Well I know it has been quite a while since my last real blog post. For those of you who know me well know this pattern of getting started with something and then letting it fade away. I do apologize to you for not keeping this up like I should. I had several good ideas for blog posts. When I didn’t get those written and posted then I kept putting off anything new because it would not have been in the order that I created in my head.
I have that issue of letting my own plans get in the way. Call it OCD or whatever but it does keep me from getting things done that I want or should be doing. I can keep the task in hand and keep on riding but it is so easy to let the “other” stuff get lost. This trip for me is in part a way to find a way in my own head to be able to figure out how to get that “other” stuff done.
Other than the mosquito post I really haven’t posted anything about the ride itself since the 23rd of June. I know that I have had some Facebook posts but not much in the way of a good blog post. So let’s see if I can summarize what has happened since the last post.
After staying at Malmstrom AFB and taking a day off we head out again toward our next destination. As we were getting closer to Ft. Benton MT Jen and I were cruising along at a pretty good clip. Jen was behind me taking pictures and when she caught up she reached out to give me a “hello I’m here” tap and one moment she was there the next she was gone. I looked back and saw her laying on the road.
Long story short, is she crashed and needed to visit the Ft. Benton ER. I want to thank the volunteer EMT’s to the ER nurses and the doctor for their care. We stayed a couple of days in Ft. Benton to make sure she was well enough to ride.
At that point I diverted off the Lewis & Clark route / Northern Tier route and following Rt2. During the long straight roads of eastern Montana and North Dakota it became harder to find things to write about. The roads are long and straight without much to see.
As I started the month of July we stopped in Culbertson MT. We stopped and ate at the Wild West Dinner where we met a man named Tom. We chatted for a bit and I told him about what I was doing. Jen shared half of the last piece of banana cream pie with him and on his way out he said that he was going to go to my site and donate to R2R. He also handed me a 100 dollar bill and said add it to my kitty. WOW. Thank you so much!!!! It is amazing how generous people can be.
July 2nd continued to be pretty amazing. We ended up stopping at McDonalds in Williston MT for something to drink and snack on. As we did we ended up talking to a nice local couple. After talking about what we were doing, where we were going and how the roads were they ended up handing me a $20. I’m sorry but I didn’t get their names.
After leaving Williston we took some backroads to avoid the traffic on Rt2. I made a slight wrong turn that brought us out on Rt2 a bit sooner than we wanted; however, it turned out to be a blessing. Rt2 is a four lane highway on this stretch and they had the west bound lanes closed for road work. We decided to ride on the closed side. After being nervous about doing it we stopped and talked to a construction guy. They said the road was closed for the next 20 miles all the way to Ray ND and that we could ride on it without being in anyone’s way.
This was the best 20 miles we have seen. A whole side of a highway to ourselves. We REALLY ENJOYED the ride. Each of us had our own lane if we wanted it and no rumble strips or gravel to deal with!!!!!!
Moving on day to day is much like being deployed. Holidays and weekends really don’t end up meaning much. One day ends up blending into the next. Not realizing that it was coming up on the July 4th weekend the trip to Minot AFB was not going to happen. We stayed at a warm showers host in the city of Minot and I must say that Harold was a great host who makes great homemade bread.
We continued on to the geographical center of North America in Rugby ND. Here we ended up avoiding the rain by staying an extra day in the hotel. To pass the time after the rain stopped, later in the morning, Jen and I visited the museum and enjoyed each other’s company.
One of the saddest days of the ride was here. July 7th became the day that Jen and I had to go our separate ways, again. We rode together for 22 days and it was the best 22 days of the ride. As I went on to Grand Forks AFB so I can get my ID card she continued on. It was a very quiet ride as we got closer to the base. Knowing what was to come we both dreaded the looming goodbye. After our tearful goodbyes I watched her, from the bridge, ride out of sight.
I am now back to riding alone and I must say it was hard. I had a very hard time getting past my depression and had a very short day riding. So the next day I wanted to push myself to make myself realize that I could accomplish this ride with my own determination. I was able to accomplish an 87 mile ride and found a nice RV park and resort. At the Long Lake campground I met a very nice family, the Stish’s. They were wonderful and fed me dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. On my way out they also gave me the cash they had on hand and sent me on my way. Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity.
I was doing pretty well with the bike but the next day I ended up having not one, not two, but three flats the one day. All three tires. Thumb tack in the front and when I fixed that I put air in all my tires. Then a bit farther down the road the patch I had on the trailer tire gave out and I had the second flat. It was right by Crow Wing Cycleworks. I went inside and used the customer workbench and put in a new tube. Once I was on my way I ended up with a flat in the rear tire. When I finally got everything off my bike and turned over to repair the flat I saw that tire was almost gone.
I had to stop at the next bike shop in Nisswa MN and get new tires. I sure hope that this next set lasts longer than 1800 miles. At that rate I will be going through about 5 or 6 sets of tires. Not something I planned on.
That night I ended early, tired and frustrated from fixing flats all afternoon. At Fritz’s RV Park and resort I got a spot and jumped in the lake for a swim. That was just what I needed to cool off and relax. A short shower and laundry I was able to get everything set for a new day.
The next few days were pretty uneventful. I had a nice night at Joe Millers Cottages and Campground who let me stay for free and also donated toward R2R. So that brings me to tonight. I sit in The Chicaugon Lake Inn who gave me a pretty good discount because I was riding and they were nice enough to throw my cloths in the washer for me.
I hope this quick summary of the last month gets me caught up. I know I’ve missed some things and there are more people I could have thanked. I’ve been handed money on more than one occasion and I am constantly impressed with people’s kindness and generosity.
Take care and I hope to be better at keeping up the blog.