an excellent Mushroom, Cheese, Hamburger in town 


and then on to Ashby Resort.  $21.00 split two ways.  Showers!!

We are early enough I can spread everything out to dry.


64.5 miles for the day.

June 19th

Woke at 5:30 AM.  A little mess in my blue shorts and on the silk liner on the air mattress.  CRAP!  Must of been the mushroom burger.  I clean that up and by 6:00 AM, start packing.

It was a dry night so I got most my things dried out from yesterday's rain.  Tony and I leave the RV park and ride two miles back into Ashby for breakfast and then back onto the rail-trail.


Warm morning.  Increasing strong side winds and it is getting hot!  Tough ride.  Met C.J. who is doing an out and back on the trail.  Tony and I stop in Garfield for an ice cream bar.  I buy an orange juice, drank part of it and put the rest in my handlebar bag.  I didn't screw the lid on correctly and it leaks orange juice on my baseball hat, Leatherman knife and a bunch of pocket change in the bottom of my bag.  I stop and clean it up.  Must be clean up day!!

There are nice little rest stops along the trail.


We finally call it a day in Nelson, get some ice water in a bar, then ride two miles off trail to Shady Oaks RV Park.  Nobody in the office.  The office looks more like a storeroom.  In fact, it looks abandoned!  We find some people camping down by the lake and asked them what is going on.  They don't know but give us the campground owner's phone number.  We call and leave a message waiting for a call back.  Nothing.  We decide to go ahead and set up camp and then take showers.

The camping people walk over to tell us there is wind and T-storms advisory forecast for this evening.  They will honk their truck horn if we need to head for the storm shelter which is the concrete block shower and toilet building!

Sure enough, soon thunder, lightning and wind arrives and then heavy rain.  Pretty wild!  I'm in my tent wondering if I am going to end up in Kansas!!  In an hour it is all over and a nice evening arrives!!

36.63 miles for the day

June 20th

We wake to a beautiful day. I have tea and oatmeal while Tony is in the Shower.

We are back on the rail/trail by 8:30 AM.


We turn off the Central Lakes Trail onto the Lake Wobegon trail.  



AWESOME #17.

I give Tony my camera so he can ride ahead and take a photo of me coming along.


We arrive in the town of Freeport.  This is the town Garrison Keillor based Lake Wobegon on.  We stop for lunch at Cafe Charlie's which is what Garrison based the Chatterbox Cafe on!  There is a lot of Lake Wobegon memorabilia in the cafe.


The Lake Wobegon trail soon turns into the Soos Line Rail-Trail and eventually we arrive in Bolus.  We have heard that Jordie's Trailside Cafe is bike friendly and usually lets cycling tourists free camp behind the building but this evening Jordie is hosting a Red Hat group so we have to camp across the street in the City Park.  $10.00 each but free showers.

We have a great chicken fajita dinner at Jordie's.  Interesting place.  Jordie is an interesting woman.


I highly recommend this place.

There is a local bicycling group doing a 30 mile ride in the evening.  We talk to some of them and they are interested in our camping setups.

59 miles for the day.

June 21st

Happy Solstice!  I understand there will be a "Strawberry" Full Moon tonight!

We have breakfast at Jordies.  Weak Wi-fi.

Rolling.  

Cross the Mississippi


and then the Platte River near Royalton.  I don't know how that can be but...


There it is!


The wind is favorable.  Big miles today.  Stop in Milaca at a bar for a burger.  Fair to middling.

Quite hot by late afternoon.

Arrived at the Bike Bunkhouse by 4:30 PM.


AWESOME #18!!

The Bike bunkhouse is the creation of Donn Olsen who set up his barn to host bicyclists; sleeping rooms, kitchen, shower, toilet, various types of food and power bars and drinks.  No charge but donations welcome.

There are two touring bicyclists from England already here when Tony and I roll in.

Then a young couple touring with three young children with the sister following along as a SAG wagon arrives!  They are staying the night!!  The sound of sniveling children cause Tony and I to set up our tents "out back".

62.8 miles for the day.

June 22nd.

Slept great.  Darn, I missed the full moon.

The Englishmen and the family with the kids are packing and preparing to leave.  I decide to take a rest day.  Tony says he wants to press on, he is anxious to see his brother in Wisconsin.

 I move into one of the rooms in the Bike Bunkhouse.  Donn comes over for a while and we talk.

He tells me this farm has been in his family forever.  He didn't want to grow up and be a farmer so he went into the Army and became a Chinook Helicopter pilot.  He made the Army his career and finally retired after 30 years as a Warrant Officer, Grade 5.  He and his wife sold the original farm house to a young couple for one dollar who then had it moved to their property.  Donn and his wife built a modern brick home home in its place.   The original barn and outbuildings remain.  Donn fixed the barn and the silo into the Bike Bunkhouse.  He said he enjoys talking to cycling tourists and hearing all about their travels without having to ride a bike!

Bunk House rules.


In the evening Donn and I watch a DVD he has in the Bunk House entertainment center, "Sleepless til Seattle", a travelogue about bicycling touring across America.

Donn let me use the bathroom scale in his house for my Wednesday Wait Wace Wiiport.  152.5 lbs.

0.0 miles (Rest Day)

June 23rd

Up at 6:00.  No Tony anymore.  I'm now on my own figuring out the ACA maps.  I'm kinda worried about that because of my dyslexia, he has ADA and between the two of us we could put our heads together and usually come up with the right decision.  Now it is up to just me.

Rolling at 7:00 AM.

Pedal, pedal, pedal.

Springvale is a small town with a bar.  I stop for breakfast.  The door is open, I stick my head in and a woman says they aren't open yet but "Come in anyway".  The woman is an elderly lady "refreshing" sauerkraut for later when they open.  I sit at the bar and she brings me a cup of coffee and then a cup of sauerkraut!  Strange breakfast!

She tells me the building was built in 1905.  It has a stamped tin ceiling and old photos hanging on the wall.  She points to a couple of photos.  "Someone was doing a U turn out front.  The pickup/camper tried to avoid them and ran into my building!!"

Onward.

I enter Grandy that has a bar serving breakfast!  2 eggs, 2 sausages, 2 French toast and hashbrowns.  $8.00.  Much better!

A silo missing it's top with a tree growing inside!!


Pedal, pedal, pedal.  Headwinds going East.  Side winds going South.  I stop at a Post Office six miles short of Oceola.  I mail Bob the password card I was given for the Wi-Fi at Ascension Abbey.  "Hail Mary 123", he might need it someday!  And a small plastic dinoasaur for Valerie I found along the highway.

I ask about camping and the postmistress tells me about Wildwood RV park two miles off route.  It is getting late in the day and I have had enough headwind so go for it.

There is construction work on a "Round-about" on the way to the RV park and I have to ride in loose dirt to get around it and then up a steep hill.  I arrive at Wildwood RV Park all hot and bothered and ready for a rest.  The lady in the office tells me it is $38.00 for a tent site!!

You're shitting me!!  $38.00 for a one person tent!

It is getting too late in the day to ride on and besides, the surrounding country is mostly farm land and too open to stealth camp.  Plus, I really need a shower.

Not only are there showers but they also have a swimming pool!  Not long after getting my tent set up I'm changing out of my biking clothes and notice the bruise I got from hitting the handle bar with my leg when I went down in the rain the other day.



Doesn't hurt so into the shower and then into the pool!  Ahhh.  Just floating is almost worth the price of admission!  Plus, I can charge my devices!


Savvy Chipmunks hang around to see what I might leave out for them.  Been there, done that, you're out of luck guys!

I see my first Cardinal.

52.83 miles for the day.

June 24th

Good nights sleep.

Up at 6:45 AM.

I have been worrying about having enough gas in my camp stove.  I have a mini MSR stove that takes a Propane/Butane Cartridge that no one in the midwest has ever seen!  Evidently only mountain climbers use this type of stove and there are no mountain climbers around here.  There are lots of fishermen but they use the basic green Coleman propane cylinders.  Every sporting goods shop has them but they won't work for me.

I am also worrying about my camera battery running out of juice.  I have a charger and spare battery at home.  I call my neighbor Laurie, have her go over to our house and find them.  She will include them with my meds she is mailing to me.

I saw my first lightening bugs when I got up to pee in the middle of the night.

There are also mosquitoes but DEET is holding them off.

I am packed and rolling by 7:30 AM.


I use my Garmin GPS to lead me to Osceola, Wisconsin and it routes me four miles out of my way!!  This is the first time that has happened.  Usually the Garmin is great for finding the shortest way to an address.

I have a weird "Petite" snack in a cute little coffee joint in Osceola.  The mocha latte was good though.

Bob called!  The SOBs are having lunch on the picnic table overlooking the harbor at the south end of the South Noyo Headlands park.  I get to say hi to everyone!

Onward.  

Duckies in the corn


By golly, a waterfall!!


This is the first fence I have ever seen made out of bicycles!!


Folks are serious about their churches round here.


I see a sign for a YWCA camp and take the dirt road out to it.  Wash board road winding through the woods and up hill.  I finally arrive and ask if there is any place I can put up my tent.

"NO!"

Seems they don't want old farts hanging around their girls.

I notice this Shelf fungus on the way back to the highway.  It is like what we have in California but really, really orange in color.


Apple River Post Office.  1877~1908.  I'm way too late!


On to Dresser.
I have a hard time picking up the ACA trail in Amery.

The miles pile up and I finally get to DR RV park at 5:30 PM.  It is two miles off route.  The office is in the bar full of Friday night partiers.  $20.00 for a tent site down by the river.

Shower first and then set up my tent.


I have Mac and Cheese with tuna.  No cell service.

I see they have a sense of humor around here!


52.62 miles for the day.

June 25th.

Up at 7:00 AM.  Rolling by 8:30 AM.

Warm and humid.  Tough day.  Very draggy.  

The ACA routes me onto "St. Anthony 21-1/2 Road" which is loose gravel!!  




Awful riding.  I'm sure there is a mistake.  I fall down trying to turn around in the loose gravel.  Some locals come driving along.  I flag them down and I ask if this road will take me to Cumberland.  They say it will so I turn around and press on.  Strange.

Stop at a Subway in Cumberland.  Buy Mac and Cheese and canned tuna at a grocery; should have bought some fruit but wasn't thinking straight.  91 degrees and 75 percent humidity!

They have strange signs.  I guess they are for snow clearing which is the last thing on my mind!


16 miles to Haugen.  Riding through I see a two story high school building that evidently has been turned into a Museum.  Some people are looking out the window at me so I park and go inside.  Turns out this town is mostly Czechs and they are having a planning meeting and there is a table of baked goods and ice tea!!  They offer me some while I tell them my story and then ask about camping around here.  They tell me about a RV Camp two miles out of town.  Off route.

I ride out and buy a spot down by the lake in front of some trailers.  


I feel bad about setting up right in front of one of the permanent trailers but the owner says it is all right, "Bicyclists camp there all the time".  I finish setting up and return to the Bar/Office and order a hamburger.  About fifteen minutes later it arrives.  One hamburger on one bun.  $3.50!  No lettuce, no tomato, no sesame seed bun.  WTF!  There must have been a condiment tray somewhere on the bar but too many partiers, noise and smoke for me to bother looking for it.

But I am able to take a shower using a hand full of quarters!

Back at my lakeside tent my neighbor tells me a Thunder Storm is coming.  "Should arrive around 6:00 PM."   And it does.  Incredible lightning and thunder followed by wind and pouring rain!  It really hammers down.  My tent drips from the ceiling in one area but I am surprised a downpour like this didn't totally soak through and then..., it is over.  The frogs around the lake start barking!  Yes, they bark like a kennel of dogs!!  I really thought it was dogs at first, but no.  It is frogs!!

44.7 miles for the day.

June 26th

Mom really got out of hand after I got up to pee at 2:30 AM.  The frogs were barking and I was hungry and got fixated on not enough energy to ride anymore.  Round and round.  I try to break the cycle with the Zen approach of paying attention to my breath in and out of my nose.  That works for about ten seconds!

Of course, in the morning, the neighbor lady offers me coffee and banana cake while I am packing.  She tells me there was two and three quarter inches of rain in her rain gauge this morning.  All that rain arrived in only two and a half hours!

I ride back into Hagen and find a busy restaurant where I end up with pancakes bigger than I can possibly eat!  And here I was worrying about starving!!

Onward.  Cooler day, mostly tailwind.  Lower humidity.  There are a lot of trees knocked down by last night's storm.


And then a turtle!


Big one!


He had his neck all craned out to see me coming but he retracted and I could not get him to stick his head out again.

I meet four cyclist stopped at a roadside grocery store who are doing a day trip.  Inside the store they have no fresh fruit but they do have half gallons of Jack Daniels and live bait!

Pressing on I enter the Ojibway Reservation.  I stop at the Casino grocery for some supplies and notice the damage from last night's storm.  A big tree tipped over onto the roof of their health center!


They already have the tree removed and mostly cut up.

A couple miles down the road I spot a "Gated community"  Oh boy!  Stealth site!


I set up and call it a "short day".

44.55 miles for the day.

June 27th

Back to the Casino for breakfast.  They open twenty minutes late but I wait because they have WiFi and I want to catch up on email.  



I write a nice long update for the SOBs during breakfast press the send button and discover the wi-fi no longer works.  Storm damage!

Back to work.  I ride back past my stealth site and keep going.  More wind damage.  Possibly why the internet wasn't working.


I finally reach a major intersection and there is a coffee shop, Ojibway Java!  They have working wifi and cell phone reception so I catch up on email and have a nice talk with my Lolli.

Leaving the coffee shop I ride the wrong way and after five miles discover I am heading back towards the Indian Casino!  Turn around and back to the correct road.  The ACA route meanders through the woods, on and on.  Lots of bars at various intersections.  This one was closed but the white sign to the right of the door says, "Sorry we're open"!


As I near Clam Lake I look for an open meadow where the wind would abate the bugs.  I find a power-line road and follow it out, park the bike and start to set up my tent but the mosquitoes swarm me and I have to move on to Clam Lake where I have a toasted ham and cheese sandwich and a good green salad.  

Onward.  Duckie is getting excited about seeing Moose!


ACA shows a Forest Service Campground on the map.  It is one mile off route.

$14.00 for a tent site but only $7.00 with my Golden Age Passport.

Mosquitoes are bad so I set up my tent in record time, crawl in and sit there killing the ones that came in with me for about five minutes!!


51.9 miles for the day.

June 28th

A quick pack-up with the help of mosquitoes!  One even go in my right ear!  I try to dig it out but can't.  I head to the nearest motorhome camper to ask for help when it suddenly flies out of my ear!  It didn't sting!!

Arrive in Elk Horn and have breakfast at the Elk Horn Lodge.


Yup, those are Elk Horns.

I meet  a group of bicycle tourists.  Evidently they stayed at the motel.  They have a Sag Wagon they  take turns driving.  They flew to Bar Harbor, Maine and are taking the Northern Tier to Napa, CA, their home.  They didn't like the "UP" of Michigan and all the "touristy towns".  Too pricey.

That information helps me make my mind up.  I am going to skip the "UP" and take the Alternate ACA "Manitowoc Route" to the S. S. Badger and ferry across Lake Michigan.  The "Manitowoc Route" starts in Conover.  My "general delivery" package from neighbor Laurie containing my med and my camera battery charger should be waiting for me in Conover too.  At the rate I am traveling it looks like I will arrive in Conover Thursday, not Friday as I had originally estimated.

I'm new to this "General Delivery" method of mailing stuff to myself.   I know bikers and hikers do it all the time but for me, this is a first and, something more to worry about!  Jeez!

Funny logging trucks around here.  They stack the logs cross wise on the truck!  Short soft wood logs, probably gonna become wood pulp for paper.


I stop in Glidden for Ice Cream at a small store that is crammed with fireworks on display.  The lady lets me borrow a six pack of sky rockets for a photo op with Duckie.


Duckie's excited the 4th of July is coming!  Me?  Not so much.

I have a hamburger at a bar in Butternut.  Surprisingly good!

Then a big push to make it to Island County Park.

$17.00.

Why are the showers always located over in the RV section of the park!  RV's have showers.  Bicycle tourists don't.  We get a pitcher pump!  I walk to the shower, $1.00 for three minutes.  Back to my tent and Mac and Cheese with tuna fish for dinner.

Gittin' grumpy.

To bed at 8:00 PM

53.4 miles for the day.

June 30th.

Up at 8:00 AM.  Twelve hours in the sack!!  I must have been tired!

A beautiful morning.  I have everything spread out to dry.  Six miles to breakfast.  I cook up some tea and oatmeal before I leave.

I am surprised to discover the Manitowish Waters Bike Path.


A very nice hiking/biking trail but not very long.

I get a good veggie omelette in Mercer.  Ice cream in Boulder Junction.  Stop at a grocery store for tuna, Korr stroganoff, yogurt, two bananas and Kraft Mac and Cheese.  Hit a ATM for $200.00.

Arrive at West Star Lake Campground.  $21.00.  Water pump and pit toilet.

47.26 miles for the day.

June 30th.

Nine miles to Conover.  Stop for a large Veggie Scramble with enough left over for snackage and Dinner!  The big question..., are my med and charger waiting at the Post Office.

YES!

The post mistress says they arrived just this morning.  One day earlier than I estimated!!

Finally, AWESOME # 18

I mail a piece of birch bark to the SOBs.

It starts to rain.  Should I go for it or hole up?  It's a warm rain so I put on my rain gear and Go For It!

It rains but not too bad.

The ACA takes me out the Old Military Highway.  The last three miles are torn up and being re-done.  Loose gravel and mud!!  Ugh!


Finally arrive on HWY 32 and turn right, the wrong way, to ride one and a half miles to "The Harbor" Private Campground.  Eric puts me in a quiet spot.  $25.00!  He must feel bad about charging me that much and gives me six quarters for the shower.

Now showered, clothes rinsed and hanging on a clothes line with the clothes pins that came with the campsite!

Snacking for dinner in my tent.  S'posed to be thundershowers this evening.  We'll see.

No cell coverage.

I discover that it was a loon call I heard last night.  Sounded to me like Tuvan Throat Singing!

47.74 miles for the day.  1,267 since I left Jordan, MT!!

Give me a WOOT!

July 1st.

It rained pretty good last night.  I do a lazy get-up and then walk across the highway to the "Harbor Restaurant".  Great Eggs Benny!  No Wi-Fi.

Back at "The Harbor" Campground I discover Wi-Fi near the office so I sit at a nearby picnic table and write a "Ketchup" email for the SOBs.

Back to my tent site, pack and on the road by 11:00 AM.

Nice ride.  Mostly tailwind.  Arrived in Condon.  Stopped to take a Duckie photo.


After Condon the route takes me alongside a lake 


where there are many big fancy homes.  I end up misreading the map and go four miles the wrong way.  Some locals get me straightened out and aimed in the right direction.  Got to thinking about calling it an early day and right before a big hill I spot a "Gated Community".  Something called a Quail Management Area.  Perfect!


Only 3:00 PM but good enough.  Spagetti and meatballs and into the tent by 5:00 PM.. Supposed to get down to 46 degrees tonight.  Killed another tick.  Saw a road-kill beaver today.


34.28 miles for the day.

July 2nd.

Too long in bed.  Mom got hold of me and worried about food, enough water, etc. etc.  Slugs, Ticks, some mosquitoes.  There were fireworks off in the distance during the night.

Up at 5:30 AM.  On the road by 7:00 AM.  Breakfast of oatmeal, raisins and honey.

Leaving the "Gated Community".


More dyslexia again, worried about being on the correct road.  I check and recheck the map.

Pig Snout Rd!  This must be the way!


Here's a nice old brick fixer-upper.  No historical sign.


"Alfalfa Hay, Alfalfa Hay...."

Gets their attention every time!


Wide open spaces and "Erratics".


Some folks let me use a portapotty that had been freshly set up for their upcoming Fourth of July festivities!  I also use a one holer at a cemetery later in the day!  Finally arrived in Mattoon.  The grocery store has a nice deli and they built me a rib-eye sandwich!  I eat it at the city park where a Mexican couple is teaching dancing to some young kids; a cotillion coming up.

On to Vee's Campground mentioned by the folks at the grocery store.  I miss the sign but discover the sign was facing the other way!  Got it figured out and arrive at the Campground bar/office.  $15.00 for a tent site, dinner and breakfast available.  Free shower!

Sold!  It has been a long day with rollers.  Lots of long straight stretches too.  Not too hot.  Mostly favorable winds.  Once again I have gone from a crappy morning to a nice day.  I find my spot and set up.


AWESOME # 18

Pretty quiet night with some fireworks.

54.71 miles for the day.

July 3rd.

Vee's RV Park.

I order breakfast at Vee's bar.  Biscuit gravy and eggs.  Really good gravy.

I discover there is going to be a Fourth of July Golf Cart parade at 11:00 AM.  That did it, I decide to stay two more nights through the 4th because 1.  I have a campsite that is fairly quiet, Shower, Restaurant and 2.  I can avoid Fourth of July weekend traffic.

Using the wi-fi at the bar I post an email update to the SOBs.  I find a book in the bar's lending library to read.  Woot!  The parade starts lining up.



Look Duckie, here they come!



After the parade I clean and lube the bike, clean and dry my clothes.  Relax and read my book.

Later in the afternoon a DJ with his audio equipment moves into the pavilion and fires it up for the evening entertainment.  Way too loud!  I finally pack up and move my tent to a site beyond the RV parking area where I hope it will be somewhat quieter.  My neighbor RV campers invited me over for dinner!


One of the guys tells me he drives a milk tanker truck and hauls milk from a dairy where 8,000 cows are milked three times a day!  All the milk from that dairy goes to a cheese factory!  

I definitely am in Wisconsin!!

I check the Pavillion one last time.


The Disco Ball revolving and the music very loud.  I decide if this is what it is like on the Third of July I don't want to be here for the 4th!!

They finally shut down the DJ at 11:00 PM and then the fireworks commence!!  The RV people loan me ear plugs!!

0.0 miles for the day.

4th of July.

Up at 7:00 AM.  Damp tent.  Breakfast at the bar at 8:30 AM.  All the campers are moving round very slowly.  Pre-partied out!!

Mom got ahold of me again during the wee hours but once I got rolling I felt much better.

I end up on a freeway for a while in the going home 4th of July weekend traffic, it is Monday after all.

I stop at a bike shop in an old railroad station to get a 26" X 1.5" bike tube.


No got but they do have ice cream!!

I want to put on some miles but start looking for a stealth campsite around 4:00 in the afternoon.

I try several locations that looked good but the mosquitoes drive me off.

There are no campsite recommendations on the ACA map through this stretch.

I arrived in Leeman.  "No camping in the city park."

Several miles out in the country I see a woman  mowing the yard.  I notice two bicycles parked by the garage.  I turn around, ride back and ask the woman, when she comes by on the riding mower, "Do you speak bicycle?"

She asks, "What do you mean?".

I tell her my story about cross country cycling and I am looking for a backyard where I can pitch my tent for the night.

She says, "Okay by me but I'll ask my husband".

He comes out of the house, she tells him my request, he turns to me and tells me there is a campground just one mile back up the road and down by the river.  Evidently it has been closed and that is why it isn't on my ACA map but now it has reopened.

I was hoping I could avoid a RV campground on the 4th but, oh well.  I turn around, ride back out to the highway and head for the campground.

I am almost to the campground and see that there are a lot of cars and pickups parked already; it's gonna be party time this evening!

Just as I turn into the entry the woman's husband shows up on his bike and asks me to come back to their house, "It will be a lot quieter"!

Perfect!

I ride back to their nice home in the country with him and he shows me around his back yard and tells me to set up where ever I like, "Would you like to have dinner with us?".

Towels are set out, I take a shower.  We have barbecued ribs with all the trimmings!

AWESOME # 19

Nice folks.  He is retired.  His wife has only a couple of months left at Oshkosh where Army trucks are made.

49.69 miles for the day.

July 5th.

Wake at 2:30 AM.  Really hot and humid and I have really sweated the sleeping bag.  Sopping.  Wake again at 6:30 AM.  Not so wet.  Get up at 7:00 AM and have breakfast with my hosts!  Don leaves to visit friends and Julie heads to work.

I pack my bike and roll it out to the driveway.  The front tire is flat!!

First flat of the trip and it happens where I have a deck and a lawn chair to sit on while I repair the tube, not alongside the highway, in the sun, with mosquitoes!!

How.... AWESOME #20..... is that!


While repairing the tube I spread out my sleeping bag and tent to dry in the sun.  Turns out there was a small sharp stone that worked it's way into the tube.  "Got it!!"

Back on the road.

1:45 PM.  27 miles.  I take a nap on a picnic table in the city park of Freedom, WI.  


My cell phone rings!  It is the SOB's!!  They are at debrief.  After talking to them I try calling my Lolli again.  Again, no answer.  I'm getting pissed and then realize she is at a weaving conference in New Mexico this week,  Duh!

After a long hot ride I arrive at Apple Creek Campground.  The "trainee" quotes me $31.00 for a tent site!!  I express shock so she calls her boss and revises the price to $10.50.  Much better.

Swimming pool, wi-fi service.  Shady with some bugs.  Pretty close to the highway.  


I try their $3.50 frozen pizza.  Not too bad.

Burp.

34.75 miles for the day.

July 6th.

Thunder and lightening and then rain at midnight.

All over by 6:00 AM.  "Deflate" and pack.

Rolling by 6:45 AM.

Enter Wrightstown.  No restaurants!!  I even ask a couple of walkers!  No joy!  How can a town not have a restaurant?  I end up having an egg/sausage/cheese at a BP gas station!

The ACA maps shows I should turn right onto county road ZZ.


I can't find ZZ and ride several miles out of my way looking for it.  I finally discover Wrightstown is being pretty much reconstructed with new roads and a new bridge.  To get to ZZ I have to turn left, not right, and go around and under the bridge!!  There are no signs showing the change.

Anyway, I am now on ZZ.

The churches around here have the graveyard all around them!


Now and then some lawn art.


20 more miles I find a Subway in Hubert.  Tail winds!

Whoa!  That is some bird watching tower at the "Neustadter Nature Center" on Collins Marsh.


  30 more miles to Manitowoc, Wisconsin where the ferry terminal for the S. S. Badger is located.

Miles and miles of farmland with Chicory alongside the road.


Finally, Manitowoc.  Home to a huge Budweiser Brewery.


 I wind my way through town and arrive at the ferry terminal office to find out how to get a ride in the morning  The nice lady sells me a one way ticket for $66.00 plus $7.00 for my bike.  I ask her if she would recommend nearby motel so I will be ready to load in the morning.  She suggests the Bay View Motel.

I bike a couple blocks to the Bay View.  Oh no!! Way more fancy than I need.  The receptionist tells me they have one room left on the ground floor and will allow me to bring my bicycle into my room.  $90.00!!  I figure since I just spent the last 26 days in my wee tent I will treat myself.

As soon as I have my bike in my room I immediately get out of my bicycling clothes, hop in the shower, and then dress for going out to dinner.  I spread my stuff out to dry.  Duckie is happy.


The restaurant is an old Italian place with signed photos of Dean Martin and the gang hanging on the walls.  I have the pasta and green salad.  $22.85!!  But it is good!

Back at the motel they let me use their commercial dryer to dry my sleeping bag.

56.32 miles for the day.

July 7th.

I have a good night's sleep.  At $90.00 I expect no less!!  From the complementary breakfast room I take a cinnamon roll, two boxes of Cheerios, milk and coffee back to my room.  I write a long email update and finally check out.


Capitol building?

I ride around town looking for a barber shop.  After several stops at busy "salons" where I need an appointment I score a regular men's shop with the barber pole out front!  He understands exactly what I want, "Everything down to 1/2 inch, even my beard".

$3.00!!  I tipped him $5.00!

That's worth an AWESOME # 21 right there!

Now I'm killing time in an espresso joint having a latte.  1-1/2 hour till loading.

Finally, it is time.

The S.S. Badger is the last coal burning ferry on Lake Michigan.


I arrive at the loading dock at the back of the boat.


18 wheelers are being backed on board.  This ferry has only one entrance so they back on and drive off!!

An extremely "Large Load" was unloaded from the ferry this morning when the ship arrived.  I would liked to have seen that!



I ask a dock worker what the truck is hauling?
"It's part of a power plant "crankshaft" that weighs 250 tons."
  Holy Moly!

Time to board.



Big ferry!


Leaving Manitowoc.


A selfie of me "sleeping"!!


A big screen monitor shows we are halfway across.  Lake Michigan is big!


It is a four hour crossing, unfortunately mostly in fog.  Lots of people sleep, obviously daily commuters.  Lots of people walk around and gawk, like me, obviously tourists!  There are a couple of restaurants, a gift shop, a museum, a large room where an entertainer leads folks in Bingo.


It starts raining hard as we arrived at Ludington.

Michigan


Another cycling tourist came aboard at the last minute and made the crossing with me.  By the time it was time to disembark we had joined forces and decided to try and get to Cartier Park to tent camp hoping they have a pavilion.  I have Cartier Park loaded on my Garmin so off we go.

We finally arrive at the park dripping wet.

Nope, no covered sites.  Just a tent site in the rain is available for $24.00.  Steve and I split the fee, pedal to the site and hastily erect our tents.  Wet, real wet!

10 miles for the day.

July 8th.

Wow!  For only $24.00 we not only got to camp in the rain, we also got to listen to dogs bark, children whine and couples argue!  What a miserable night.

Blue skies and a better day before us as we pack and leave.


We decide to roll back into town to see if we can find a good breakfast.  We do!  It is a 60's themed restaurant with bee bop on the jukebox and good food.  While we eat, another cloud burst rolls through!  It really rains when it rains around here!!

The rain stops and we head for Wolf Lake.  Steve is faster than I so we part ways.

Just me and the Duckies.


Free Soil, Michigan.


By 2:00 I am in Bass Lake with 40 miles under my belt.  There is a RV campground here but I decide to roll on an additional 10 miles to the "Old Grade" Forest Service Campground.

No one at the Forest Service camp except me and the host.  He tells me to ride around and pick my spot and then come back and pay.  I find site 11 to my satisfaction, ride back and discover the host has gotten his riding mower stuck between two posts!  I help him get it free, he thanks me and tells me to forget the fee, "It's on me!"

Back at site 11 I spread out my stuff to dry but it clouds up and looks like it rain again.


During the night something hits my tent.  I think my bike fell over and the flag pole whipped the tent.

50.79 miles for the day.

July 9th.

Packed and on the road by 7:45.  It was a falling tree branch that hit the tent during the rain last night.

Found some cell service near Lee Roy.  Had Prime Rib, baked Taters and a green salad about 1:30 PM seven miles short of Temple.

Scarecrow made out of a broom.


Hey!  The McKinley's have an Avenue!!


Arrive at Duggan's Canoe Campground.  They want $31.00 for a tent site!! No power outlet for my devices and the shower takes tokens, .75 cents each!!

I turn around and leave.  I didn't like the manager's attitude toward me either!!
So many of these RV campgrounds around here are filled with RVs and trailers that seem to be permanent summer cabins.  They have plywood skirts, permanent decks, decorative lighting hanging in the trees.  They have golf carts for going anywhere, nobody walks.  Everyone just sits on the porch drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, talk about fishing and stare at the skinny old bicyclist in spandex!!

Maybe it is just me.  I'm gettin' grumpy.

Press on for Lake George.  A couple miles short of Lake George I spot a potential Stealth campsite.  I walk the bike in and find my spot.  Tall grass, lots of flowers.  Perfect!


Evidently this is a pipe line right of way.

I take a spit bath.  Ha!  Pay $31.00 to camp with noisy RV campers on a Saturday Night?  No thanks.  I should stealth camp more often!

I must admit tent camping in damp grass sort of chokes me up.  I wish I had brought some Benadryl.

54.56 miles for the day.

July 10th

I wake with heavy dew on everything.  I'm getting stinky.  Lots of mosquitoes but DEET works.

Duckie is rather alarmed about what looks like a duck blind!!


Rolling by 7:45 AM.

Ride past some Amish gathering.  It must be Sunday.




Hook up with the Pere Marquette bicycle trail.


Very nice!


There are dedicated services along the route!


Our local State Parks could take a lesson!

Arrive in Coleman.  Have a milk shake.

This truck makes me think of Bob!


Cell coverage available.  Call Lolli.  Nope.

It is pretty tricky calling Lolli and hoping to catch her.  We have agreed I should call at 10:00 AM when I call but being on Mountain time and now East Coast time throws me off.


Head for another Forest Service Campground.  Warm but easy day.  Arrive at Sanford Black Creek State Park. 2.4 miles off route.  I try cleaning myself up by trying to swim in Black Creek.  The way down into the lake turns into slick gray clay gumbo.  It sucks my Crocs right off my feet.  I manage to get out far enough to float for abit but then have to try and walk back out of the water through the gray colored gumbo.  What a mess.  The only way I can wash off my legs and my Crocs is to pump the pitcher pump with one hand and scrub with the other.

Once cleaned up I decide to move from site #7 to site # 9 for better shade.  What a warm muggy day.

I put everything out to dry after the soaking from this morning's heavy dew.


I cook up a can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew.  This is the first time I have used my camp stove in a while.  I'm trying to conserve fuel.

47.12 miles for the day.

July 11th.

Quiet night in the campground.  I think the other campers left.

7:00 AM I loosen the valve on my Neo-Air air mattress and slowly whoosh back down to the ground.  This is the way I start each morning when in my tent!  I deflate the air mattress and my air pillow while lying on them.  Makes it easier to roll them up.

It starts to sprinkle while packing.  Then stops.  2.5 miles from the campground back to Sanford for breakfast.  Rolling into town I see a place with a bunch of cars in front!  Always a good sign.  I end up with more pancakes than I can eat,  The pancakes are huge!

Big town of Midland coming up.  I should do my laundry, maybe find a Goodwill so I can buy a pair of  throw away shorts and a t-shirt to wear while doing laundry.

I spot Ray's Bike shop and ask the manager if they can tune up my Surly.  First the manager says no, they are way too busy and then realizes I am a cross country traveler.  He tells me to "Bring it on in".  Perfect!  I walk across the street for a Latte while they work on my bike.

New chain, cleaned and lubed.  He tells me the large ring on my crank set is worn out but they don't have one in stock.

I ask it they can recommend a laundry.  They do and give me directions.  I ride to it.

Perfect!


No Goodwill along the way so I change into my rain gear and throw everything into a machine.  I ask the manager if I can wash my sleeping bag.  He checks the tag and show me where it says it is okay to wash!  WOOT!  It needs it!

I finally get Lolli on my cell phone while the clothes dry.  She tells me that our neighbor Frank passed away!!  That is so unexpected.  Wow!

I stop and pick up a meat ball sandwich on the way out of town.

Getting near Bay City I see there is a Bay City State Park on my ACA map.

The tent site fee is $23.00.  Showers are free.  Electricity available to charge my devices.

In the State Park restroom I am surprised to see a BioHazard collection container for used needles!!

For diabetics or druggies?  Hmmmm.


It is a rather nice campsite and clean showers.


Saginaw Bay is right across the highway.  I had no idea.  ACA maps only show a narrow slice of the area I am traveling through, not the bigger picture.  I should get a state map so I know where I am!!

37.89 miles for the day.

July 12th.

Packed and rolling by 7:30 AM.  I cross over the highway so I can show the ducks Saginaw Bay.


"No Duckies, that is not the Atlantic Ocean."

Something is wrong with my rear wheel.  When I apply the rear brake the bike surges like a warped brake rotor on a car.  Upon closer inspection I see the rim has started to split!!  I ask a woman doing her morning bike ride if there are any bike shops in town.  "Jack's Bike is the best" and leads me to the bike path that will take me into town.

I enter the bike shop address in my Garmin and pedal.  I arrive at the address but it turns out to be a house on a residential street??  I stop a morning jogger and ask what happened to Jack's Bike?  He tells me Jack Bike use to be here but has moved into the old part of town down by the river.

Onward.

I just make it to Jack's Bike Shop before my rear wheel gives up the ghost.  There is a Surly decal in the window.

Not only a bike shop but they are a dealer for Surly!  They have the correct replacement wheel for my bike!

How.... AWESOME #22,,,, is that!!

Here is my split rear rim!! 


 While they work on my bike I walk over to the restaurant next door.  Latte and wifi!  I am almost out of minutes on my TracFone so load new minutes and then call my cousin Cindy.  She tells me her sister Sandy is driving Aunt Shirley and Jim to their timeshare near Dubois, PA.  They will be there July 16 ~ 23.  Maybe I can meet them there!

Whoa ho!  Maybe that will work!   I have started thinking I would rather see my Aunt Shirley than Bar Harbor, Maine.  Maybe I can figure out a way to visit them and still get across Pennsylvania to the Atlantic Ocean.  ACA does not provide a map for that.  Hmmm.

My bike is finished.  They have installed a new rear wheel,  a new large ring gear on the crank and a new chain.   $159.00

Back to work.  It is tough finding the right route out of Bay City.  Once I do it becomes a tough day.  Hot and humid plus I am riding into a 16 mph south-east wind.  I guess that is why there are so many windmills around here!


I scan the horizon and can count 83 windmills!

The route:


Turn left, side wind.  Turn right, head wind.  Back and forth, back and forth.  Very wearing.

After 23 miles I stop at a small restaurant in Fairgrove.  The bikes out front got my attention.
   

Ron, the owner, cook, waitress and used bike seller brings me a full pitcher of ice water and then gets busy making me a good Chef's Salad.  I needed the greens and, the ice water!

It is getting late in the day and I am pushing it.


I spot a potential Stealth Camp, roll my bike in far enough to be out of sight.  I almost have my tent set up when I hear a couple of women talking near by, then a barking dog and the smell of barbecue.

 Nope.  This ain't gonna work.

  Pack up, roll back to the road and press on for a campsite listed on the ACA map.  It is getting late in the day.  Dark clouds are gathering.  I find Bliss Road but no campground.  I stop a car and get directions.  "By the way", the driver says, "there is a storm coming"!

I arrive at the "Ber-Wa-Ga-Na" campground at 6:30 PM.  My latest stop yet!  $22.00.

The manager has me follow his golf cart out to where I can set up my tent away from the full time RV-ers.  I hurry to get my tent set up and the panniers inside the tent.  Not raining yet so I walk over to the shower.  On the way back to my tent after my shower it starts to rain.  Hot and muggy.

I'm beat!

49.39 miles for the day.

July 13th.

Up and at 'em.

To Mayville to Silverwood and a BLT with potato salad.


Small towns.


Old bridges.


 North Beach to Brown City.  Hot, humid, side wind, tailwind.  A map reading "screw-up" results in four additional miles through gravel.  Ugh.

Arrive in Capac.  88 degrees at 1:02 PM!  Humid!!


I think about trying the city park in Capac but I'm hot and sticky and need a shower.  Onward to the KOA on the map.  Only $35.00! but it does have barking dogs and crying children!  Thundershower imminent.  The lady in Yellow assigns me to L-19.  I ride out and discover the site has no grass, it is all dirt and in a low spot besides.  I ride around and find a better campsite over at l-26, ride back and get an okay.


Set up camp.  Take a shower and rinse my clothes.  The shower feels great but I am sweaty as soon as I dry off.  I hang my clothes on my bike.  If they are not dry by morning maybe I can use the KOA dryer.

7:48 PM.  Thunder in the distance.  Hot and sticky.  I have a Subway sandwich for dinner.

62.80 miles for the day.

July 14th

Pretty good thunder, lightning and downpour during the night.  Woke to blue skies, some clouds. I put my sun shirt, bike shorts, socks and towel in the dryer.

I call Cindy at 7:30 AM.  Voice mail.

She calls back.  She and John are going on vacation but she will talk to her sister Sandy.

Rolling.

Lots of Lilies along the road like the ones Lolli and I have in our garden!


More roadkill.  "Don't look Duckies!"


I discover a nice bike trail into Marine City.


Arrive in Marine City.  Riding along I meet a guy riding his bike who flags me down and asks, "Didn't I see you in North Dakota?".  He and his wife were on vacation.  He can't believe I have ridden this far!!

In town I look around for a Visitors Center or a Chamber of Commerce.  I want to find out about Canada.  I stop at a bank and ask the teller about taking the ferry to Canada, how the money exchange works, where to stay.  She doesn't know and asks the manager.  They are no help!

Duckie and I are amazed.  Canada is right over there and I can't find out anything about it!


Sandy calls.  She has a friend in Ohio who might be able to pick me up.

Oh boy!

I think about treating myself to a motel but can't find any nearby and end up in Algonac State Park.  It is a huge State Park.  It takes a while to find the kiosk.

$20.00.  Showers.

It is another mile to my assigned campsite.  A guy across the way is sitting in his chair under his trailer awning watching me set up just like the guy this morning who watched me pack up.  Just sitting there drinking beer and smoking.  No, "Hi", "Hello" or "Kiss my Ass".   On the way to the shower there are two tents set up with young people drinking beer who give me a hard time.  I avoid them on the way back.

I bought a sandwich in Marine City for my evening meal.

I adjust the front derailleur.  It is throwing the chain sometimes when I shift up.

I talk to me brudder.  He gets me straight on Sandy and Cindy's phone numbers.

43.39 miles for the day

July 15th

Gobs of mosquitoes waiting for me this morning!


Fortunately, DEET works!!

I can't believe all the dead mosquitoes in the campground sink!


Nice bike trail back to Marine City.


Entering town I spot this sign.  Makes me want to bark!


Arrive at the ferry by 9:00 AM.
Two touring cyclists get off  but they are in a hurry and we don't get a chance to talk.


Check it out!  Life jacket lockers..., in French!!


Only two customers for this crossing.  Me with my bike and a Trucker with his truck.


CANADA!!

Ominous weather in Canada!


I have breakfast in Port Lambton, Ontario.

I could have had Perch and Frog Legs.


I think not.

Arrive in Wallaceburg, Ontario where I make the turn onto Adventure Cycling Map, "Alternate A".  This is such a easy decision to make after agonizing about it for weeks!  Yep, no more heading for Niagara Falls and Bar Harbor, Maine.  I am definitely going to see Aunt Shirley.

Hot, humid, tail wind and then side wind.  I arrive in Mitchell's Bay about 1:00 PM after 34.07 miles.  Stop for an ice cream.  It is 37 miles to the Provincial Park according the ACA map so I decide to call it a short day and check out the local camping possibilities.

A local directs me to the "Marine Park".  I ask the lady in the office if they have someplace I can put my tent that will be quiet and shady.  She tells me to ride out and take a look at #7.  I do and then ride back and tell her I like #9 better.  Fine by her.

"No charge."

No charge?

AWESOME # 23

Once again I wind up entertaining the locals as I set up my kit and kaboodle.  The shower is right across the street so  I enjoy a shower and then crawl into my tent to read and take a nap.

In the evening I walk into town for a mushroom burger.  It is a good one.  I could have had Frog Legs but. no.

34.97 miles for the day.

July 16th.

Wake up to pee at 2:30 AM and then begin my toss and turn.  I'm worried about not having a ACA map for when I leave Canada.  I'm worried about how the ferry connection back to the US will work out.  I'm worried about Sandy's friend connection.  Round and round.  I try Zen nose breathing again.

Sunrise 6:00 AM.


My campsite with the shower across the street.


Pack and roll into town by 6:30 for breakfast.

I'm heading for Leamington, Ontario where I will take the ferry back to the USA.

  Overcast and strong tail wind.  Only 37 miles to go and I'm really pushing it,

Anti Fracking sign.


The corn has gotten taller than an elephants eye!


Tall corn requires tall tractors!


Lots of the churches with their cemeteries.


Quilting is big in Canada.


Canadian Geese Crossing!


Yup, that's me in the mirror.  Just checking.


Whoa, Dollar Store, even in Canada!


Rolling, rolling, nice tailwind.  I blow a snot rocket and it is blood!  What the hell?

I stop beside an abandoned church, lay on the ground and try to get my nose to stop bleeding.


The bleeding will not stop.

A guy drives by in a diesel Datsun sedan.  Sees me, stops, backs up and asks me how I am.

"Not good."

He points to the organic farm store across the intersection.  "Ask for Craig, he will help you".

I roll my kit and kaboodle across the intersection and knock on the open door.  No answer. I use the restroom to clean the blood off my face and beard.  Stuff toilet paper up my nose.

Out back is a picnic table and I lay down on it.

I hear a car pull in and Craig comes from the garden area to see who arrived.  He is surprised to see me.  He was out back pulling weeds.

He deals with his customers and then comes back to me.  I tell him what is going on and then his wife and daughter pull into the drive.  She looks at me and gets alarmed.

She has me come inside, lay down and puts a blanket under my head.  After some discussion she decides to load me and my bike in her SUV and take me to the medical clinic in Ludington.  Her daughter will ride along.  They have me take the passenger seat and lower it as far as it will go.  I'm pretty out of it, still bleeding and now, shaking!

In town we discover the clinic closed at noon.  We just missed it.  We try another pharmacy/clinic but they say I will probably need cauterization or a balloon; better go to the emergency room at the hospital.

I don't want to but I have never had my nose bleed like this before and it has scared me.

At the hospital they take me in.  First stop, the pay window.  "It will be $500.00 for the visit".

Um, er..., Okay.

We spend three hours in a room waiting to be examined.  By the time the doc shows up my nose has finally stopped bleeding!  He takes my blood pressure, it is quite high.  He looks up my nose.  I do not require cauterization or a balloon.  He shows me the proper way to stop a nosebleed, "Apply pressure squeezing the nose shut and lean forward for fifteen minutes".  He tells me to double up on my blood pressure medication.

My trail angels want to to take me home with them!

Thank you Jesus!

Back to their home for a hot shower (their bathroom scale shows I weigh 144.8.  I weighed 155 at the beginning of this trip.)  No wonder I am feeling wimpy!!

They host me to a fine outdoor barbecue.


After dinner Marjan gets out her I-Pad, finds and books me a motel in Sandusky, Ohio close to where I will get off the ferry tomorrow.

To bed early.  What an unexpected day.

July 17th.

After a great organic farm breakfast I have a couple hours before the ferry leaves.  Craig asks if I would like to ride with him over to their Organic Farm.


So we can feed the chickens.


And check on their 10 Yaks!!


Across the street is where I was yesterday with my nose bleed!


Back to their house and it is time to go.  We load my bike and panniers into their SUV and head to Leamington for the ferry terminal.

Put the panniers back on my bike and Marjan takes my photo.


"Thanks so much.  You guys are AWESOME #23

Duckie is ready to go.


Underway I notice the Canadian Flag flying.


Part way across the crew swaps it for the American Flag!!


Arriving Sandusky, Ohio, a big amusement park along the beach.


Disembarking.  


Customs hardly gives me a glance.
Canada was easy except for the hard part!

OHIO

Only one and a half miles, following my Garmin, I arrive.



AHHHH.


There is a pizza joint across the street.  This can work!

July 18th.

Nancy arrives around noon.  We drive to Walmart and find a $34.99 bicycle rack.
Back to the motel to pick up my bike and hit the road.


It is so weird riding along in air conditioned splendor after 44 days on my bike in heat and humidity.  It is still hot and humid but it is OUT THERE!!

 We arrive in Silverwood, Pennsylvania where my Aunt Shirley and Jim have a timeshare.


Aunt Shirley..., "I just can't believe you're here!", over and over again!

Me neither!!  Thanks so much for saving me!

AWESOME #24
.
Duckie is impressed with the golf course out back!


After the Silverwood "vacation" we drive to...


Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania where Jim and Shirley live.

Packages waiting for me from me brudder and from the SOBs.

Me brudder sent me this T-shirt.


"Never underestimate an OLD MAN on a BICYCLE"

You got that right, bro!

The SOB package is full of "Congratulation" cards, gift cards, coffee cards, power bars and other gifts!!


AWESOME #25

During several weeks of rest and recuperation I explore the Mechanicsburg area.




After all of this summer's traveling I finally find what I'm looking for...


Ahhhhh.

Jim and Shirley are avid baseball fans so we attend a Senators game in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ducky had never been to one before!


When the game ended the skyrockets began!


WOW!


Oh Oh.  I think the ducks and I are starting to wear out our welcome.


 Time to get serious about heading back to Lolli.

I get a bike box from the local bike shop and schedule BikeFlite.com to pick up my bike and ship it to Fort Bragg.

Take it apart so it will fit in the box.


Duckies are worried about the bike in the box.


Well, it was a wonderful visit and recovery with Aunt Shirley, Jim, Sandy and Cindy.

Thank you, thank you, it was AWESOME #26

They drive us to the airport and United flies us to Seattle.



"Thanks" for the ticket goes to my Sis, Diane and brother-in-law Del.  They extracted me last time and they did it again!!  Awesome #27

Lolli meets me at Sea Tac.  In the morning I wake up on the boathouse, our outdoor bed and watch the tide come in!


AWESOME # 28


A couple days with Lolli at Camano, then we swing by and visit my kids and grandkids.

Time to head for Fort Bragg.  Lolli and I take turns driving with an overnight stop at the Trees Motel across from Trees of Mystery.

Duckie is impressed!


Arrive in Fort Bragg and there seems to be a mix up.


The bike box arrived but that sure don't look like my Surly!


It's not!  It's the bike from the Huffy Toss!!

Those SOBs!!!

MY bike is hidden in the garage!

Next morning the SOBs give me an AWESOME #29 reception.


Bob the Mayor reads a proclamation, Wose give me the key to the city and Valerie gives me a trophy!!


AWESOME #30

So amazing you guys!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

It is soooo wonderful to be home.