Around Gwinn and Marquette

Our first taste of a pasty. We split a "with rutabaga" and "without rutabaga," 750 calories later...
Dave says: "I like all food and I can't remember the difference."
Heather says: "There wasn't enough rutabagas for me to notice one from the other but the crust was a little greasy which is why I had to eat some ice cream as a anti-acid."

A few shots of our trip up to the top of Sugarloaf:

The rest of these are from Presque Isle:

This is the "cove" on Presque Isle, the rocks in the background people jump off of into the lake.

Day 106 Rest day in Gwinn, MI

Rest day in Gwinn, MI. Tuesday, July 28, 2009. Windy and warm.
The wind may be blowing from the west but we gave in to sore muscles and need of rest. We slept in to 10:00am and lounged today, journaled some and caught the blog up to date all the while listening to the howling wind. After sitting the whole day (and not pedaling) we've been invited by our host to head to Marquette tonight for a hike up a hill and a view of the city. We'll also get our first taste of a "pasty." In order to satisfy the question: to rutabaga or not to rutabaga, we opted for one of each and will reserve judgement until after the taste testing.

Tomorrow we ride to somewhere and another adventure.


Day 105

Monday, July 27, 2009. Slight west wind and a mix of all weather types.
- Start: Champion, Van Riper State Park
- ATW: Clarksburg, Greenwood, Ishpeming, Negaunee, Princeton
- End: Gwinn, MI
- Day Miles: 50-something Ride Time: Total Trip Miles:

We're currently sitting in a house listening to a torrential downpour raging outside. We connected with another warmshowers host and just in time! We'll update the blog more as we sit here eating dinner. The following picture is a shot of us using the couple of laptops available.

Recap of the day:
Another late morning with a start at 11:00am. We woke late, packed slow, wrote in journals and talked more. When we tired of chasing squirrels away from our food paniers we tried to ride out of the park but talked more. "Are we ever going to make it today?" That was just the beginning.

We were told that it was "all down hill" to Ishpeming. Well, not really. Some downhills, but not all. A stop at the grocery with a stocked up on fruit, veg, cheese and hummus had us lacking only a good bread to round out the meal. We were given directions to the Huron Mountain Bakery in town and we spent a good hour eating delectable treats and more talking. We ended up telling our story three times while in the shop!

Two local ladies gave us directions to a paved bike trail into Negaunee with the explination that Ishpeming meant "high land" or "heaven" while Negaunee meant "low land" or... where were they sending us? A bike path into...

The bike path was lovely but the directions once in Negaunee were muddled. We saw a couple of youths in a door way who called out an appreciation to us about our bike. We swung back around for directions and set out down to Gwinn.

Riding 40 miles out of Wakefield on a rest day resulted in a little confusion with our warmshowers host. I'd left a message saying we were a day ahead of schedule but when I called for exact directions everything was suddenly confusing and a bad phone connection didn't help. There was a birthday (would we get cake?) and they had plans for the night but we were welcome to stay all the same. With directions in hand we found we'd gone a long way around to get to her house because she didn't actually live in Gwinn but on the old airforce base north east of town. At least the trip down 35 was downhill on all the hard parts.

Leaving the house a few miles west of Gwinn that we'd stopped in for borrowing a phone Dave's left hamstring had a sudden strain. He streatched and we continued on but the pain came back intermitantly. Since it's a two engine bike Heather pedaled slowly on the straight aways, Dave assisted on any uphills and we both coasted every chance we could. We'd been watching a narrow band of dark clouds spanning from west to east. They didn't look too friednly and for spite they started raining on us just before we got to our host's house.

We sheltered the bike and talked for a while. They dashed off to the casino to celebrate her son's 21st birthday and we sat around listenting to the rain pound outside thankful to have a night inside.

Day 104 Terrain Reports

Click on image to enlarge

Sunday, July 26, 2009 A lot of clouds but a nice tail wind.
- Start: Bruce Crossings, MI
- ATW: Trout Creek, Kenton, Sidnaw, Watton, Covington, Three Lakes, Michigamme
- End: Champion
- Day Miles: 65.7 Ride Time: 6:25 Total Trip Miles: 3210

The unexpected ride from the day before and the early start with the crows found us waking in Bruce Crossings around 9:00AM. Everything was damp and packing was slow. A guy by the name of Dave stopped in and while we packed he entertained us with magic tricks and tested our knowledge on sports trivia.

Around 11:00 we were packed up and everything was mostly dried before being stuffed away. The next city was Ishpeming and last night we were warned that nothing existed between here and there. We'd heard that before (many times) and people were usually wrong. Which ended up being the case today. Several small towns lined our way as well as campgrounds and a few state parks. We even found a few roadside rests with vault toilets, practically civilization! What do people expect a couple of bicyclists to need when crossing a state?

"It's completely flat after Covington and the most boring stretch of nothing ever!" the grocery clerk exclaimed slamming her hand down onto the conveyor belt scooping up the frozen bag of peas and tossing them into a bag. She was far from right on all points. It wasn't flat and it was very pretty. Dense tree growth has been the theme the last week or so but it is a wonderful change from the open air of the farmlands and plains.

I don't think we expected to make it all the way to Ishpeming as it was 80 some miles on anything but "flat" land but when we got to Michigamme we voted to stop early. It was around dinner time for the rest of the world and we were near a couple of nice state parks. Why not?

Maybe I mixed up where we were headed but what we thought was three miles further was 10 to Van Riper state park. Once in the park we talked to several people interested in our bike and trip and managed to get to sleep around 11:00PM after amazingly hot showers. Usually in parks they're luke warm at best. Another night of thwarting mosquitoes and extreme darkness allowing the stars to fill the sky.

Source: http://hunts-upguide.com/champion_van_riper_state_park.html

Day 103

Saturday, July 25, 2009
- Start: Wakefield, MI
- ATW: Bergland, Topaz, Matchwood, Ewen
- End: Bruce Crossings, MI
- Day Miles: 42.9 Ride Time: 3hr 45min Total Trip Miles: 3145

We would have preferred to wake to an alarm clock but anything would have been better than the screaming that jolted us awake at sun up. Dave described it as sounding like a woman opening a can with a spring loaded snake inside. In reality it was a crow being pecked at by some tiny bird. The crow was on a branch over our heads and for some reason would not budge as it was continuously dive bombed. Fully awake we cleaned up our gear and just in time, rain was beginning.

We lounged around the covered shelter dreaming of the hot chocolate we were out of, if it would only lighten up a bit we could make a dash for the grocery. Instead it poured so hard that the town shops on the opposite side of the lake where lost in a wall of water. Perhaps today should be a rest day.

Just after 10 we got a break in the rain. Under heavy clouds we raced to the library but our luck held out and it was closed. Every tiny town we end up in is an off day for the library. At the post office we'd mailed out a completed journal for Dave and the postal clerk offered her computer later in the day if we were still in town.

Following a trip to the grocery and a pot of soup under the picnic shelter the rain had ended and the wind settled in a constant direction. The sun burned through the clouds and we had managed to catch up in our journal writing. "Do you want to go on today?" "I don't know, do you want to go on today?" "I don't know." Our wonderfully witty indecisive battle led us to packing up and heading off.

The wind was from the west and sent us 20 miles down the road into Bergland. Not worn out enough we ate a couple ice cream cones and were off again for the next town of any significance: Bruce Crossings. Behind the grocery store was a "tourist trail court" with showers and RV hookups. We sheltered our tarp behind a log cabin concession stand and then washed off the road grime.

We'd been warned that we were now in bear and moose country so the showers we'd used became the store room for every bit of smelliness we had except for ourselves. We had showered!

The wind battered our little shelter through the night and rain soaked everything around. You'd think that would keep the mosquitoes down but instead it drives them under shelter... our shelter. Luckily we'd taken the time to kill several while sitting at a picnic table and sewing the screen to the top of the sleeping bag. We hurried under cover and in a dramatic moment raised the screen over our heads. Making sure it was tucked down just right we slept a bite free night.

Day 102

Friday, July 24, 2009 Dense clouds, cold morning warm afternoon
- Start: Ashland, WI
- ATW: Odanah, Birch, Cedar, Saxon, Ironwood, Ramsay
- End: Wakefield, MI
- Day Miles: Ride Time: Total Trip Miles:

Last night we finally decided to switch out the rear tire for the spare as the tread was pealing off the built in tire liner. Before leaving town we stopped in at the bike shop for a replacement but they didn't have anything close to what we needed. We'd just roll until we could find another one.

Also last night before we went to the park we met a guy whose eyes popped when we said we'd be riding 2 east toward the U.P. "You have a 1/2 a mile up hill climb!" We would later learn it was called "Birch Hill" and while it might have been a half mile climb it wasn't bad because it was the only one around.

Crossing into Mighigan we tried to stop in Ironwood for a food restock and ice cream break but were directed to the east side of town to the grocery store. Once there we opted to ride a little more eastward in hopes of a relaxing spot to eat our meal. A few miles down the road we found a slopping grass hill embanking a Wal-Mart parking lot. We sat on the crab grass eating melted ice cream cups and toyed with the idea of stealth camping on the golf course across the street.

"We'd have to camp on the back nine if we expect to sleep in past 6:00 AM, tomorrow's Saturday and crazy people get up at dawn to play."

Just about the time we'd sat down to eat the sun gave way to a large black cloud and a cold fix was less appealing. Now that we were properly chilled the cloud decided to soak us. We tried to find an awning to wait out the rain but the fat drops ended quickly and we moved fast to warm back up.

Our ride took us into Wakefield. We rode around the small lake that the town surrounded and ate dinner at a covered picnic shelter. The park offered camping and we set up for the night. Tired of mosquitoes sneaking under the sleeping bag we bought a roll of 3'x7' fiberglass screening at a hardware store. We donned our ball caps and drapped the screen over our heads. The material gapped at places and it was a battle to keep it from sliding off the bag. We decided we'd have to sew it down to make it more effective. A few stings later we worked out a good enough set up for the night.

Day 101

Click on image to enlarge.

July 23, 2009 Fog!
- Start: Bayfield, WI
- ATW: Washburn
- End: Ashland, WI
- Day Miles: Ride Time: Total Trip Miles:

After sleeping peacefully in the "boat yard" we woke to a dense fog blotting out everything after a hundred yards. Perhaps we should wait until it cleared a bit? Dave spent time talking with sailors while Heather threw a tennis ball for a highly active golden doodle.

We sat around until late morning then set out making it 10 miles down the road to Washburn, WI before we stopped for lunch and a blog update at the local library.

Another 12 miles into Ashland and a stop by another one of the artesian wells that line the lake. We were directed to a park just across the road. Instead of searching the town for a grocery we dinned on our emergency rations which turned out to be a lot of food for a 20 mile day. The greater part of the day was spent catching up in journals which always seem to be a day or two behind.

Source: http://www.sailboats-inc.com/


Total Trip to 3000 Miles

Click on image to enlarge.

Editor's Note: This is a composite of Dave & Heather's Trip up to Day 100. They reached about 3000 miles on the bike.(Not counting car miles.) I include the car trip west of Rapid City, SD and marked their travels to Yellow Stone, WY (in dark blue). They returned to their bike in Louistown, MT and started East.


Day 100 - 3000 miles from home

July 22, 2009 Sun, warm, a little cool wind off the lake but a storm loomed.
Start: Port Wing, WI
ATW: Herbster, Cornucopia, Red Cliff
End: Bayfield, WI.
about 40 miles.

When updating the blog the stats never seem to be handy so we'll just have to keep dealing with approximations.

We spent the day riding around part of the Lake Superior Circle Tour on Route 13. More fun signs in Wisconsin: as we turned due north to continue on 13 the sign said "South 13." We hardly know what we're doing from day to day and then they throw something like that at you. Heather looked back to see we had come east forever on Rt 13 "North." Ah... Hm... how far is it to Michigan, maybe we'll have better luck with signs there. Still, it makes one laugh and then look over your shoulder when you roll into a town and a sign states: "Engine break prohibited except in emergency."

We stopped often to look at the lake which was much more calm than the first time that we saw it. In Cornucopia following a lunch stop we walked through the small marina and saw dozens of sail boats. Dave was very excited but we rode on instead of giving up the ride and buying the boat for sale that we got a tour of.

After we turned 3000 miles in Cornucopia we pedaled up the hill out of town and a few miles later we ducked into a National Lake Shore Park to see which way the building storm was going to go. From Port Wing we'd watched cumulonimbus clouds reaching skyward and we'd heard distant thunder for the last few minutes. The sky to the south was darkening and nothing will cause someone to move faster than a couple of people riding a mobile lightening rod. After 15 minutes of thunder we set back out because the storm was heading south and we still had a lot of eastward travel to do. We might drop back into the storm when we turned south later, but we'd just have to figure that out when we got there. We ended up not having any trouble.

Everyone told us that it was downhill from Red Cliff to Bayfield. Actually it's mostly downhill once you get over the long hill "after" Red Cliff. Nothing too steep, just long a long couple miles. Terrain reports are fun.

In Bayfield we'd shopped for dinner at an IGA and were looking around for a place to stay. Dave had been talking to someone: "I'd let you sleep in my yard but I live on a boat."

"Aren't there boat yards?" Dave quipped. But it got her thinking. She invited us down to see the Port Superior Marina. Once we were there everyone was very friendly and we were directed to sleep in a grassy area toward the end of the dock.

After hot showers and a long walk around the docks looking at even bigger sail boats we crawled into our dew laden tarp and slept, waking occasionally to the drops of water falling from the underside onto the drop cloth. After 100 days you might think we've figured out how to pitch the thing so that the water runs down and not pools on top.


Day 100 - End in site?? - only 1000 more miles

Editor's Note: This is just an estimate of the route that Dave and Heather will take to return to Atwater, OH. Mapquest.com uses the interstate highway; but, Dave and Heather will find their own way on secondary roads.

*A note from Heather: My dad is crazy to think that we're going to ride our bike anywhere near Detroit! He'll have to drive out to see us (c;"


Two notes about blogs...

For those who like to read more about cycling here's a cycling couple's blog who have learned about us through someone we met in Wisconsin, their blog is: http://rlove2bike.blogspot.com/

Secondly, when we were in North Dakota we started hearing about a cyclist that had been killed on the road we were riding. No one knew how or when or what had really happened but they were all certain a cyclist had been killed the day before we passed through the area of Mentor, ND. It took a while but I just puzzled it all out while reading up on some blogs of people who I knew were going through the area.

While we're sad to hear that a trip is over due to an incident with a car, we're very happy to find out that there wasn't a cyclist killed. Currently I do not know all the details but they'll be put up on http://patanddavesbiketrip.blogspot.com/ at some point. Best to you Pat and get well soon!

Day 99 Postcard from Port Wing, WI

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Day 99

July 21, 2009
Port Wing, WI: Rain and clouds.
Rest day. We woke up to the rain pounding on the tarp and a wet dog by our heads. Rudy had decided that after his bathroom run at 5:30am he would come inside the tarp to get out of the weather. He was ushered out back into the house but the rain had also driven the mosquitoes under the tarp. The battle of the mosquitoes was on again, though we survived the fight we're not sure who the victor really was. We were bitten a lot but more of them died. Head nets work to keep them off our faces but the little ninjas sneak their way under the sleeping bag through the gap at our shoulders, bounce around until they find some flesh and then sink in their swords. We're working on a design of a modified head net attached to the width of the bag and then tucked under our heads and upper bodies. We just need to find a town big enough for either a fabric or hardware store.

For now we're out of the rain in the gallery we'd tracked down yesterday enjoying a rest with Sharon, Ices and Cosmo (a couple of cats) and Rudy, the dog who'd joined us this morning. To celebrate our 99th day out we're going to Mexican night at the local bar and we'll be there with sombreros on.

Day 98 Man of Mystery and the beaches

July 20, 2009 (Super long entry because I haven't written in my journal and the words are flowing like the rain outside).
Poplar, WI to Port Wing, WI
About 35 miles of sun and hearty winds.
We woke to the tarp flapping and drops of water plinking us in the face. The night had cooled off fast and when the tarp is pitched low to compensate for the wind the condensation builds a little. It may have even rained over night. Hard to tell when you're wearing ear plugs. Dave packed while Heather loaded up at the local grocery store. After the last few weeks of over indulgence at restaurants Heather made a secret pledge to eat healthier and cheaper. For breakfast we consumed an entire cantaloupe and a dozen powder sugar coated doughnut holes. Progress is made one step at a time.

Following the advice of Steve and Kit we headed to the secluded beach on Brackets Rd. Along the way we rolled into an intersection of a gravel road and Rt. 13. After we ate we looked up to find another touring cyclist stopping. A 55 to 60 year old man was traveling alone from Vancouver to Montreal. He'd been detoured off Rt. 2 After Duluth because it was a freeway for a short time and was in need of directions. He was traveling with a cross section cut from a North American map and no others. On the map were "X's" marking stops along with smiling and sad faces that we never found out what they meant but one can guess.

Heather pulled out the Wisconsin map and gave him directions to Rt. 2 and eventually the southward bound Rt. 13 towards Green Bay. We talked for a few minutes about cycling then he was on his bike and ready to head out again. We shook hands and introduced ourselves but he rode off before we could share our blog or even get his name. A man of mystery he'll always remain.

A few miles further on we met two more cyclists headed the opposite way. They were on a "quick" tour around the area for the week. We stood on the side of the road entertaining each other with road stories and agreeing that though they're tough to handle the worst day can make the best stories.

Just a few "more" miles down the road was the turn off for the beach. It was graveled and we bumped along until it turned to grass. Then we bumped along until it turned to ruts. Walking the last bit we were at a thin strip of beach littered with a few cigarette butts mixed in with nature's more appealing debris: pebbles turning in the surf, rocks, boulders, drift wood from sticks to logs, feathers and leaves. We ate lunch, met another couple of beach goers with a super hyper Springier Spaniel named Buster but eventually left because of the wind blowing hard and cold off the lake.

Outside of Port Wing we saw a sign for an art gallery and ice cream. What a great idea. We found out way to the gallery and chatted with the proprietor as we ate our ice cream. With directions to another beach we left to buy smoked fish for dinner and headed to the shore again. We should have know better, though it was a larger and beautiful beach the wind hadn't abated and the thought of setting up to sleep near the shore was enough to make us more exhausted than we already were. Back we went to the town picnic area to cook the rest of dinner out of the wind. The gallery owner, Sharon, had offered her yard and showers if the beach didn't work out… well, needless to say.

We came back at the end of the pottery class that was being taught and did a little entertaining of the students. Later, refreshed from hot water and ready to sleep we chatted for a while longer with Sharon then went to sleep with the tarp gently flapping in the breeze. Someone had mentioned rain…

Editor's Note

My wife and I have been on the road for the past 4 weeks with family functions: Funeral, Bridal Shower, Wedding, taking care of our son's dogs for a week, helping our youngest daughter move, playing golf, going to an award ceremony for the our third oldest daughter where she was presented her 1st degree brown belt, etc. Next weekend we are going to babysit our grandson for 3 or 4 days.

I have gone back to Day 71 (June 23) adding maps and postcards to the Blog.
Postcards for:
Old Faithful Geyser, 6/10/2009 Day 58
Rugby,ND center of North America, 7/9/2009 - Day 87
a North Dakota at Night card, 7/10/2009 - Day 88
and a Mississippi Headwaters card 7/14/2009 - Day 92.

Photos and more...

Hello to all! We're currently taking a break in Port Wing, WI, and have internet access again. If anyone out there following along has taken our picture but haven't had a chance to send it to us we'd love to get a copy to post on the web and keep a copy for ourselves. Also, we'd love to have pictures of the people we've met. So many shots are just of the two of us and the bike (a fun {and funny} sight, well worth a shot we know). We have names we want to keep with faces and since we're the crazy duo out there without a camera we're relying on you all to help pad out our scrap book of the trip. When you get a chance send in a picture of you, maybe something in your town or area. Thanks so much!

Stanley, ND:
Back in Stanely we met up with Kevin Citta on his westward journey to California, here's his blog for those who'd like to find out how he's doing on his adventure... www.kevincitta.blogspot.com.

Minot, ND:
These pictures were taken by Lauren in Minot, ND, while we were getting ready to leave after hiding from the weather for 2 days. We had a lovely morning ride into the sunrise and that lovely tail wind blew us almost all the way to Devil's Lake.


Day 97 Short Short Day

July 19, 2009. Partly Sunny and 70's
South Range, WI to Poplar, WI
11.7 miles
New Award: Least amount of miles ridden on a ridding day.

Our late night chat with Steve turned into an all morning bull session. Around 1pm when we were packed up to leave Steve's girlfriend, Kit, pulled into the drive for their planned day of kayaking. "So, tell me about your trip…" turned into an impromptu alfresco lunch we cobbled together from things on the bike and around the house: Venison stir fry with rice and tossed "everything but iceberg lettuce" salad.

Around 3pm we said goodbye to the kayakers and left for Amnicon Falls State Park where we lounged, wrote in our journals, jumped in the falls (Heather did, Dave knew better… it was cold), and talked extensively with Mike the Park Ranger.

Source: http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/parks/specific/amnicon/

Next came hunger pains and the nearest thing open on Sunday was the Riverside Bar at the corner of Rt. 2 and the turn for the state park. We sat outside ordering a bacon cheese burger pizza with pickles on the side. At the outdoor bar were four aged ladies we dubbed the "Magpies." They entertained us more than they'll ever know as they drank beer after beer. Early on one had invited us to sleep in her yard outside Poplar but we settled for the town ball park we'd heard about seeing as how many beers she consumed we weren't too sure she'd remember why a big gray tarp was set up in her front yard.

The park was quiet and the sun set as we were making up the bed for the night. We fell asleep to the stars warming up in the darkening sky.

Day 96 A new state… WISCONSIN.

July 18, 2009. Cool and cloudy clearing late.
Floodwood, MN to South Range, WI. 70 miles exactly.
A new state… WISCONSIN.

Yet another new state line crossed. We left the campground in Floodwood around 11:30am. The terrain was easy and we crossed through the miles easily. At one point we picked up the Munger Trail toward Duluth. It was a lovely paved bike route but we did need to get off before we actually got to Duluth. Six miles from the end we found ourselves looking at the underside of the road we wanted to be on. Heather climbed the embankment and while she couldn't find a sign for the highway she did notice an intersection on the path further along. That saved us having to push up that incline and lifting the bike over the guardrail.

Once on the road we still didn't know exactly where we were. There was a dense cloud layer so we pulled out the compass. "Can we go wrong if we head east?" asked Heather. Cruising down a long decline Dave replied, "No, but we're not coming back up this hill to fix it." Never fear, we ended up where we needed to be and soon were crossing the Oliver Bridge and into Wisconsin.

Source: http://www.johnweeks.com/river_stlouis/pages/stlL09.html

From the beginning we knew Wisconsin was going to be fun. We were haled from the roof of an apartment complex that looked like it had two apartments and was reported to be a duplex sharing a wall with the town hall. One guy on the roof claimed to be the mayor of Oliver and barked orders from his perch. "Are we in Wisconsin?" They jovially welcomed us to the state though we'd had no inclination we'd entered it. The state sign was a few miles further down the road past the first town. Then the sign for the city of Superior boasting a population of over 27,000 was in the middle of no where, and we kept being welcomed to the "Town of Superior" though there was never a town near the sign. We kept passing bars but being Saturday late, nothing else much was open.

Riding through the "village" of Superior we wound our way through country roads until we found ourselves in South Range at a play ground area. Nothing much seemed to be in town but the blinking arrow of lights down the road suggested a bar. Perhaps food? Before we went off to inspect a guy came bounding across the lane and asked about our trip. We were soon setting up our tarp in Steve's front yard and talking away. We parted for a little while to eat a couple of pizzas at the bar. There was hardly anyone in the bar when we showed up and none were smoking. By the time the second pizza was ready we were surrounded by beer and smoke. Wolfing down the last of the pizza we ran from the bar and walked hand in hand down the road with the last of the sunlight burning through the last of the clouds.

Back at Steve's there were two jewels sitting on the picnic table. Along with crisp apples for desert, Steve came back outside and saved the night. He offered us showers and we washed away the sweat and smoke. We talked until we were all yawning and sleep made us go to bed.


Day 95 Back on the map

Beyond Grand Rapids, MN to Floodwood, MN

Day 94 Beyond the Rainbow??

Bena to beyond Grand Rapids, MN
Not sure where we ended the day.
After thirty miles with the wind at our back we were in Grand Rapids
at a grocery store talking to Kevin who was currently kayaking the
Mississippi alone. We shared a quick meal then left for the library.
The next few hours was spent resting out of the cold wind and rain.
Another trip to the grocery then out of the city to find some place to
stay. Too soon it started to rain. We asked at the next house we came
to and were given a spot of yard but I didn't pay attention to the map
and wasn't sure of the town we were nearest.


Day 93 Chippewa National Forest

Bagley, MN to Bena, MN along RT 2, around 60 miles.
We left Bagley and our new friends in the late afternoon. The wind was blowing 10 to 15mph from the west and we half heatedly considered riding to Grand Rapids, only it was 95 miles away. No amount of tail wind was going to push us that far again. So we settled for a leisurely drive through the Chippewa National Forest. We had hoped for a nice side place to camp except there wasn't anything else around but swampy land and resorts. The mosquitoes were bad enough and we didn't feel like sleeping in a puddle to make it worse. The first campground was $30.00 to camp in a tent and told us the next campground was a ways away. We set out again and found a campground for half the price 100 yards further on. Just for spite I think we decided to camp there for $15.00. Unfortunately the hot shower we were promised lasted about 30 seconds before it ran to lukewarm and another minute before it was cold. The mosquitoes were the worst yet and we started to think that a tent would be better than the tarp and head nets.

Shortly after leaving our friend's place outside of Bagley we were followed by a dog with a collar. He looked friendly but just ran along us for half a mile then got ahead and starting swerving in front of us. Eventually we came to RT. 2 and decided we didn't like the idea of the dog running along with us because it kept dashing into the 2 lanes of traffic beside us. I jumped off the bike and pulled out the leftover half of the old flag pole which had become the new magic wand. The pup came over looking for love and with a lot of regret but for his own sake he got a switch on the rump. He tucked in his tail and blasted back down 2 and never stopped running till he was long down the side road. Source: http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/chippewa/recreation/camping/


Day 92 Itasca State Park

Rest day in Bagley. We connected with an amazing couple through warmshowers and have been enjoying our rest day getting a lift to the headwaters of the Mississippi River and touring through Itasca State Park. Heading out tomorrow into tail winds pushing us eastward. Yeah!


Day 91 Traveling Story Tellers

Erskine, MN to Bagley, MN, around 40 miles. More headwinds, a little cooler.

An earlier than normal day lately. We were saying goodbye by a quarter to 9 and left the grocery store in town just after 9am. Eating a sticky bun (will have to give those up when the trip is done) we were given a terrain report by a local. The old boy relayed that it was only 23 miles to Bagley. A younger guy contested that and said it was much farther. The map said 30 so we took anything else the older man said with a bag of salt. "Well, it's all down hill after Langby!" Riiiiight.

We stopped for lunch in Fosston, MN at the city park. Heather tried to nap but just as she laid down a couple kids began their recess on the squeaky park equipment. When she'd given up hope of sleep it was time for their nap and they left. We got back on the bike and rode to Bagley. Outside of Kubiak's Family Foods while we were enjoying a chocolate malt each, Keith came out. He was a fellow cyclist that owned the store and knew the person we'd met through warmshowers. He loved to talk to cyclists passing through and one he rode lead for a couple of guys who were heading into the wind as the rode out of town.

We pushed off the curb and headed out the last few miles before our break for the day. We zig-zaged a few miles off of Rt 2 and found ourselves at a lovely setting. When I called to let our host know of our ETA we were promoted from camping to sleeping in the spare room but we would have happily camped out in their yard. As soon as we stopped in the drive a pack of dogs barked our arrival. While being inspected our hosts came out to greet us. From there we stood for a half hour or so talking in the drive and just enjoying the feeling of not moving down the road.

Whether we meet cycling enthusiasts through warmshowers.org or random people who never cycle but take us in anyway, we're always taken care of beyond our wildest dreams. The whole evening consisted of talking, then an amazing dinner and more talking, then talking until we just had to go to sleep. We often feel like the old stories tellers that roamed the land, in exchange for a song or story of an amazing adventure we're given food a place to lay our heads. Sometimes we can't wait until our trip is over so that we can repay the favor. For now we try to earn our keep and are making new friends in the process.

Oh, and by the way, we climbed for a mile after Langby and never seemed to come back down!

Day 90 Staying with Mother Goose's Mother - GrandMa Goose

Crookston, MN to Erskine, MN about 30 miles. Head winds, sunny.

In Minnesota not every town that is on the map is actually there. After leaving Crookston in the late morning we cycled for 14 miles hoping to stop at some sort of park bench in Marcoux. Sure the map said there was less than 500 people in the town but there should be a bit of shade and a wind break. At the appointed intersection there were two abandoned houses on either side of the road. The one with the shade had a yard full of bee boxes. We settled for sitting in the broken asphalt drive of the other and waved to traffic as we devoured the cold chicken we'd bought last night but didn't eat because Bruce dazzled us with pork chops in homemade sauce and amazing potato salad. Needless to say but I will, we polished off all the baked beans.

When we stopped in Mentor for a break at a DQ I called a contact from warmshowers. We were trying something new: call them a day ahead of when we'd show up. Schedules on this trip usually result in us pushing ourselves much harder than we wanted to but it was worth a try. Meeting other cyclists has been fun and we thought we'd try more of it since we were getting into a more densely populated area on the warmshowers map. We got a green light to stop in the next day and camp. Today we just had to find a place for the night, which needed to be soon because we were tired from the last three days of riding.

We picked Erskine for the night and quickly found the town park. I had decided that we'd camp behind the giant pike sculpture but it wasn't to be. A mother of a few kids that had been playing in the park's beached water hole decided we needed to be snapped up for the night but they lived 8 miles south of town and it was getting on to 9pm. She came up with an alternative, we were to stay with her mother a few blocks north of town. Grandma Goose was how she was introduced and we never found out her real name. She fed us, we got a warm shower and a nights rest in the yard.


Day 89 "Leisure Day" with a Tail Wind!! 83.5 miles

Saturday, July 11th, 2009
- Start: Michigan, ND
- ATW: Niagara ND, Larimore ND, Emarado ND, Grand Forks ND, East Grand Forks MN, Fisher MN
- End: Crookstown, MN
- Day Miles: 83.5 Ride Time: 6hr 30min

We started our day with sleeping in, then finally packed up and pushed off at 10am. This would be another leisure day. Well, if it wasn't for the tail wind! No matter what we tried we kept being blown further and further along. We made record time to Larimore where we inadvertently entered a bike race. The Dakota Games were racing on part of RT 2 and we slid in behind the cones to stay out of traffic. Needless to say we were passed by everyone.

We had intended to stop early again but in Emarado we had a bit of ice cream around 2pm and were revived. We hoped to connect with someone from warmshowers.org who was from Crookstown, trying to give them a days notice but that silly tail wind sent us flying into Crookstown before we heard back from them. We swung into a grocery store to buy dinner and while Heather was inside Dave talked with Bruce outside. When Heather came out there was a bit more talking and then we headed out to the park in the city to find out about camping.

Just as we got to the park none other than Bruce rolled up behind us and invited us to stay in his yard. We jumped at the chance as the park was in the middle of town and bound to be noisy. We're now relaxing in comfort and enjoying good company and will be ready to sleep tonight after 245 miles in the last three days.

Day 87 Postcard of North Dakoda Sky at Night

This is how Heather would like the postcard to be. Many Many Stars!!

This is what the night sky should really look like.
Source: NASA: Astronomy Picture of the Day