Naa NaNaNaNaa NaNaNaNaa NaNaNa NaNaNa NaNaNaNaaa
Erm… sorry. That’s Land of 1,000 Dances.
It’s been very windy in Minnesota. The first three days in setting out from Stillwater were especially windy. I need to get used to it. I know I’m basically heading into prevailing winds the whole trip, but it does get very tiring at times. The cross winds are especially brutal. Balance becomes a bit of a challenge when you’ve got a 20mph gust coming at your side.
The kindness that I’ve been encountering along the way has more than made up for it, though. By chance, I connected with a birthday party in Little Falls. There was music, food, volleyball, a nice big bonfire and all manner of good times. It was a great evening.
There’s been some solitude in my camping as well, and that can be tough at times. Camping alone is just not as much fun as camping with a group of people. Fortunately, I’m usually exhausted enough by the time that I crawl into my sleeping bag that I just pass right out and it doesn’t matter.
So I’m 630 miles into the trip. So, not quite a quarter of the way done. I need to run a few errands in Fargo today, though, so I’ll wrap this post up now, and just give you all some more pictures. Sadly, there’s no picture of a “Welcome to North Dakota” sign. I crossed the Red River on back country roads that they didn’t feel were important enough to sign. Ah well.
So I’m sure you’re all waiting for this blog update. Here you are. I’m still alive and well, but tired in Stillwater, MN. Over the past five days, I’ve logged nearly 300 miles of cycling. Whew…
I set out from Madison on Monday morning. Look at that beer gut there. We’re gonna do something about that, no doubt. I’ll take an after picture of me on the Oregon coast and we can look at the two side by side.
It’s been a long, hot week. I think the highs I’ve encountered every day this week have gotten close to 90, if not broken through (I think Tuesday was 95), and the humidity’s been pretty intense too. Rare cloud cover made for a lot of cycling down sun-parched roads. Fortunately, I have a nice stockpile of sunscreen to keep all that annoying solar cancer away. Even with all that, though, I’m developing a solid and well-defined cyclist’s tan (kinda like a farmer’s tan, but with some extra shapes produced by the cycling gloves).
It was a very warm night to be camping in White Mound County Park on Monday night. I noticed a lot of abandoned firewood at other empty campsites. Enough that I could’ve built a pretty sweet fire, but it was just too damn hot. I was sweating bullets for quite a while and didn’t even want to think about crawling into my sleeping bag until after the sun had set. Even then I had left it half-way open all night, but I awoke early, and knowing it would be a long, hot day, set out early as well to get as many miles in as I could before the heat really started pounding down.
Made a stop in the library in Richland Center to check in online briefly, and post some quick updates (by the way, I seem to be updating my twitter page more often than this site. So for more timely, if less detailed updates, surf on over there as well. Say what you will about twitter, and I can say many things, but it is, on occasion, handy). All the computers there were running linux, which I thought was pretty cool for a small town library. The morning was getting on, so I was off again, down a very hilly US Route 14 into Viroqua, WI. There are some surprisingly solid uphills on that route. A few climbs of 8% or greater grades had me thoroughly worn out. I think that I’m getting better at these intense climbs, slowly but surely.
At the top of some of these climbs, at least you might run into this very friendly sign. The sign you see here is probably a cyclist’s best friend. It means time to cruise like the wind. There are many other road signs that have special meaning to cyclists. Perhaps there’s a blog post in there somewhere.
There was a very lovely homestead just out from Viroqua whose owners let me crash for a night. A fun game of scrabble and some delicious fresh fruits and veggies was about all I could take in my exhausted state, but a good time was had no doubt. Back on US 14 the next morning and I was up over some more hills, heading through La Crosse and up to Trempealeau.