TRIP 2015

Update #12 - June 26th
Cherokee, Iowa
4,330.12 miles (6,928.19 KM) - Year Total

I am changing my plans. I was going to end Trip Leg 4 in Macedonia, Iowa and then turn West across Nebraska to Eastern Colorado. Several days ago there was an EF3 tornado that hit the Coal City/ Diamond communities in Eastern Illinois. I'll be heading there to see if there is something that I could do with the rebuilding effort.

June 16 : Bemidji, MN to Bagley, MN : 29.84 miles (47.74 km)
Trip Total: 3,726.43 miles (5,962.29 km)

I had a pretty good night at Betty's house. I quietly got Alice packed up around 6:30 am. Betty got up around 7 am. We had breakfast together and she gave me a GH. After pictures were taken, I got on the road around 7:30 am. The temperature was cool in the 50s so I got out my jacket.

It was a couple mile ride to US 2. The ride West went okay on US 2 except for this construction zone because they had put concrete barriers on both sides of the traffic lane. I'm glad that there wasn't that many vehicles behind me when I tried to zip through the zone. I got the first 20 miles in by 10 am.

I got into Bagley around 11 am. I stopped at the Faith Lutheran Church. The pastor was out till around 3 pm. I was invited in to wait. I was told that there was a free lunch at another ministry called Lighthouse. It was a free restaurant. The meal was soup, sandwich, and dessert.

The pastor came back to the church around 2:30 pm. She offered to get me a room at the motel on the West end of town. The church was owned by a member of the church. Before I left the church, she slipped me a small GH and also invited me out to her house for some supper.

June 17 : Bagley, MN to Crookston, MN : 67.41 miles (107.86 km)
Trip Total: 3,793.84 miles (6,070.14 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. It would have been a better night if the room was closer to the office so I could get on the motel wifi network and I didn't have to ask for a portable heater for the room.
< br /> I got on the road around 7:30 am. It was a little cool so I had to wear my jacket for a little bit. I stopped at a grocery store in Fosston for a short break and to get a few things. The rest of the morning went okay. There was a bit of a tailwind and because there weren't that many hills I was cruising. I got almost 31 miles in by noon. I stopped at a roadside rest for a short lunch break.

The afternoon ride went okay. It was warm enough to take off my jacket. I pushed in as many miles as I could every hour.

I got into Crookston around 4:20 pm. I found some cars at the ELCA church. I was hoping that I would find a friendly pastor as what I found in Bagley but that wasn't the case. The secretaries were more friendlier than the pastor. I had to wait for him to get off the phone. He pretty well turned me away. He told me that there was going to be youth activity at the church this evening. He didn't give me any other suggestions. I rushed over to the MO Synod Lutheran Church but the doors were closed. I went over to check out two churches but they weren't churches any more. I saw that there was camping in the city park but I didn't want to sleep in my tent.

I rode over to the police station. I called the dispatcher to see if an officer was available. I think either a sergeant or the chief but they weren't in uniform. He told me that he was going to call in one of the officers. The officer was really friendly. He told me that he knew somebody in one of his Bible studies that took over an unused school and turned it into apartments for the elderly. There was one studio apartment that was basically a motel room. The gentleman opened up the room to other ministers who came through the area. The police officer escorted me over to the school.

I was thinking about heading South from here but I learned that the two roads South to Fargo, ND were closed because of road construction. I'm going to ride to Grand Forks, ND tomorrow and then head South from there.

June 18 : Crookston, MN to Grand Forks, ND to Merrifield, ND : 36.97 miles (59.15 km)
Trip Total: 3,830.81 miles (6,129.30 km)

I had an okay night at the elderly apartment complex in the old school. The room was comfortable. There was a tv with cable but no access to wifi. I watched tv for a while but I shut it off and fell asleep before it got dark. I woke up around 2:30 am to go to the bathroom but I was able to fall asleep for a couple more hours. I watched a movie on my laptop and did some sewing repair on one of my bags.

I left the schoolhouse around 6:30 am. There wasn't anybody up. The sky was overcast and there was a light drizzle. I rode through town and stopped at a McDs on the Northern edge of town for a light breakfast and to get on the wifi to check my email.

It was around 7:30 am when I got back on the road. The drizzle lasted about 20 more minutes and then it stopped. There was a crosswind coming from the North. I was hoping to make it to and thru Grand Forks, ND and then start the trip South during the morning hours but it didn't happen. About 13 miles out of Grand Forks, I noticed that the rear tire was going soft. I stopped to add some air to it but it didn't help. I walked and rolled Alice for about a mile to a roadside rest. Instead of during the repair on the ground, I sat down at a picnic table. I checked the inside of the tire but I didn't find anything inside of it. I checked out the inner tube and I thought that I found a pinhole leak and I patched it. I put the patched inner tube inside the tire and I tried to get the tire inflated but I wasn't able to. I decided to patch up the old tire that I had replaced with a new tube in Brainard, MN. I found a pinhole leak and when I started to inflate it and it held air. I carefully inflated it till the point that the tire felt hard but I was worried about putting a lot more air into it because I've had a problem with causing valve stem blowouts. In all, the repair took me almost 90 minutes.

It was around 10:30 am when I headed out. The ride to East Grand Forks, MN went okay except that I almost got hit. Instead of going all of the way to Grand Forks on US 2, I got on Bus US 2 that took me through East Grand Forks. At the intersection where you had to cross over the East bound lanes of US 2 onto Bus 2, I almost got hit. This guy in a pickup truck sped around me without yielding to me and got to the crossover before me. The guy missed me by just a few feet.

The ride into East Grand Forks went okay. I went across a large plant that made sugar out of sugar beets. At a gas station, I found a free airhose that I used to finish inflating the rear tire. I went over to a thrift store across the street and I was able to purchase a new wallet. I was hoping to find a wristwatch but they didn't have any. I went back across the street to the gas station to get a light lunch snack.

My plans was to ride through Grand Forks, ND and then ride South to Hillsboro 40 miles away. It was almost 1 pm so I didn't think that I could do it. I stopped to check out a couple of the churches but I didn't find anybody around. I crossed the Red River into Grand Forks. There wasn't a state sign so I took a picture of Alice at the Welcome to Grand Forks sign. I rode around the downtown area some but I didn't find any churches. I think that most of the downtown churches left after the big flood several years ago.

I headed West about an hour and then I got on BUS 81 and I started the ride South to Macedonia, IA. There was a bike path most of the way. I stopped at a McDs for a late lunch.

On the Southern edge of Grand Forks near Merrifield, I came across the First Presbyterian Church. I saw some cars there. I talked with the interim pastor. He gave me permission to stay in the church for the night. I'm camping out in the nursery for the night. There is a bathroom in the room and an outside door.

I'm going to be riding to Hillsboro tomorrow. I might be getting wet. From what I saw on the weather report yesterday evening on tv , there might be a 80% chance of rain tomorrow.

June 19 : Merrifield, ND to Hillsboro, ND : 42.48 miles (67.97 km)
Trip Total: 3,873.29 miles (6,197.26 km)

I had an off night at the church. I tried sleeping on some bean bags but it wasn't comfortable. I woke up to some bad muscle cramps. The cramping could have been from dampness because it was raining outside. I waited till around 6:45 am before I headed out. I told the interim minister yesterday afternoon that I was going to be gone by 7 am.

The light drizzle didn't last long. I was able to ride out of the rain cover. The ride South was really rough because there was a stiff headwind. I felt that I was climbing up a horizontal wall. I was only averaging eight miles per hour.

I got into Hillsboro around 1 pm. I rode over to the interstate because I had seen a sign for a BK. After lunch, I rode around town trying to see if anybody was at the local churches. I found the secretary in at the MO Synod Church. I was told that the minister was on vacation. It took a while finding the ELCA minister. The town was getting ready for a local festival. When I finally found the ELCA minister. The guy was all excuses on why he couldn't help me out by letting me stay in the church for the night. One of the excuses was that the church needed to do background checks on people. I almost asked the minister where would we be in the Messiah had requested background checks before He saved us. I was told that I should go talk with the Catholic priest. It took a while finding the Catholic church. The priest told me that I should go to the sheriff department at the courthouse because there was supposed to be a ministerial fund. When I got the sheriff department, I was told that there hasn't been a fund in a while.

I rode back to the Methodist church to see if there was any contact information. I found some guys who were setting up some tables at the VFW hall. One of the guys told me that I should go talk to a guy who ran an insurance company and was in charge of the local Kiwanas. The guy at the insurance guy was friendly. He told me that the club had a fund and he offered to call over to the local motel and get me a room for the night.

June 20 : Hillsboro, ND to Wahpeton, MD : 100.19 miles (160.40 km)
Trip Total: 3,973.48 miles (6,357.57 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. I got about 7 hours of sleep. I woke up to no muscle cramps. It must be from all of the water that I drank yesterday.

I left the motel around 7:20 am. Before leaving town, I stopped to get some milk. It was still early so nobody was up to get ready for the town's festival days. It was around 7:42 when I headed South out of town. The sky was a little foggy and overcast. Instead of coming from the South, the wind was coming from the North. It must have been at least 15 mph. This was the push that I needed. I was flying down the road. Instead of averaging around 10 mph, I was averaging 12 mph. I got up to almost 16 mph. Every five miles, I took a short break to drink at least 6-8 oz of water. Because of the wind, I got the first 40 miles in by 11:30 am.

It was a tricky ride getting through Fargo. I got on University Ave (which was BUS 81). I stopped at a McDs for some lunch and at a grocery store to get some supplies. About 6 miles South of downtown, I had to stop to check out a soft rear tire. I found a pinhole leak. I was able to patch it. I used my spare pump to inflate the tire.

The ride in the afternoon went really well. I got into downtown Wahpeton around 6:45 pm. I stopped at the law enforcement center. I talked with a friendly lady officer. She told me that she would contact on of the sheriff deputies because their department at motel vouchers through the Salvation Army. I got to the motel right before a thunderstorm came through the area. This is the second time this year that I passed the Century mark.

June 22 : Wahpeton, ND to Ortonville, MN : 82.43 miles (131.89 km)
Trip Total: 4,060.67 miles (6,497.07 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. I got about 7 hours of sleep. I woke up to no muscle cramps again. It must be from all of the water that I drank yesterday and the rest that I got.

I left the motel around 7:40 am. The highway that I needed to get on to head South was just a block away. Once out in the country, the wind started to push me along. Instead of my normal 10 mph, I was cruising at 13 mph. Every 5 miles, I stopped for a short break and to drink at least 6 oz of water.

I was at the SD state line by 9:20 am. I stopped to take the traditional signs. Once I crossed the state line, I was in the Sissiton Indian Reservation. I headed South about 8 miles and then I turned East on Dam Road. The highway was on top of White Rock Dam. Along the way, I had a deer and a pheasant cross over the highway.

Once I crossed the dam, I was back in Minnesota. I took county roads into Wheaton. I was in Wheaton by 11:45 am. I did 41 miles. Instead of stopping in Wheaton for the day, I decided to take advantage of the tailwind. I stopped at a gas station for a lunch break.

I was back on the road on US 75 by 12:15 pm. There wasn't much of a shoulder and there was a continuous rumble strip. The wind had shifted more to the Northwest so it was a slight disadvantage. Normally the traffic coming up from behind me was courteous but it wasn't the case for three vehicles coming up behind me really fast together. The lead vehicle didn't even swerve to the left much. It was all that I could do was to get off the pavement really fast onto the gravel and stone shoulder. It was a miracle that I didn't crash.

About 2 miles North of Clinton, I crossed the Continental Divide at 1190 feet. This is the point where water either goes South to the Gulf or North into Canada. The rest of the ride into Ortonville went okay. There was a steep downhill run into the Big Stone Lake Valley. It took a while finding the police station but it was closed and there was no call box. It was also hard finding the dispatcher of the sheriff department. She called around to some of the churches to see if she could find somebody. she finally connected with the priest at the Catholic Church. It was a surprise when he offered to authorize a room at a motel on US 75 at the top of the plateau. The only problem was that I had to stop at a gas station to fix a soft rear tire. I found another pinhole leak. This is the third patch that I got on the tube. At least, the gas station had a free air hose.

June 23 : Ortonville, MN to Montevideo, : 55.93 miles (89.49 km)
Trip Total: 4,116.60 miles (6,586.56 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. I got about 7 hours of sleep. I woke up to no muscle cramps again. It must be from all of the water that I drank yesterday and the rest that I got.

I left the motel around 7:20 am. The morning ride was okay but there wasn't the strong tailwind that I had to deal with yesterday. I stopped for an early lunch at a roadside park in Milan. I got 37 miles in by noon.

The afternoon ride went okay. I got into Montevideo around 2:30 am. I was going to push on to Granite Falls but on a bank sign I saw that the temperature was in the low 80s. I decided to try and stop. I rode through the downtown area but I didn't see any churches. I did find the police station in the city hall. I got to talk with the chief of police.

I was given the phone numbers of some of the ministers. It took several phone calls but I was able to connect with the minister at the United Methodist Church. I got invited to spend the night in the church. It took a while finding the church Northeast of the downtown area across from the Courthouse. When I got to the church, the pastor told me that instead of letting me stay in the church for the night she was going to get me a motel room. The motel was back on US 59. Before I left the church, the pastor slipped me a GH.

I was pretty happy seeing a bulletin board at the church. The church was coming up ideas on how it could be more mission orientated. One of the ideas was to declare the neighborhood around the church a mission field.

June 24 : Montevideo, MN to Lynd, MN : 61.65 miles (98.64 km)
Trip Total: 4,178.25 miles (6,685.20 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. I got about 7 hours of sleep. I woke up to no muscle cramps again. I left the motel around 7:40 am. The shoulder along US 59 was really bad to Granite Falls. I was hoping for some tailwind assistance but I didn't get any. In Granite Falls, I switched over to MN 23. The shoulder was much improved.

I got into the Marshall area around 2:30 pm. I stopped for a late lunch at a McDs. In the downtown area, I didn't have much luck with checking out the churches. I did find the secretary in at the Methodist church. They were between pastors. She did give me some phone numbers of the other churches in town. I got quite a few excuses. I decided to try the Catholic church but the priest was in a meeting. As I waited I asked one of the ladies to help me find the number of the First Baptist church. The phone number that I had been given was wrong. I called up the First Baptist and I talked with the pastor. he invited me over. The church was several miles out of Marshall on US 23. On the way to the church, I got a call from the pastor telling me that he had arranged for a home visit with a couple who lived in Lynd several miles farther down MN 23.

I'm thinking very strongly about changing my plans after Macedonia, IA. I had plans to go to Colorado. Monday, there was a massive EF3 tornado that hit Coal City, IL southwest of Chicago. I'm thinking about heading there..

June 25 : Lynd, MN to Sanborn, IA : 110.62 miles (176.99 km)
Trip Total: 4,288.87 miles (6,862.19 km)

I had an okay night at the Stoneburg's house. I got up early so I could pack up my clean clothes. During breakfast, Mr Stoneburg slipped me a GH.

I got on the road around 7:20 am. I used country roads to get over to US 59. Once on US 59 it was basically a straight shot South to Worthington. I got 38 miles in by noon.

I got into the Worthington area around 5:20 am. I stopped at the law enforcement center North of town to see if I could get connected with a minister. I was given a phone number for a social ministry but it was closed. I stopped at a walmart to see if I could find a battery for my wristwatch. The wristwatch was too complicated in back to get the battery out so I bought another watch instead. I stopped at a Walmart for some supper.

Since I was around 12 miles away from the IA State line, I decided to go for it. I had at least 3 hrs of daylight. The ride to the state line went quickly . Since I was 15 miles less than the Century mark, I decided to go for it.

The miles went by quickly. I was about 10 miles out of Sanborn. I tried finding a place to stop but there wasn't any place. The only place where there were trees were farmsteads.

I got into Sanborn around 9:50 am. It took a while finding the police station. There wasn't a contact number but I was able to connect with a police officer. He told me that there was a campground in the city park. The campground is set up for campers and RVs. Usually the fee is $20 but the officer told me that he had seen one empty spot and he told me to go there and camp out there.

June 26 : Sanborn, IA to Cherokee, IA : 41.25 miles (66.00 km)
Trip Total: 4,330.12 miles (6,928.19 km)

I had a good night at the campground. Around 4 am, it started to rain. The tent stayed dry during the hour long rain. I waited for daylight. I got Alice packed up by 7 am before I went over to find the bathhouse. There was an electric outlet outside so I took the time to do yesterday's journal entry, charge up the laptop some, and charge up my ipod. On the way out of town, I stopped at a gas station for some breakfast.

It was around 7:30 am when I headed out of town. The road went East for a couple of miles and then it turned South. I stopped at a gas station in Primghar for a break. A lady stopped to talk to me. She was the social director at a care center that I had passed coming into town. She invited me over to a visit so I could visit with the residents. I was there maybe 20 minutes. One of the guys there slipped me a GH. I was also given a care bag of some meat slices, cheese, and crackers.

Once passed Primghar, the ride becamere more rolling hills. The highway became kind of bad and there was slim to no shoulder. I stopped at the city park of Larrabee for an extended lunch break. Around 1 pm, I headed out again to Cherokee.

I got into the northern outskirts of Cherokee around 2 pm. I stopped for a short break at a McDs. On the way into town, I saw a sign for the Bethlehem Lutheran Church ELCA. I wasn't sure that I would find somebody around but I found the secretary and the youth director. They were pretty friendly. The youth director told me that church was part of the ministerial association. There was an offer to get me a room at one of the motels nearby. The youth director took me down to the police station in the downtown area so I could get a voucher and then she took me around to the motels. Most of the rooms were booked because of two weddings tomorrow but we found a room at the Best Western.

I'm using Cherokee as a turning point. I'm not going to Macedonia. I'll be heading to the tornado disaster center in Illinois from here.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between July 03rd and July 10th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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