TRIP 2015

Update #11 - June 15th
Bemidji, Minnesota
3,696.58 miles (5,914.54 KM) - Year Total

June 03 : Dodgeville, WI to Prairie du Chien, WI : 66.09 miles (105.74 km)
Trip Total: 3,155.27 miles (5,048.43 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. I left the motel around 7:20 am. There wasn't any breakfast so I stopped at a MCDs. The ride to Fennimore went okay being that I had to deal with a lot of wind. The wind was coming from the South/Southeast. The wind gusted up to around 25 mph. There were a couple of times that I felt myself being pushed off the paved shoulder onto the dirt part of the shoulder. I got into the Eastern edge of Fennimore by noon. Even with the strong winds, I got 28 miles in by noon.
br /> I stopped at a gas station for a light lunch. I was sort of concerned about the winds and the weather. The sky was clouding up and there was some indication that it was going to rain. I was torn that keeping on going or trying to connect with a local minister. I rode around town for about a half hour. I didn't find that many churches so around 1:15 pm I headed out to Prairie du Chien.

The ride West went okay. Traffic was light except for farm equipment. I got a herd of guernsey cows scattered about a field to line up along a front fence by mooing at them. I stopped for a break at a gas station in Patch Grove. Just passed Patch Grove, the long downhill coast off of the plateau into the Mississippi River Valley started. I had to watch my speed. The coast was about 5 miles long to the Wisconsin Rover. There was a slight climb up to the unincorporated town of Bridgeport and then the coast down to Prairie du Chien started. Before starting the last coast, I had to stop at a gas station in Bridgeport to wait out a brief rain shower. The sky was overcast and you could see rain falling in the distance.

Riding through town, I saw a loaded bicycle in front of a McDs. I went to find the owner. The guy was from Canada and he had started two weeks ago from Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He was going to ride to California. I talked with him for about ten minutes. The guy told me that there were going to be thunderstorms during the late night.

Being that it was Wednesday night, I was thinking about trying to find an evening service at a church but I didn't find that many churches. It took a while but I found the courthouse where the police and sheriff stations were. Through a ministerial program a voucher for a room at a local motel was obtained.

I'll be starting my ride up the Mississippi River tomorrow.

June 04 : Prairie du Chien, WI to Lansing, IA : 33.63 miles (53.81 km)
Trip Total: 3,188.90 miles (5,102.24 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. I went to bed around 10 pm and slept through the whole night till around 5 am without having to wake up and go to the restroom. Turning on the room heater and making the room warm. Being across the street from a busy railroad wasn't a hassle. There wasn't a breakfast provided so before it got dark last night I went to the gas station next door and bought a bottle of milk and some day old reduced price donuts. I left the motel around 7:20 am. It was warm enough that I didn't have to put on my jacket.

The guy from Canada on tour who I met last night passed me about 19 miles North of Prairie du Chien. He was pushing on to Lansing where he would have lunch and then keep on riding to Decorah. I gave him some information about his ride for today. I was able to ride through the bluffs area all the way without having to walk Alice by getting down into my Granny gears. I was able to watch a towboat pushing six barges North leave the locks about 10 miles South of Ferryville.

I had some neat encounters with wild animals. A couple of miles out of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, I come across a really little raccoon rambling about by itself along the edge of the road shoulder. It must have been just a couple of weeks old. It didn't have any sense to run and hide in the grass. I didn't get too close to it because it looked like it was ill by the way it was stumbling. I tried calling animal control but my cell phone didn't work.

About 7 miles from the raccoon encounter, I came across a woodchuck (groundhog) that was in a tree munching on leaves. I had stopped in front of it. It was just sitting in the tree and using one of it's front paws to hang onto a branch. I was trying to carefully get my camera out of my back pocket when it stopped munching leaves, gave me a startled look, dropped out of the tree, and then scampered up the mountainside.

Four more miles later, I had a young deer come out of the woods in front of me. There wasn't any place where it could go West being that there was a slight drop off at the edge of the highway, a railroad track, a narrow patch of swampy land, and the Eastern edge of the Mississippi River. I stopped for a bit several hundred meters South of it and watched it for a few minutes before it turned around and leaped back into the woods that it had come out of.

Coming out of the small town of Ferryville, Wisconsin, I had a red crested woodpecker swoop down to the ground to the side of me and then fly back into some trees.

The walk across the Singing Bridge over the Mississippi River went okay. Traffic was light and they were courteous. There was a banner at the state sign saying that there was a chicken dinner at the Methodist church tonight. After a short lunch break at a gas station, I walked over to the church. People were preparing for the meal. I was able to call up my friend who lives at an assisted living center on the Western edge of town. She couldn't come down to meet me because she was suffering from what she learned as being the flu. The pastor of the church came by around 3:00 pm. He remembered me from last year and told me that it was okay for me to stay in the church for the night.

The chicken dinner was pretty good. My friend had paid for my ticket. I helped get things cleaned up and put away afterwards.

Tomorrow, I start my trek up the Mississippi River towards Minneapolis, Minnesota.

June 05 : Lansing, IA to Dakota, MN : 54.33 miles (86.93 km)
Trip Total: 3,243.23 miles (5,189.17 km)

I had an okay night at the church. The chicken dinner was pretty good and so were the deserts. It's too bad that I wasn't able to see my friend. She was in her apartment at the assisted living center at the western edge of town with a bad case of the flu. After the meal was over, I helped in the process of taking down some tables and putting the chairs away.

Everybody left around 8:30 pm so I had the church to myself. I kept Alice in the Sanctuary. I got the downstairs warm and there was a pillow and a blanket to use. I went to bed around 10 pm. I woke up around 4:30 am.

I left the church around 6:45 am. On the way out of town, I stopped to get some milk at a gas station. The ride north on IA 26 went okay. IA 26 is part of the MRT (Mississippi River Trail). About a mile out of New Albin, I met up with a guy on a bike heading South. I wasn't sure if he was on tour or not. He didn't have any camping gear. There were rear panniers and a trunk bag. The guy quickly went passed before I was able to get his attention.

In New Albin, I rode over to the other Methodist Church that Pastor Smith took care of. He told me that was in bad repair and it was. The stucco was coming off of the walls. It looks like the people who had built the church in the early 1900s didn't put anything in place to keep the stucco in place like chicken wire or pieces of metal connected to the brick wall. There was a huge hole in one of the side walls and it looked like the stucco was going to fall down in other places. There are only 12 active members having church in a building that could seat 300 people. During the Winter, Pastor Smith told me that they have to meet in some leased space. Pastor Smith told me that the church had enough money thirty years ago to tear the building down and rebuild it but they decided to just keep on putting patches on the problem.

From the church it was probably a half mile's ride to the MN state line. The ride North on MN 26 went okay. There was a bit of a tailwind to push me along so I was able to get in 32 miles before noon. I didn't see as much wildlife as I saw yesterday. I only saw one deer. There weren't that many ground squirrels either. I stopped to watch some guys load up some containers that were on a barge with concrete. They were building a new railroad bridge.

A couple of miles South of LaCrescent I got on MN 16. I stopped at a gas station in LaCrescent for some lunch.

After lunch, I had some problems. I was supposed to take US 14/ US 61 North to where the I-90 bridge crossed the Mississippi River to LaCrosse, Wisconsin and then take a bike path for a couple of miles to where I can get on US 61 beyond the interstate. The MRT was closed at the I-90 bridge. The bridge was under some serious repair. It was being retrofitted because it was the same construction as the interstate bridge that collapsed into the Mississippi at Minneapolis. I had to backtrack a couple of miles into LaCrescent. I stopped at a gas station to see if anybody knew of an alternate route. Nobody really came up with an idea. I was thinking that I was going to have to cross the River and go into LaCrosse and try my way North but after talking to a local police officer, I found out that there was an alternate route that took me up to the top of a ridge.

Once I got across US 14, I saw that there was indeed an alternate route. There should have been better signage near the closed section of the MRT route. The alternate route took me up Elm street which turned into Winona County 1. Before starting the big climb, I stopped at a Methodist Church because I saw a car there. The secretary was in but the pastor was on vacation. The secretary didn't think that I could stay in the church because they were starting vacation bible school. The nearest Methodist church was in the town of Dakota to the North about 7 miles. I got permission to stay in the church in Dakota for the night.

The climb up to the top of the ridge was pretty steep. I was able to ride over half of it and then I got off and walked Alice the rest of the way. Once on top, I had a tailwind to push me along. County Road 1`ended at County Road 12. The alternate MRT route turned Westward on the way to Nodine and then cross I-90 and come to US 61 North of the Great River Bluffs State Park. I took County Road 12 East and it was a steep two mile coast down to Dakota.

I got to the church in Dakota around 5:30 pm. The front door was open and there was a cot waiting for me downtstairs in the basement fellowship hall. I wheeled Alice to the back door to get her inside for the night.

I shouldn't have any problem getting on US 61 to go North to Winona.

June 06 : Dakota, MN to Lake City, MN : 79.18 miles (126.29 km)
Trip Total: 3,322.41 miles (5,315.86 km)

I had an okay night at the church.

June 07 : Lake City, MN to Hastings, MN : 46.48 miles (74.37 km)
Trip Total: 3,368.48 miles (5,390.22 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. It started to rain around 4 am and it lasted till around 6 am. I got on the road around 7:30 am. The ride along the rest of Lake Pepin went okay. At Frontenac Station, the highway turned away from the Lake and went around Frontenac State Park. I thought that I was making good time into Red Wing but on the Southern edge of Red Wing the front tire went soft. I found a piece of steel belt tire wire. I was able to put a patch over the hole and I got the bike rolling again in twenty minutes.

I got into downtown Red Wing around 10:10 am. Several of the churches's services were already over because they started at 9 am. The Methodist Church service was almost over. I saw a sign on one of the doors of the Episcopal church saying that they were having an outdoor service in the park across the street. The service was for the DCE who was leaving to go somewhere else. During a break in the service, I got to meet the rector. He was just the interim / transition rector. There was supposed to be a meal afterwards. When I talked to the rector after the service, he told me that they didn't allow people to stay the night in the church. He didn't really have any other ideas. He suggested to see if the Methodist minister was still at his church across the street from the park.

When I went over to the church, I found out that the pastor was away. Some of the elders had put on the service. When I asked if there was a way that I could possibly stay in the church for the night, the elders who were there were really unfriendly. They told me to move on. I went around to check out some other churches to see if anybody was still there. I found some activity at the ELCA Church. I talked with the assistant pastor. He seemed friendly and he told me that I could possibly stay in the sr high youth room for the night. The only thing was that the opening session of their vacation Bible school was going to start. The assistant pastor took me over to meet the sr pastor. The sr pastor wasn't as friendly. He told me that there was no way that I could spend the night because of the vacation bible school and a funeral tomorrow. I was told that there was some program that could be reached through the Catholic church but I didn't think about going to find that church.

I went back to the park. The meal was still going on. I talked to the rector again and I told him what had happened since I last talked to him. He told me again that there was nothing that he could do. After eatinh, I decided to go on and head out. I had to take my time getting out of town because there was road construction on US 61. There was a paved bike trail but I didn't really know where it had went and there was a sign that you had to pay to ride on the path.

Going North out of Red Wing, US 61 climbed up to the top of the valley. It was a steady climb but I was able to ride up it without stopping. There was a bit of a tail wind to push me along. About 11 miles out Hastings, the MRT switched over to County Road 316. The ride along this highway went quickly because there were quite a few spots where it was downhill.

I got into downtown Hastings around 6:30 pm. There was a lot of activity going on. Across the street, there had been a fire in the attic of a school that had been converted into an apartment building. The tenants were milling about talking to Red Cross volunteers who were there to try and find them temporary housing. I talked with a police officer. He told me that the minister who was the department chaplain had left about 20 minutes ago but he had his phone number. I got to talk with the minister. He told me that he could possibly help me but it would take a little while because he was in the middle of something. I was told to wait around the police station. I talked with some guys from the Salvation Army who had an emergency canteen. They told me that I could pack up some snacks and gatorades and take them with me. The police officer that I talked to came to find me because he told me that the chaplain had called over to a motel that I had passed coming into town and got me a room there. I got to the motel a few minutes before it started to rain really hard.

I'll be riding through the Minneapolis/ St Paul area tomorrow. I'm 266 miles away from Bemidji.

June 08 : Hastings, MN to Anoka, MN : 65.81 miles (105.03 km)
Trip Total: 3,434.70 miles (5,495.42 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. The rain storm didn't last that long and then the sky cleared up again. I fell asleep around 10 pm and I slept till about 4:30 am. There was just juice and pastry for breakfast. I left the motel around 7:30 am. I backtracked into the downtown area and I almost clear across a big bridge but I realized that this was the Mississippi River. I checked my map and saw that US 61 was going to be restricted access in about five miles. I needed to find a route that was on the west side of the River. I looked for signs telling me about the MRT route but I didn't see any. I thought that I saw a path along the River below me but it looked like there was indications that it was closed.

I backtracked a mile and I turned West on MN 55. There was a climb out of the River valley. MN 55 connected with US 52 which was a busy four lane divided highway. I stopped at a truckstop for a break. After the break, I spotted a bike sign on the way back to US 52. I found the MRT. According to a map, I could have picked it up in Hastings. The path followed a ridge line to Inner Grove Heights. Eventually, the path rejoined a road. I stopped at a Walmart to buy a low cost headlight because the rechargeble headlight system doesn't work. I stopped at a MCDs for an early lunch. It took a little bit of navigating to find the bike path that took me into South St Paul. The path went over a train yard and then it joined a road. I followed the road to the Wasbasha Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River. The bridge was under repair but the walkway was separate from the road and it was open.

In the downtown St Paul area, I walked passed the Fitzgerald Theatre where Garrison Keeler performs the Prairie Home Companoin radio show on NPR. I kept on Washasha to the MN state capitol. The Southern side of the capitol was under repair. I turned West on University Avenue. For most of the way along University Avenue, I rode the sidewalk because there was no shoulder. The road was split into two parts by the Green Line of the lightrail. I kept on University Ave. passed the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. I stopped at a bike shop to see if somebody knew where the MRT was but nobody knew there. They had a big map but it wasn't really that helpful. Eventually, I found my way North out of Minneapolis through the help of a bicycle messenger.

I was able to find the MRT but the routing was confusing because there were not that many signs. I had a bit of a confusing ride through the county park bike path system to Fridley. On the way, I got to witness to a muslim family who asked me to take a couple of pictures of them.

I eventually got into downtown Anoka. Right before dusk, I found a paved bike path along a River that I hoped was the Mississippi. I thought that I had seen some MRT signs through the area. Around 9 pm, I come across some woods along the river. I found a place to camp out away from the bike path. It was just a really long day. It wouldn't have been that hard of a day if only people had a better understanding of their surroundings and knew where things were. They were just to compartable in their views.

June 10 : Elk River, MN to St Cloud, MN : 48.41 miles (77.46 km)
Trip Total: 3,512.98 miles (5,620.77 km)

I had a decent night at the church but my legs (especially the right one was cramping out). The sofa that I slept on was short and I must not have drank enough fluids last night. I took half of the gear off of Alice in the elevator and I was able to get Alice without much problem.

I got on the road around 6:30 am. There was a bike path to ride along and then I rode a long time on county roads to Clearwater. There was some wind but it wasn't that bad. I stopped at a gas station for a break. I found three dimes in a dried up mud puddle. I was able to make 30 miles in by noon. Coming into Clearwater, I saw a cyclist in front of me on a loaded down bicycle but I wasn't able to meet up with them because they crossed through an intersection with a stoplight. I was a half block away when I saw them speed off to the North of me.

I stopped at a BK for some lunch. As I was eating this guy stopped at my table and slipped me a folded up twenty dollar bill. He wanted me to say some prayers for a sister who was diagnosed with colon cancer.

After lunch, the ride North went okay. I rode through St Augusta. At the Southern edge of St Cloud, I stopped at a McDs for an ice cream cone break. Once back on the MRT, I rode along the Beaver Island Trail. The trail was several miles long. Every mileage sign said "half mile /.8 km". After the bike trail, I rode through the Univ of St Cloud. The MRT then took me through the historic side of St Cloud.

It was around 4:30 pm when I got into the old south side. I saw some cars at the First Presbyterian Church. Even though I had bad luck finding a compassionate minister in towns over 8,000. I decided to stop. The pastor was really friendly and interested in what I was doing. He told me that he wanted to do something special for me and he offered to get me a room at the Comfort Inn across the River. Before I left the church, the pastor took some pictures of me and told me that he was going to put an article about me in the next month's edition of the church newsletter.

There are supposed to be storms tomorrow but it sounds like the worse part of the storm is going to be South of the Twin Cities. I shouldn't have any problem with rain till mid afternoon. I'm looking at stopping in Little River tomorrow.

June 11 : St Cloud, MN to Little Falls, MN : 38.71 miles (61.94 km)
Trip Total: 3,551.69 miles (5,682.70 km)

I had a pretty good night at the Comfort Inn. The plus was the guest laundry with a $.75 washer and a $.75 drier. I really needed to get my clothes washed.

I got on the road a little before 8 am. The temperature was cool and the sky was cloudy. There was a prediction of storms coming through the area. The rain was really strong in the Twin Cities area and in the South of the state. They were talking about at least an inch of rain starting sometime in mid afternoon. The skies to the South didn't look that dark.

I backtracked across the Mississippi River and headed North on the MRT. The MRT headed through a park near the River. There were a lot of mother mallard ducks with a large clutch of duckings. I had to wait for this mother duck take her eight ducklings get across the street into the River. After the park the MRT followed local roads for a ways and then it crossed over the River to sauk Rapids. The signeage was pretty bad. I was supposed to take this spiraling ramp down to the River but I went around the block to find a road that went across a railroad track.

About five miles down the road, the MRT recrossed the River again to the West Side. The route went through Sartell. I got into the Rice area around 11 am. I decided to take an early lunch break. After the break, I recrossed the River again and headed North on the Great River Road. I got 22 miles in by noon.

The afternoon ride was a little slower. I bumped into a couple of elderly people from either Britain or Canada who had started from Bemidji and were riding to Minneapolis. I gave them some pointers of the route Southwards. They told me that the signeage along the route wasn't that good as I had expected. My ride was a little slow because of some bad signs and road construction.

I surely had some road angels today. I had a breakdown that I couldn't fix by myself. I thought that I was making some good progress yesterday but at the 37 mile (59 km) mark from St Cloud, Minnesota I noticed that the drive side (right) pedal was feeling kind of funny. The drive side is where the chain rings are. I was feeling a weird vibration through my right shoe. On some recumbents, you have to install a pedal extender that goes between the crank arm and the pedal. Normally, the shaft is about 10 cm long. You screw it into the hole of the crank arm and you screw the pedal into it. It allows you to use a wider pedal so you have a bigger platform for your shoes.

The pedal extender seemed to be a little loose and it felt that it was wobbling some. I tried to tighten it but no matter which direction I turned it with my adjustable wrench nothing seemed to work. I thought that something was wrong with the threading in the crank arm. The crank arm is made out of aluminum. I tried using super glue and trying to stabilize it with black electric tape. It seemed to be tight. I got down several hundred meters when the pedal extension got more loose. When I took all of the tape off, I found out that all of the threads were gone. All there were was aluminum shavings. It was a smooth hole.

The drive crank is an original piece on Alice so it has 75,548.19 miles (120,877.10 km) on it. I was hoping to replace the crank set and front chain rings over the Winter but I couldn't raise enough funds to do it. The only thing that I could do was to wrap it up again with more black electrical tape. and try to just walk it into Little Falls and hope that there was somebody there who could help me.

I got maybe a quarter mile down the road when this lady in a small van offered to take me into Little Falls. She saw my sign and she said that she wanted to help me. It was about a 3 mile (5 km) mile ride into town. The first stop was a small bike shop. There There were quite a few recumbents in the shop for sale or rent. The owner came out to check out the problem. He told me that he couldn't do any welding at his shop. He also didn't have a used drive crank on hand that might work. A new part would take three days to arrive.

We were given directions to a shop where welding was done. The guy told me that he was great with steel welding but he didn't do aluminum welding. We were then given directions to another shop a couple of kms North of town that did do aluminum welding. I had hoped that the pedal extender could be welded to the crank but it was made out of steel.

The owner of this shop told me that he could repair it a different way. He would fasten the pedal extender by adding steel to the shaft of the pedal extender and then fasten it to the crank by welding a steel washer to it in essence making a steel, aluminum, steel sandwich. This repair is supposed to be stronger than the aluminum threads. When I asked what the charge was, I was told that there was no charge. The repair took about 20 minutes.

The lady who helped me get to the shop told me to wait for her because she wanted to help me find a place to spend the night. She had to go pick up her younger children from daycare and take them back home where her 12 year old would babysit them. There was still a chance for rain last night. She came back to tell me that her husband was coming by with his truck. He was a National Guardsman at nearby Camp Ridley and he was just getting off the base.

When her husband came by, we loaded Alice and my gear and we headed back into town. He told me that they would like to get me some supper and a room at a local motel. We stopped at KFC for a take-out meal and we then went over to the Super 8 motel.

June 12 : Little Falls, MN to Pequoit Lakes, MN : 62.47 miles (99.95 km)
Trip Total: 3,614.16 miles (5,782.66 km)

I had a pretty good night at the Super 8 motel. The area didn't get any of the hard rains that hit the Southern part of the state. I wished that I could have gotten the address of my road angels from yesterday. I would have liked to send them a thank you card from the road.

My muscles were a little sore but not as bad as they were in the past couple of days. At least there was an exit nearby. I just had to take make several trip up five steps to get my things out the side door. I went across the parking lot to a grocery store to get a few things. It was around 9 am when I headed out from the grocery store. I had to use my ipod to find out the time because the battery in my wristwatch died. I guess I'm going to have to find another wristwatch. I've got to still wear the wristwatch becayse I don't want to expose the untanned skin below it without being able to cover it up with another watch.

I rode into the downtown area so I could find the MRT. The MRT took a winding route through neighborhoods. On the way, I stopped to check out a garage sale. Most of the stuff was antiques. The elderly couple were trying to get rid of some of their collections. They had a large collection of antique bread toasters. They also had apple pealers and nut crackers. There was also an antique tricycle with metal wheels.

As I was getting ready to leave, this guy on a loaded touring bike went past but I was able to stop him so we could talk. He had started a couple of days ago at the start of the Mississippi River at Lake Ithasca and was heading South to the Gulf of Mexico. I told him about the problems that I encountered. We talked for about 15 minutes.

North of Little Falls, the MRT got on county roads. I rode passed the National Guard training center Camp Ridley where the guy from last night is based at where he teaches. North of Camp Ridley, the MRT got on MN 371. It was a divided 4 lane highway with a paved shoulder. I rode along the busy highway with traffic buzzing past me at 65 mph. I probably got in 21 miles by noon.

About 8 miles South of Brainerd, I stopped at the rest stop. I sat at one of the picnic tables for some lunch. There was a statue of Paul Bunyan. The MRT turned Westward off of MN 371 into the Crow Wing State Park. This was the new Southern Terminus of the Paul Bunyan State Trail. I'll be taking it North to Bemidji. The first 4 miles were tricky with a lot of winding curves.

Passed the state park, the Trail crossed over the Mississippi River into Baxter. I hit a road closure and there were no signs telling people of an alternate route. I had to do some guesswork to find the trail again. The MRT turned Eastwards and it crossed the Mississippi River again in Brainerd. Once in the downtown area, I got lost. There were no signs for either the Paul Bunyan or the MRT. On the way out of town, I found the MRT again. I had to stop at a gas station to put a new innertube in the back tire. While filling the front tire, I noticed that there is a sidewall cut forming. I've got to be careful with the tire. It's got to last till at least Bemidji. The front tire needs to be replaced anyway because it has nearly 3,000 miles on it and there is a flat spot in the tread.

At the gas station, I was able to get on the Paul Bunyan Trail website. I had to travel up MN 3 to Merrifield and then I would be able to get back on the Paul Bunyan Trail. It was about a 10 mile ride to Merrifield. It was probably 7:30 pm when I headed out of Merrifield on the Paul Bunyan. About a couple of miles out of Merrifield, I crossed path with a local guy who was riding a Vision recumbent. This was a really weird recumbent because it had 26 inch wheels. The guy sat in a weird position with his feet almost above his head and he had to strain over the handlebar that had a swivel. The recumbent is no longer made. It was from a closed down manufacturer in Seattle.

I rode through the town of Nisswa. It was too late to check out anything much. I did stop to talk to a lady who was eating at a picnic table. She had a Sun recumbent on the back of her van. It was a mid-size model.

About six more miles down the road, I came to the rest area that was provided by the Grace United Methodist church. It was a fenced in area in the back of their property. There was a picnic shelter with tables and some benches. It was almost dusk and I didn't want to go any farther. The area was sort of hidden from sight by some bushes. There was plenty of open space where I could pitch my tent. The only problem was that there were a lot of mosquitoes because there wasn't much of a breeze. I had to put on my jacket. It was really tricky pitching the tent and getting all of my gear inside of it without getting a lot of mosquitoes inside the tent. I had to track down and kill a little over a dozen mosquitoes that were inside my tent. I also had to check my clothes and body for ticks. I found three ticks but none of them had clamped down on me. Instead of just sleeping on top of my sleeping bag, I'm going to have to get into it for a change.

I'm not sure how far, I'll travel tomorrow. I'm a little over 60 miles away from Bemidji. I might just go halfway to the town of Walker. I stopped in the town before. Maybe, I'll get lucky and find a bike shop there. I'm 44 miles away from passing the 244,000 mile mark.

June 13 : Pequoit Lakes, MN to Nary, MN : 71.92 miles (115.07 km)
Trip Total: 3,686.08 miles (5,797.93 km)

I had a pretty good night camping out. I was surprised that my legs weren't cramped. It was a little after 5 am when I woke up and around 6:20 am when I got back on the trail. The ride North went okay. I took an extended lunch break at the picnic shelter at the town park in so I could charge up my electronics and get the journal done from yesterday. Because of the extra long break, I only got 16 miles in by noon.

In Pine River, I went over to check out a building where somebody had fastened old bicycles to the wall. I thought that it might have been a bike shop but it was just a thrift store. The trail surface got really bad after Pine River. There were a lot of cracks and bad patching. After about two miles, I had enough. I kept on noticing the paved shoulder on US 371. I switched over. The ride was much better. About seven miles south of Walker, I would have gotten on MN 371 anyway.

I got into Walker around 5:30 pm. The town's population was under 1000. It was a tourist town along Leech Lake. The town was busy because of a fishing tournament. There were quite a few high prized chain motels. The downtown area was pretty built up with stores and restaurants. I was surprised at seeing no churches.

I happened to bump into the police chief. He was getting a take out meal at a downtown restaurant. He told me that the churches were mostly out in the country and he didn't know how to contact any of the ministers. His sugggestion was for me to get back on the bike trail. The way he said it was like he was asking me to leave town. The town is on the edge of an indian reservation. If you didn't have any money to spend, they didn't want you to be around.

I got back on the trail around 6:20 pm. I had forgotten that I had needed to fill up my water bottles. I was able to catch the general store owner in Benedict before he closed the store around 7 pm. The ride along the trail was okay. I pushed in the miles so I wouldn't have far to ride into Bemidji.

It was almost dusk when I finally found some woods that weren't private property where I could camp out in. I was about 6 miles out of Bemidji.

June 14 : Nary, MN to Bemdji, MN : 10.51 miles (16.82 km)
Trip Total: 3,696.58 miles (5,914.54 km)

I had a pretty good night camping out after I killed almost 30 mosquitoes that had gotten into my tent. I went to bed around 10:45 am and I woke up around 5 am to some light drizzle on my tent. I was expecting to have to wait a while for the rain to stop but there wasn't any. Instead of loading up everything onto Alice and tnen struggle to get the loaded back onto the trail, I portaged everything onto the trail.

It was around 6:30 am when I headed down the trail. It was about a 7 mile ride into Bemidji. I stopped at a grocery store to use the restroom and to get some breakfast. From the grocery store it was a couple of mile ride into downtown Bemidji. I rode around the downtown area a bit to kill some time and to also take pictures of the art.

I decided to stop at the First Presbyterian Service. The service started around 10 am. People started to show up around 9 am. They were going to have a potluck after the service. I got to meet the lady minister before the service. In the sanctuary, several older ladies came by to talk with me. One of the ladies told me that she had taken a three month trip in Europe on bike in 1950 with her first husband. Towards the end of the service, the pastor introduced me and I got to speak a few words. After the service during the potluck, the lady who told me about her bike trip sat with me. Afterwards, she invited me over to stay with her. She had a bedroom and bathroom downstairs. I followed her to her house across the street from the university.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between June 22nd and June 29th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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