So I left Wisconsin.
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.
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)
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 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.
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.