This isn’t much of a travel log, eh?

So I left Wisconsin. 

Crossed the Mississippi into Wabasha and continued to follow the river northwest. Stopped by Lake Pepin for lunch and some attempts to work out where I would stay in Minneapolis. These attempts failed, but I did learn a little about this wide chunk of the river.

St Paul beyond the forest. I neither actually went to St Paul nor thought to take other pictures while in this area.

I spent about two days in Minneapolis. I got myself an excellent lunch at Hard Times Cafe, a vegetarian diner. I rode along some bike paths and went to the sculpture garden. The Grease Pit, their community bike collective, was open that afternoon, and I went there and helped some kids fixing bikes. The staffing people let me come home with them. The next day I rode around a bit more, restocked on food, hung out with my new friends some. I felt a bit anxious while there, and moving on felt like starting over and so I was glad to get on the road again.  

 

extensive bike parking outside one of many food coops in Minneapolis


I followed the Mississippi River (the Great River Road is a marked route along both sides of the river, check it out) until St. Cloud, and then had a pretty straight shot on bike trails for a day and a half. I stopped at an RV campground, which was full even before they officially opened for the season, but the owners set me up on someone’s lawn who has lived there for decades but drives trucks and wouldn’t be home. They asked for $10, and fed me breakfast in the morning. I got a late start out of there and they told me I wouldn’t make Fargo that day, surely, there was still over 100 miles to go. I felt realy good that day, though, emotionally, physically, the wind was going my way… I kept a good pace and easily made Fargo. I wanted to call and tell them, but refrained (refrained is a lie, I called but they didn’t answer)

Sometimes geese stand on the water

Lake Wobegon Trail is all that actually exists of Lake Wobegon I believe

  

Something about the open highway, cars so infrequent they couldn’t possibly get mad about passing me, made me feel really good. This is what a highway looks like in Minnesota.

  

I’m terrible about taking pictures, sorry. I did enjoy my time in Fargo. I stayed with Sarah, who I had shared a bed with for a few days years ago but not until now gotten to realy spend so much time just hanging out with. I felt very welcome here and explored the city for a few days. I met lovely people and helped out at the FMCBW open shop and was drooled on by dogs.

I went back to Minnesota to head north. There were several small towns, I think the biggest I passed through in three days was under 8000 people, and the smallest ones with populations marked on signs were under 50, little farming communities where the wind blew more than a few families to the same place. It was quiet, open, flat, warm and sunny. I need to take better care not to get burnt. Weather Changed when I got into Manitoba, cloudier, a little rain. I had a cool, wet, but very nice couple days in Winnipeg, and set off west through Manitoba.

 

I crossed this winding river many times. On this crossing I noticed first the way the water was flowing around sunken branches, and then saw a car frame on the bank, and then noticed many car frames along the bank. That seemed worth stopping to look at.

  
  

There are hills in Manitoba if you know where to look. The same is true for every other state and privince anyone has told me is “all flat”

  

I had a  rough day going through Riding Mountain. I shouldn’t have, it was beautiful, but physically it was a hard day. My hip hurt when I woke up, and I felt like I was working much harder than normal when I got going. It was one of those struggle down the hills windy days. My legs were sore by the end of the day. The last couple hours weren’t actually bad, I turned and turning is always welcome on days like that. 

My general strategy, for use in climbing long hills, windy days, lonely stretches, etc: Pick a comfortable gear, if there is one, spin and let my mind wander, sing a song, perhaps. Trying to focus to sing through a whole song is a favorite activity. Slow going is ok, everything is more pleasant when patient, enjoy now for now, if possible, and try to ignore it if not.

Clear Lake

  

I’m pretty sure this came from a moose!

    

It is good to take breaks and hike a little

       

I saw a bunch of these in one area

  

Eventually I had a huge decent, flew down for quite some ways ntil I was out of the park. It occurred to me that maybe I was going uphill all day. Hills that you don’t realize you are climbing can be mentally challenging, when you feel like you should be moving more easily.

  

The southern side of the park (or what I went through of it) was mostly pine trees, with some birch and others in there, but when I started going down on the north side I saw few pine.

  

I ended my day in Gilbert Plains, which had a hotel that mostly was a bar and restaurant, and owner, who seemed to have no employees (some people worked the restaurant) was a little surprised to have someonne looking for a room. He asked for $40 and I said that was fine. This isn’t a great picture, but the room made me smile and so I wanted to share.

  

I think Saskatchewan is over there

  

Obviously I’m in Saskatchewan now. Duh.

     

Here are some birds I dont know names for but was able to take pictures of (if from a distance):

   
     

I think I saw a moose. I can’t be sure as it was a ways off the road, eating and partially obscured by a tree.

So now I’m in Saskatoon, and I’m enjoying the visit. I’m staying with another Bike!Bike! friend, Jamal, and meeting many cool people. 
For anyone keeping track at home, Ive got a few things to add to the list of stuff I’ve lost or broken: I took the cap off my water bottle and neglected to screw it back on, so it bounced off somewhere back in Minnesota. I tore one of my big panniers, but along a seam-it wasn’t unusable, and I’ve repaired it now. When I went to repair my flat the other day I had to switch my pump around to work with presta valve, I’d meant to set the bike up with schrader but haven’t gotten around to it… and dropped one of the important small pieces. I searched a while and eventually gave up. The hardware store in town helped me out fixing the flat then, and I have replaced the piece now. and then yesterday II was out riding around with new friends and went inside and the little computer that tells me how far I go was snagged. This is unfortunate, though not too impairing, and I’m sure unprofitable for whoever took it. They could have at least had the decency to take the rest of the parts that would make it useful for someone. I know, don’t leave things out if you want them to be there when you get back…I’m not complaining, just saying.

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2 Responses to This isn’t much of a travel log, eh?

  1. Joan Gaslowitz says:

    Great post! I like the short, short, short, short, long-with-pictures-and-commentary postings that you have been doing. Somethings don’t become apparent until a day or two later.
    The animal (alpaca? llama?) before the bird photos looks as though it is losing its winter coat. And was nice and warm during the long winter!
    Sending hugs and kisses.

    • aryng says:

      It came up to the fence when I stopped, and we stared at each other a while. After a bit a horse there came over, too, but she soon seemed confused and agitated by the lack of interesting interaction actually happening. They were both hesitant to look away, maybe I had something for them… Eventually we all went back to what we’d been doing before.

thoughts?

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