On the Road Again

    Okay, okay, I guess that last post was kind of jumping the gun. It was the panicked preemption. But, the genius mechanic over at Val's Cyclery combined some old parts and found a way to fix up Nate's bike! And, they hardly charged him a thing, in spite of the rush job. Very nice.

    Plus, we just met some folks at the Pangea House Community Collective, and they fed us grilled potatoes and corn on the cob and are letting us stay in their community center/music venue tonight. I just finished up playing some old favorites on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) they have here and I toasted some bread. Ah, toasters... what a luxury.

    In a strange way, since we managed to hitch our way more than 150 mi. in less than 24 hours (thankfully, nearly 2/3 of the population of North Dakota drives a truck of some sort) and got the bike fixed in less then a few hours, we are actually a day ahead of schedule now. Praise the Lord. We leave Minot tomorrow morning, and then we should cross over into Montana in a couple of days. It seems that the landscape will only continue to flatten out and dry out up until we get to the Rockies in about 700 mi. We'll have to keep our canteens filled to the brim...

    We are here, in Minot, ND.

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    A few days ago we passed our 1000-mile point, and now (with a little hitchiking), we are about halfway across the country. Yes, hitchiking... Nate's crank fell out of his bottom bracket about 150 miles back. We are currently waiting for the bike shop to get back to us about the fate of Nate's ride. Needless, to say, we're a bit nervous!

    I guess to kill the time, here are a few more random photos (I'll try to get the rest up later) from my time in Minneapolis with Tory and Joke and up at the beautiful north shore of Lake Superior:

    The Twin Cities and Tettegouche State Park

    (At Silver Bay, we witnessed a world record attempt for the longest ATV parade, but Tory has those pictures.)


    Okay, so images:

    The majority of the photos are cycling through in the little box to the right of this post. If you put your mouse over the box, you can scroll back or forward through the pictures. If you click on one of them, it will take you to Flickr where you can see bigger versions and perhaps a caption or description.

    I guess the only problem is that not all of my photos are up there yet, and I can't get them to upload to Facebook. Blah blah blah. Technology wins again. Maybe I'll figure out how to make these things work better somewhere along the way.

    more houseboats!

    on the way down into Saint Paul

    a building in the background


    Week 1: Joliet/Chicago to Minneapolis

    Okay, so it was technically almost two weeks. But we could've done it just one. I swear.

    The first few days were mostly spent learning the ropes, how to carry our stuff, pack and unpack, find camping spots, and interact with the people we'd meet. We started with enough food to last two weeks, but then realized that we were cycling past several grocery stores a day. We also were worried about where and how and when to camp each night, but that has turned out to be about the easiest part of the trip: so far (in the Midwest, at least), we've just been able to roll into about any town, meet some folks at the diner or pub or grocer, and then, if nothing else turns up, just set up our tent in the city park or on the outskirts. And once we started tracking up through the bluff and wetlands along the Mississippi, especially, we've had some lovely spots for camping. However, we have yet to deal with any significant precipitation. So far, whenever it's rained, we pull into a coffee shop or call it quits and hang out for the rest of the day in whatever little town we happen to find ourselves.

    Oh, and getting into shape, too. That's been a big one. My legs strangely feel a bit muscular, and the wind and sun are gradually having effects on our skin and hair. For the first week or so, before turning north in Iowa, we'd get tan on only one side of our body (the left side, which faced the sun as we biked west). After our big haul last night, I'm starting to think we might be ready for trek westward. I guess the trip up to Minneapolis was a kind of trial run for this next leg of the journey. The same thing as we've been doing, only about 3.5 times as far and with a few mountain ranges thrown in. It's very exciting, but still a little bit terrifying to think about. Nate and I are going to put our heads together and figure out a lot of the the concrete details and practical stuff. We think we'll be able to lighten our load and plan our timeline a little bit better than stage one of the trip, since now we have some idea of how these things will all work out.

    Anyways, Day 1 in Minneapolis was really nice. I slept in, did some laundry, then hung out with Joke and Tory for the rest of the day. I drank coffee and ate lots of food while catching up with Joke. Then we met up with Tory and sat on the beach of Lake Calhoun (I think?) for the rest of the evening. Oh, and then Tory and I made eggplant parmigiana and ate some mango sorbet from Trader Joe's. Yeah, lots of food. I guess that's not much different from when we're on the road, which usually involves either cycling while thinking about food and sleep or eating and sleeping while thinking about cycling. If I have any time the over the next couple of days, I'll try to post more details or describe some highlights from the first, introductory part of our expedition. Oh, and pictures from my new digital camera, too!

    Until next time...