TRIP 2010

Update #20 - July 27th
International Falls, Minnesota
4.994.91 miles (7,991.86 KM)

Twelfth update for the trip.

Today was a pretty interesting day. I added a ride through a province of Canada to my trip. Between Baudette and International Falls, Minnesota, there was road construction because they were replacing culverts. The detour for vehicles was going to be almost 130 miles. For me, this wouldn't have been an option since I would have just headed south from Baudette and rode south to US 2 and took it to Duluth missing out on seeing International Falls.

During the past two days before this one, I was told that the easiest thing for me to do was to cross into Ontario, Canada at Baudette and then enter the country again at Ft. Francis, Ontario, Canada / International Falls. The problem was that I don't have a new passport. I haven't seen a need to have one since I emigrated to the United states from (West) Germany back in 1979. I was told that as long as I had a photo ID when I return to the States from Canada I would just have to go into the customs office and fill out a form. I verified this yesterday afternoon when I got into Baudette.

After spending a good night with the family of one of the Lutheran Churches in Baudette. I rode over to US Customs. I went inside to verify that it wouldn't be hard for me to get back into the USA in International Falls. I was told that MN 11 was open to traffic but there were long sections of the pavement torn out to the dirt and some culvert repair. The ride would have been at least 71 miles to International Falls and at least 12 miles longer. There would have been fewer towns for me to go through and stop in if I had to in case of bad weather. They did a background check on me. I was given a exit pass. One of the custom (Homeland Security) officers went out and he checked out everything on the bike. I took pretty well everything out of the panniers except for the back Ortlieb panniers. He was amazed at how much I could pack up in the panniers.

It took about a half hour to finish up my screening by the Homeland Security personnel and for me to ride over the wooden sidewalk on the bridge over to the Canadian Customs. It took me over an hour to get through Customs because they had to call over to Ft. Francis, Ontario, Canada to do another background check on me. Because I didn't have a passport, I got an entry certificate for 48 hours since they thought I might have to stop some place overnight because they were expecting bad weather. The sky was overcast.

It was around 9:30 AM when I headed out from Canadian Customs and started my ride through the southern section of Ontario. The ride on ONT 11 went okay but there was four places of road construction. One had a detour through the small town of Rainy River. The other two were repaving and the last one was bridge work. The highway was a little rough in places and the shoulder was a little narrow. There was a tailwind to push me along so I averaged around 11 mph. I still was able to make 33 miles by noon time. I rode through the small towns of Rainy River, Pinewood, Stratton, Barwick, Emo, Devin, and La Valles. I rode through a couple of Native American (First Nation) reservations. I took a couple of breaks along the way. In the afternoon, I pushed it because I heard on the radio, that the area was under a tornado watch. There was a possible band of thunderstorms coming from Manitoba.

I got into Ft. Francis, Ontario, Canada around 4:30 PM. I stopped at Canadian customs to turn in my entrance pass. It was a short ride across the bridge over the Rainy River to US Customs. Entry back into the country was pretty quick. I didn't have to fill out a form. All I had to do is go inside and show my state id card and my copy of my naturalization paper. I didn't have anybody check my bike out. I was out to my bike by five minutes.

It was around 5:30 PM when I started my ride through International Falls to see if anybody was around the churches. I found a couple of ladies in the office of the Episcopal Church. They didn't have a full-time minister. I rode a block to the law enforcement center. The officer that I talked to was pretty friendly. He said that it wouldn't be a problem for me to get a room at a local motel through the Salvation Army.

Tomorrow, I'm starting my ride to Duluth. I'll be riding south on US 53 and maybe stop in the small town of Orr (241) or go on to the small town of Cook (591). It would take me at least two more days to ride to Duluth.

From Duluth, I will be riding US 2 in northern Wisconsin to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. After my ride through both peninsulas of Michigan, I'm going to riding through the north section of Ohio and then ride to the G.A.P. (Great Appalachian Passage Bike Trail) in Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. I really want to ride the G.A.P. again and also the C&O Towpath maybe toW ashington, D.C. I did that in 2008 but I didn't have a digital camera back then. I'm not sure what route I will be taking between Washington, DC and Americus, Georgia. I'll be going through Springfield, Georgia since I've got an invite from a chaplain that works with a truck stop ministry.

I'll try and add a new update every two weeks along the way so the next one will be around August 10th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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