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Old 11-15-2012, 02:24 PM   #91
Jamie Z OP
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I awoke in the morning to the sound of two people talking and hitting golf balls. Their conversation made no mention of the motorcycle and tent in the grass nearby as if it was a completely normal part of the scenery.

This is a view from my tent to the tee box just past the shade.



I figured there was half a chance I might run into Gene and Neda because they were planning to visit Thunder Bay today too. I rode out to the big peninsula that makes up Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and made the loop.



A stop at the visitor center and I was told that a vehicle permit to enter the park would cost $14. I passed on the permit and rode into Thunder Bay.

My first stop was the Madhouse downtown, run by an inmate here. Feliz was working the bar and I introduced myself and ordered the special of the day, a pita pizza and a beer.





And then another beer of Feliz's recommendation, this time a local brew.



Though they were rather busy, I talked to Feliz for a while about his business, living in Thunder Bay, and what to see and do in town. He gave me some terrible news. My most favorite bar in the world, the Inntowner Palace, was now a parking lot, having been demolished in 2010.

I walked up to the popular harbor a few blocks away.



A splash pool was filled with kids and parents on this warm July day. More swimming Canadians.



I stepped inside a small casino. None of the customers or workers seemed very happy to be there. It was a very depressing and sad place.



This one is for Neda. Reminds me. I never did run into Gene and Neda again like I figured I would.



And since I'm Polish.



Every week there is a band and festival at Marina Park in Thunder Bay, so I spent a couple hours people-watching and looking out over the lake.





This week's theme was polka. Here's Captain John and the Polka Pirates.



It was near 10pm when the sun set and almost 11pm before it got dark. Feliz had offered me a place to sleep, but now realizing how late it was, I didn't want to risk waking him or his kids. I regretted my poor planning because Feliz was a supremely cool guy, and I looked forward to having a beer with him and chatting more. Around 11pm and in fading light, I headed out of town, looking for a place to sleep.

Jamie
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:49 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by Jamie Z View Post
I stepped inside a small casino. None of the customers or workers seemed very happy to be there. It was a very depressing and sad place.

[..]

This one is for Neda. Reminds me. I never did run into Gene and Neda again like I figured I would.

Haha, Neda says, "That building looks very.... sad." She didn't even read your comment above about the casino workers! :)

The reason why you never ran into us is that despite repeated and documented pieces of contrary evidence, my wife still believes she is invisible to police radar.
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:38 AM   #93
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Jamie,
Still loving this report. I'm going to visit the tent space thread, and get involved. What an adventure, nice.. Flying the floatplane!
Couple of things; we just paid $33.00 a night for a campsite in Arkansas, near Eureka Springs, in a state park! With a fire ban in place, and most everything (pool) closed, I was surprised they would charge so much..
Second, when we camped up in Sleeping Giant, we made the hike up to the top.. Great view, but my wife wasn't too keen on the distance, and elevation changes... Ha. Here's the view from the top.


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Old 11-16-2012, 07:05 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post
Haha, Neda says, "That building looks very.... sad." She didn't even read your comment above about the casino workers! :)

The reason why you never ran into us is that despite repeated and documented pieces of contrary evidence, my wife still believes she is invisible to police radar.
No wonder that wasn't in your ride report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MizzouRider View Post
Jamie,
Still loving this report. I'm going to visit the tent space thread, and get involved. What an adventure, nice.. Flying the floatplane!
Couple of things; we just paid $33.00 a night for a campsite in Arkansas, near Eureka Springs, in a state park! With a fire ban in place, and most everything (pool) closed, I was surprised they would charge so much..
Second, when we camped up in Sleeping Giant, we made the hike up to the top.. Great view, but my wife wasn't too keen on the distance, and elevation changes... Ha. Here's the view from the top.
Jeff, I encourage you to sign up for the Tent Space list if you're up for it. It's a lot of fun.

Thanks for the Sleeping Giant pic. Very nice. I've been to Thunder Bay quite a few times, and I'm sure I've been up there at least once quite a long time ago, but I'm not certain.

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Old 11-16-2012, 09:44 AM   #95
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I left Thunder Bay last night in the dark, quite irritated with myself that I skipped Feliz's offer to drink a couple beers and crash at his place. In my defense, in this northern Eastern Time Zone city, it wasn't dark until well after 10pm and I didn't realize what time it was.

Finding a stealth campsite in the dark is not easy. I checked several potential places and then I found the jackpot. Kakabeka Curling Club.



There was a nice grassy spot right out back. Right next to the attached Chinese restaurant. You can't make this stuff up.



The restaurant appeared to be shuttered, but I hoped someone would show up bright and early to the Curling Club. Maybe they'd show me how to play! I've been fascinated with the sport ever since the 2010 Winter Olympics. Alas, the parking lot was empty when I woke up.

My plan was to cross back into the US today, but rather than take highway 61 like everyone else, I took a more circuitous route involving more scenic roads that I found online, namely, highway 593.

The first stop was one of the most interesting geocaches I've ever found, based on the NHL Stanley Cup. The cache itself was hidden inside this hollowed-out log.



And in order to "sign" the cache, you had to use the Dremel to etch your name on the cup. Get it? The Cup?





Pretty awesome, I thought.

I like clever mailboxes.



I think I picked the right road, too.







Where the highway turned west to follow the Pigeon River, there was another road marked "Old Border Road." I couldn't pass it up.



As expected, the road dead-ended at the Pigeon River with the US on the other side, the old bridge long-since removed. There was no remnants of any buildings or signs or any other border controls. I intended to check out the opposite side once I crossed the other border.



Highway 593 provided a beautiful view of Pigeon river.







And then I found another waterfall!



This one was more accessible--right along the highway--but the infrastructure here was long abandoned. There looked to be some sort of wading pool.



And a grown-over parking lot with the paint still visible in some places.



The entrance was blocked off. I'm curious when this part of the nearby Pigeon River Provincial Park was open.



Down near the river, I found something curious. At first, I thought I happened upon another geocache.



It was a coffee can in pristine condition. Clearly it had not been out in the elements at all. Inside was perhaps a hundred or more small envelopes, all in perfect condition.



Each envelope contained half of a card showing a cartoon character.



Looked like some sort of prop for a poker run, but there was no other information inside. Anyone know anything about this?

Anyway, back to those falls!





The cool part is that the Pigeon River forms the northern boundary between Canada and the US, so the rocks on the other side are the United States.



After climbing all over the falls and taking lots of pictures, I walked back to my bike.



On highway 61 right next to the border is the modern Pigeon River Provincial Park. They have a nice walking trail.



And then it gets a little hairy.



The trail leads to the High Falls of the Pigeon River.



And there weren't any fences or any other safety devices. Sure Jamie, just go right out there.



Considered the tallest waterfall "in" Minnesota, High Falls are 120 feet high, and I was standing at the brink.



I spent about 30 minutes climbing up and down and all around the gigantic boulders beside the falls.

But wait a second. Look closer. What's that?

That's an observation deck with people on it. People across the river in Minnesota. Wow, I had no idea that was there.



And then I had an epiphany. No doubt most of those people over there were taking pictures of the falls. I was climbing all over the falls. I wonder if I could somehow get those pictures, with me in them. That'd be awesome. I made it my goal to get over the US side as quickly as I could and see if I could find people who might have pictures of me on the falls.

But not before a couple more shots of the beauty from farther away.



And a view of the international bridge.



I jogged back to my bike and headed for the border, hoping to find someone with pictures of me climbing on the rocks.

Remember my crossing into Canada at the Peace Bridge near Toronto? The Canadian border offical was smiling and friendly and gave me a mint. The crossing took about 20 seconds.

Here, at Grand Portage, a remote crossing not near anything, the US border agent was stern and lectured me for not stopping my bike precisely where he wanted me to. As I was unbuckling my helmet he scolded me "You'll have to take that helmet off."

Then came a barrage of questions about where I'm from, where I'm going, where I'm coming from. I told him I'm from Memphis. He asked why, if I'm from Memphis, do I have Mississippi plates on my bike, and why am I coming through Canada to get to Minnesota. He wanted to know why I was visiting Minnesota. I told him I grew up in Minnesota and was coming to visit family. What town did I grow up in? What high school did I attend? What, really? My high school?

He looked through my passport. Why are there so many stamps in here? Do you have a job requiring international travel? No, I'm a student, or was a student and participated in some study abroad programs. After a long pause, he handed the passport back to me and told me I could go. Sheesh.



Almost immediately, I pulled into the newly built Grand Portage State Park welcome center.



I wasn't sure if this was the right place to see the High Falls. I asked a young couple in the parking lot if they knew if there was a trail leading back to the falls. The guy says "Yeah, we just came from there." Oh, you did?

Did you take any pictures? He said he did. I asked if he saw anyone on the falls. He told me there was a guy wearing jeans and a black T-shirt over there. That was me! Awesome. I unzipped my riding suit to show him my dark shirt. I asked, do you think I could get the pictures from you? He shrugged and held his fingers up with a tiny space between them. You can't see anything. You're only about this big in the photos. I nodded eagerly. Yeah, that'd be neat to have. I'd like to see them. He shrugged and shook his head. "It's not really worth it."

Well screw you too.

What the hell, dude? Anyway, what could I do? Grab his camera and run? I mean, how hard would it be to exchange email addresses and send me the pics? Some people suck and my welcome into the US hadn't been so welcome so far.

Well anyway, the US side is a whole lot different from Canada. Here, there is a paved trail with a fence.



And then a fancy boardwalk with rails. There was no trails to climb out onto the falls.



You get to see the falls from viewing platforms far from the water.



Though I have to admit, the US has a better viewing angle. Anyone want to photoshop a picture of me standing on the falls?





This is Grand Portage National Monument. I've been quite a number of times, but they've made some major changes since I've last seen it. Before, you used to park right in front of the lodge.



I had intended to follow old highway 61 up to the old border crossing on the Minnesota side, but I completely forgot. Looking at the map later on Google, I realized I missed a neat ride.

To get my mind off the border official and the jackass at the welcome center, I stopped for a geocache along the shore of Lake Superior.





I had made contact with FotoTEX before the trip and he invited me to stop by his winter home in Two Harbors, Minnesota. I had the address to his camp and showed up unannounced. He was sitting out front of his Airstream in a Texas-flag lawn chair. His wife offered a beer.



Donovan wanted to show me around the lake a bit, so we walked up the beach. For the record, that's some cold water.



I got a shot of him and his wife Rebecca, and then she took a picture of the two of us.









And then we walked over to a woodworking school nearby. There was a fellow inside working, and he showed us a few things and told us about the classes.





Donovan offered a place to set up my tent, but since it was only early evening, I decided to get on the road for a few more miles before the late sunset. I made a stop at Temperence River State Park, one of my favorite rivers.



And then headed back north on highway 1, considered one of the most scenic in the state.



Around nightfall, I found myself coming into the small town of Isabella, Minnesota. There was a large sign for a motel, with a smaller campground sign nearby. I decided to stop.



The thing is, there was nobody there. A sign on the building had a phone number, but half the numbers were gone.



And what appeared to be the office/camp store was gutted.



In any case, the campground out back was mowed and had picnic tables. Looked good to me. And the price was right.



Before dark, I took a few minutes to explore. The "motel" consisted of a double-long mobile home, divided into four rooms and a utility closet. There were signs asking snowmobilers to keep wet gear off the furniture.



Two of the rooms were unlocked. Inside the beds were made up and everything seemed to be in place, though there was no power or running water. It was as if the owners simply got up one morning and walked away. I briefly considered staying in one of the rooms. The beds looked more inviting than the cold and mosquitoes outside. The musty odor inside made me reconsider.

So, I made dinner back near my tent.



And crawled inside my tent to get away from the mosquitoes.



Jamie
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:19 AM   #96
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Anyone want to photoshop a picture of me standing on the falls?

Jamie
Got ya covered, Jamie. Although, the falls look like they're smaller than you described...



The reason, I'm guessing, that 'dude' didn't want to send you the pics are because he was pissed at you for ruining all his pictures of the falls by climbing all over while he was taking them....
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:49 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by malibu_dan View Post
Got ya covered, Jamie. Although, the falls look like they're smaller than you described...



The reason, I'm guessing, that 'dude' didn't want to send you the pics are because he was pissed at you for ruining all his pictures of the falls by climbing all over while he was taking them....


Funny. They look bigger in person.

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Old 11-17-2012, 11:52 AM   #98
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I woke to a light rain and my ribs shot pain through my abdomen when I tried to sit up out of bed. My riding gloves were sitting on the picnic table and soaked but I packed up quickly and warmed up some oatmeal for breakfast.

Just on the other side of town was a small restaurant and I was surprised to see it open. The rain had cleared up.



Mostly I just wanted to talk to someone and ask about the motel. I thought I might order a cup of coffee until I saw this.



How could I pass up a breakfast malt?



I talked to Tom the owner for a short time. He wasn't sure how long the restaurant had been open. An older fellow, he and his wife bought it 26 years ago and it had been open some time before that. He said the motel next door had shut down three years ago. He seemed unaware that I camped the night before. On the entire ride, this guy was the only one who asked me how fast my bike would go. I shrugged and told him it wasn't very fast at all. He went on to tell me about how he hears guys speed past on the country road out front on "one of those things." Again I shrugged and told him I'd never ridden a sport bike, so I don't know. I'm not sure he was listening and he continued to tell me about how "those kinds of bikes" will go 150 mph. If it has plastic, it must be a crotch rocket.

When I asked what I owed him, he thought for a few seconds and pulled the price out of the air. "Five bucks and we'll call it even." Is that the Canadian price? Sheesh.

An older worker wearing overalls and driving a logging truck pulled up just as I was heading out.

I continued to follow highway 1.



Road construction forced me onto some hardpack gravel.



And into the town of Babbitt, where there was a great display of retired mining equipment.



This part of Minnesota is known as the Iron Range because of the iron ore deposits. The equipment here is gigantic.





My next stop was in the town of Ely, pronounced EEE-lee, and the Dorothy Molter museum.

Dorothy Molter, known as the Root Beer Lady, was the last resident of the one-million acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The Forest Service attempted to remove her several times, but they were stymied each time by her resiliance and popularity. In the end, they made her a Forest Service "volunteer" to report the conditions inside the park. I encourage you to read about her: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Molter

At the museum, first a little movie and introduction from a tour guide.



And then to her cabin, which was disassembled and moved from its location in the Boundary Waters to Ely after her death in 1986.



Inside, as repeated by our guide over and over, everything was exactly as left by Dorothy. Everything in the house was authentic and belonged to her. Got that? 100% authentic. Just how Dorothy lived.





When I was young, my mom gave me a book about Dorothy, I thought about the book and bought a postcard to send to my mom.



I headed north out of Ely onto country road 116, known as the Echo Trail, a former logging road which today provides access to the Boundary Waters Canoe area.



The perfect pavement soon turned to rough pavement which soon turned to freshly graded gravel. The loose rocks made for a harrowing and slow ride.



I soon found the source of my riding woes.



And the teeth on the plow made the rocks loose and the riding hard.



Fortunately, they must have graded the road and parked the grader because after that point, the road was hardpack gravel on which I could ride comfortably.



The scenery was beautiful and desolate.





Desolate until I pulled into a BWCA put-in.



There must have been 40 vehicles crammed into eavey little corner. What I thought I had to myself was actually a metropolis.

The Echo Trail leads to the community of Buyck, which is immediately pronouncable.



Just beyond Buyck I saw three girls behind a lemonade stand, so I stopped. Just after I gave them a buck for a cup, the wind picked up and a cold front passed. The dark clouds coming in foretold rain was on the way, so the girls scurried to pack up their stand. Just before I left, I stood back and asked if I could take a picture.



I stopped in Orr for gas while rain started falling.



I've got a clever idea for a prop they could attach to the sign to help with pronunciation here, too.



Just outside Orr is the Mickey Elverum Bog Walk. There's a geocache there. I had to stop.



It's a neat walk through the woods.



And into the bog.



I did find the cache here.

The purpose of this whole ride was to visit my family who mostly live around the Twin Cities in Minnesota. When I'd called my mom a month earlier to tell her about my plans and that I might come down through Canada, she retold a story about my dad and her taking a trip to the border town of International Falls when they were first married in the mid-60s. She asked me, isn't there a highway 65 that runs down through there?

I looked at my map. She was right!



She described it as an especially scenic route through the forest, without any traffic at all. She was right!





She said, "There was even grass growing up in the middle of the road." I chuckled at her memory from 50 years ago. But she was right about that, too.



Along the 40 miles or so I stayed on highway 65, I didn't pass another vehicle.

But I did find one of my favorite placenames.



I rode into Effie, Minnesota on highway 1, heading west. I altered my route slightly when I saw this sign marking the northern end of the Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway. I turned south and followed it.



I stopped in the town of Bigfork. Used to have a friend who lived here a few years back. I stopped at an Edge of the Wilderness interpretive center around sunset.



Don't think I didn't consider bunking in that flatboat on display. I needed to find a place to crash before dark but I'm sure some official would come by in the evening to lock up.

I located a state forest campground along my route and rode the narrow gravel to find it. To my dismay, it was filled almost to capacity, and the campground fee was bumping up against $20.

So, I followed an ATV trail back to a clearing about a mile away and pitched my tent.



I used to live in Minnesota and forgot about deer flies. Holy crap. Buzzing around my face, hair, and ears all the while I was trying to set up my tent. I pulled a stocking cap down over my head to keep them from driving me crazy. I opted out of sitting outside to make dinner and instead took some crackers and granola bars into my tent before bed and fell asleep listening to an owl nearby.

Jamie
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:57 AM   #99
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I woke up and continued south on highway 38, the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway. Along the way I crossed the Laurentian Divide. The water north of here flows into Hudson Bay (although curiously, the sign uses the old "Hudsons Bay" name).



And for my Finnish friends.



I rode around looking for the party. Never did see it.



I found a couple of geocaches along the way and found this little buddy.



I've got a friend from this area who I haven't seen or talked to in about ten years. I stopped to watch a Little League game and found a number for her dad who in turn gave me her number. I gave her a call.



Amanda was excited to hear from me. Turns out she lives in St. Paul now and asked if I was coming down that way. We made some tentative plans and she offered that I could stay with her and her boyfriend if I needed when I go through that area in a few days. I told her that would work out great!

The Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway ends in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, hometown of Judy Garland. Urbanspoon on my smartphone recommended a little place to eat called Pasties Plus. What the heck, I'll try it. It's a tiny place.



Inside it's small. Like a little bakery, which I guess is what it is. I went to the counter and explained that I was a rookie. I didn't have a clue what a pasty is.



Turns out I wasn't even saying it properly. It doesn't rhyme with tasty. The cook on duty explained they only serve two varieties. With, or without rutabega. I chose without, but with a side of gravy, and could I have a glass of water, too?



Damn, it was good.



The pasty comes from Britain, and the best guess is that originated in Cornwall's mining communities. The miners would eat pasties for lunch. They're simple, easy to carry, and provide a hearty meal. No surprise they're popular in this region of the state.

I rode over to Itasca State Park, headwaters of the Mississippi River.



I've been here a number of times before, and I always stop when I'm near. They've made some big changes since I was last here, most notably the visitor center near the headwaters. It didn't exist a few years ago.

Here is the famous sign and the traditional beginning of the river.



What's funny is none of this is natural. Lake Itasca State Park is Minnesota's oldest state park and was formed in the days of the Civilian Conservation Corps. This rock dam and channeling of the upper reaches of the Mississippi were one of the projects. They filled in the swamp and constructed the first few hundred yards of the river into a rocky creek in an attempt to beautify the source.

And it was quite busy today. More people than I've ever seen here.



Most incredibly, a wedding party showed up.



And they all lined up along the log bridge.



The river flows out of the park under a handful of walking bridges.



At the visitor center, along with bathrooms, a gift shop, and an expensive restaurant, they have a neat model on display.



This bridge is also new. It used to be an eight-foot culvert. I've been through it.



And then the river flows out of the park.



I followed the Mississippi River Trail, a designated bike route which follows the river, as best I could. Trouble is, unlike other states, the MRT route isn't signed in Minnesota so I relied on the GPS route I pieced together at home.





And rode back through a field to what is purported to be the site of the oldest bridge across the Mississippi River. The current bridge is a reconstruction by a descendent of the original bridge builder.



There was a geocache located here, and it took me a long time to find it.



It was hot and stifling.



And then I continued along the MRT as best I could.



Stopped at Coffee Pot landing where I've camped a couple times in the past. The bridge is for pedestrians or snowmobiles only.





In Bemidji, I got a picture with Paul Bunyan.



And continued east following the river.







I started seeing signs of heavy wind damage.



Nearing sunset, I stopped at the Winnibigoshish Dam. A posted sign explained the downed trees.



It was nearing sunset. An Indian family was fishing and I talked to one of the old men while his sons fished.



While at the dam, I checked my Facebook. I was surprised to see that I had three messages from a childhood friend who I hadn't seen in almost 25 years. I had made contact with him through Facebook a while back and noticed that he also rode motorcycles. About a month before this trip I suggested to him that we could meet near Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and ride together for a day or two. He owns his own business today and told me he'd look into it. He's got a wife, a kid, a business. Didn't look like it was going to work out.

The three messages were from Zack. The first was, "I'm thinking of meeting you." The next was his phone number. And the last one was simply, "I'm on the way," and the timestamp was from two hours earlier.

On the way where? Shit, we hadn't made any plans yet. Awesome.

I called his phone and left a message. I was turning around and heading to the small town of Walker, which I figured was roughly between where I was and where I figured he was headed.

I rode into town and found a cheap motel. I wasn't sure if Zack was a camping type or not. I called and left another message for him telling him where I would be. He showed up about 45 minutes later.



The first thing I noticed is that even though Zack and I had pretty much been best friends from about the ages of five to around twelve, I wouldn't have recognized him today. He's a big guy. Several inches taller and much more muscular than I am. We walked to what appeared to be the only open eating establishment in town and sat down at the bar.



But aside from our physical differences, we had a lot in common. It was a weird sensation. I was talking to a "stranger" with whom I shared many childhood memories. We talked about Christmas at his grandparents. We laughed about the small business we opened up as kids, "Jamie and Zack's Kool-Aid and Snacks." And he told me that the influence of my dad probably led to his passion for motorcycles today.

The kitchen at the bar was closed. They sell pizza by the slice, but the bartender took the whole thing and slid it in front of us.



And when the barkeep found himself with half a can of Red Bull at the end of the evening, Jäger Bomb shots for everyone, on the house.



Zack and I walked back to the room and stayed up for another hour or so reminiscing. I told him he's the only son of a bitch I know that would ride up to meet me without even knowing where I was headed.

Jamie
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:52 PM   #100
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:30 AM   #101
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We stopped for gas and breakfast in the morning.



I'm not a cruiser rider, but I had to admit that I really like Zack's setup. Very clean lines on his bike, and it wasn't obnoxiously loud. And he'd come prepared with tent and sleeping bag and a change of clothes. According to Zack, this was in case he couldn't find me.

I wanted to suggest to him that we switch bikes for a while, but at breakfast he looked out the window and saw someone park close to his bike. He growled, "They better watch it." I decided not to tell him my idea.

I led the way as we continued to follow the Mississippi River Trail, a bicycle route which leads from the headwaters of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. We crossed the Mississippi many times and it was getting bigger and bigger.



And there were more signs of the "Blowdown Incident."



To my surprise, the MRT (and the Great River Road, as the sign shows) turned onto a gravel road. I pulled over and looked at Zack. "I don't mind riding on gravel," he claimed. Despite his assurance, I thought it would be better to stick to the pavement.



This gave us an idea. We were hot and a little hungry.



We stopped for a snack in the small town of Aitkin, Minnesota, where my friend Amanda is from. I was looking forward to seeing her in a few days. I met her when she used to work in this cafe.



The desserts were terrible. I didn't want to say anything, but then Zack looked at me with a grimace and asked, "Does yours taste like sugary syrup?" I nodded.

We posed outside for a photo.



Zack doesn't wear any riding gear, and in the heat and sun, he was getting pretty burned and worn out. He never complained other than to ask if I had any sunscreen, which I did.

Another shot of the river.



And this "art" car.



Zack and I stopped for gas in St. Cloud, Minnesota in the evening. Zack needed to be home tonight and still had an hour or two ride back to his house. We'd had a great time together, and I was happy to see him again after almost 25 years. It's still hard to believe that I could have someone in my life who I haven't seen for that long.

After Zack left I made a call to another friend who lives in a northern Minneapolis suburb. Eric and I have been friends since I was about 13 or 14, and the last time I saw him was in 2000. He's now married and has a small daughter. He invited me over and asked if I'd eaten dinner yet.

Once more, Jägermeister.



His wife had purchased this special bottle while in Amsterdam, and it did taste better than Jäger I've had in the US. According to her, they use a different formula.



Eric brought me out to his garage and showed me his motorcycle. "I didn't know you had a bike!" I suggested we go for a ride before I leave. He shrugged. He hadn't had his bike out for a few months and had only ridden it a few times all year.

They put me up in the guest room for the night and I tried to lay flat on my back to keep my ribs from aching.

Jamie
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:15 AM   #102
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D'oh!

Just got a message from Zack:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zack
I would've liked to have switched bikes.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:33 AM   #103
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I slept in for the first time on the trip, getting up just before noon to find Eric's wife working from home in the living room. Out in the driveway I saw Eric's truck. "Did Eric stay home from work today?" I asked his wife. She said he'd ridden his motorcycle in today. First time he's ridden his bike in months.

I did a load of laundry and cleaned up some of my gear (notice I'm no longer wearing my embarassing Hooters T-shirt in the photos). Eric came by with his work truck a couple hours later and told me to follow him back to the shop. He was taking the rest of day off.

I parked inside and he showed me around.



Eric insisted I try a Greenie at Tony Jaros'.



And then a beer nearby at a club right on the river.



I had dinner plans with Amanda, a girl I met back in Aitkin, Minnesota twelve years ago and haven't seen for about ten years. I'd called her a few days ago and told her I'd be in town. She had offered a place to crash tonight. Eric and I got a quick photo before we parted ways.



Amanda wanted to meet at the trendy Icehouse downtown. She was already there when I arrived.



The food was good, but the portions were laughable. Seriously, when the waiter set my plate in front of me, I thought it was one of the sides that came with dinner. No, it was the whole meal. It looked like two Chicken McNuggets and a small scoop of coleslaw. Probably there was a garnish on the plate, too.

One cool thing was that the wait staff used iPods to place your order, so our drinks arrived before the waiter even walked away from our table.

During dinner, Amanda asked where I was planning to stay tonight. She added that she'd like to offer a place to stay, but she'd have to ask her boyfriend first and she didn't think he'd be up for it.. There goes the digs I was planning on

After dinner I called Eric back and explained my dilemma. Could I crash at his place again? "No problem, come on over."

The next day I planned to meet with my high school friend, Tony. I'd have the scare of my life before that happened.

Jamie
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:16 AM   #104
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I really enjoy following your trip. You seem to know quite a few cool people.
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:58 AM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlpineGuerrilla View Post
I really enjoy following your trip. You seem to know quite a few cool people.
Thanks! A lot of the cool people I met were from the Tent Space on this site.

Jamie
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