Day 15: [insert peace sign]

Today: 60.15 miles                         Total: 845.1  miles                              9.19.10

I’ve got to tell you, it is actually pretty flattering to have someone pray/say “grace” for you.  I only learned this in the past 3 days.  Ron had said a nice one at breakfast and Turk did the same last night.  This morning, Earl’s was 100% directed towards me, their “new friend,” my safety, and making it home to see my mom.  For the bad news, though, Turk’s thought didn’t work.  I did what he suggested, and asked for tailwinds to Carrington.  Instead, I had 5-15mph headwinds all day.

A huge 4-egg omelette with OJ and 2 pieces of toast started my morning caloric intake.  Turk told many more stories.  I, once again, found great people to bring me in last night.  In appreciation, I gave them a thank-you letter and a couple stories of my own.  “We’re sad to see you leave; you feel like family!” Earl cried.  And by “cried,” I mean “pushed me out the door, begging me to leave.”  Outside, as I packed my bike, Earl offered me a “monster cookie” to take with me.  As full as I was, I still couldn’t resist the offer, knowing how hungry I would become during the day.  She went inside, only to emerge with 10 enormous cookies, split between two big bags.  They, solely, provided my energy today, and I’m finishing them for dessert as I write this.  They are THE best cookies, ever.  Peanut M&Ms, oatmeal, raisins, peanut butter…so delicious.  I want 100 more.

We said our tragic goodbyes and I rode off, in a new timezone, at 8:45am.  I went to a nearby gas station, Cenex, to pump up my tires before leaving the small town.  As I worked on my wheels, Earl showed up with a piece of paper, neatly inscribed with her phone number.  “Call me when you get home safely,” she ordered.  Okay. She was 1/2 hour late for work after a great morning.  She didn’t care.

These cookies are, tragically, coming to an end.  nnnnnnnnnnoooooooooooooooo.

I was really struggling to get air into my tires.  I seemed to be losing way more than I was putting in.  At the only other gas station in town, I had the same problem.  It wasn’t until then that I realized these compressors must have limiters to prevent people from blowing their tires to smithereens.

Minor issues arise.

I went inside and persuaded the attendant to allow me to adjust the air compressor.  After some investigation, we found it, hidden in the garage.  The realization that the limiter existed had only come to me after I had broken the valve and received my first (and only) flat of the trip–which came from my negligence in pumping, not from a pinch flat or object protrusion.

I changed my tire and was able to pump it up after working a bit with the air compressor, but it was, unfortunately, time consuming on a day that I couldn’t afford to lose time on.

Only one cookie left.

I lubricated my chain, put the panniers back on my bike, and was tying my sign onto the rear rack when a cute girl pulled up.  After she got her coffee and came back outside, we talked for a while.  She’s 23 and just moved there from Bozeman, Montana after 5 years of school at Montana State University–exactly where I lived all summer and started this bike trip from.  Eventually, our conversation lead to this:

OK, so you’re 23, WHY did you move here?

My friend is a single mom and decided to move here, so I told her I’d come with and support her.

But, is there anyone our age here, at all?

Just some guys that work in the oil field.  I work in a nursing home all day.

I tried to decide if her life was miserable or not.  She didn’t indicate that it was.  I didn’t want to be delaying my day’s riding any more, but she was pretty.  Eventually, though, I rode off into the rain, breaking our hearts and, with them, our aspirations of a life together in eastern North Dakota…a life packed with days full of categorizing every person in town by birthday, from memory, and reading the newspaper together, memorizing the townsfolk who have dinner guests and noting who went where for Thanksgiving.  Alas, until next time I cross you on a bike trip: So-long, my love.

NOOOOO the cookies.  The cookies are gone!  Those were seriously the best cookies ever.  Note to self: get Earl’s monster cookie recipe.

1 hour North on route 200 was 100% into the wind.  Conveniently, when I turned East after 11 miles, so did the wind!  Direct headwinds all day.  The gusts were cold, but not bitter cold.  I really tried to ride to Carrington, but it just wasn’t happening.  The headwind was too persistent, and I wasn’t.

I only made it about 1/2 way.  I stopped around 4:45pm in Goodrich, ND, after over an hour of trying to find anywhere to camp.  There wasn’t a single town, house, building, or tree to camp at for at least 50 miles.  If I stopped, I would have had to camp in the middle of a field.

Goodrich is a very small town.  It doesn’t even show on my map.  There is less than 100 people that live here.  I tried to find a house to take me in, but didn’t come close to having any luck.  I even knocked on a random house’s door.  But, from what I can tell, this place is almost abandoned.  There is nothing here.  Nothing, that is, except, a perfect park with a perfect pavilion to camp under.

Home sweet wind.

It is so windy.  I really lucked out with this pavilion, though, because  a) camping is permitted in this park.  b) I have a table to cook, read, and sit at.  c) there is a bathroom with a hot shower and ducks in the urinal.  d) there is poster boards on the bathroom walls to write on (ed note: see day 16’s entry tomorrow).

I made awesome alfredo pasta with veggies and falafel.  Then I had cookies.  Then I ate 2 pounds of granola.  I need to find fuel for my stove because I am starting to run low.  I have been searching for 2 days now, and I haven’t found anything remotely close to what I need, which is a very specific type of fuel canister.

The wind is supposed to stay very strong for tomorrow.  It is evidently going to increase in strength, pushing 30mph.  I hope I can at least get to Carrington by tomorrow, geez.  I hate headwinds.

A big motorcycle crew passed me today.  That was cool.  I got the deuces from an old lady on the back of one of them–then I realized it was because of today’s message on my sign.

What do I think about while pedaling all day?  I think about this coming winter a lot. I am so, so excited to ski.  I also think about businesses to start.

I have a lot of people that I want to call.  I know for a fact that my friends tend to not know where I am.  Maybe they care, maybe they don’t.  But I know that my relatively spontaneous lifestyle lends itself to keeping up with friends via phonecalls.  So, I made a few calls.

I talked to Chelsea (my sister) and she is talking about coming to join me because Cruise West, her Alaskan employer, went under.  I hope she’s got loads of money from working for a couple of years.  So she can buy food and stuff.  I doubt she’ll actually come, though.

I’m jamming to my iPod on the little powered speaker I brought.  This thing is great.  It’s loud!  I’m glad the $20 Target gift certificate I received from West Geauga PTO when I graduated HIGH SCHOOL, and somehow hung on to for 4 years, went to good use in the Bozeman,  Montana Target store during my pre-trip purchases.

What a ridiculously small town.  I walked around for a bit before sunset.  It’s absolutely deserted.

Blossoming society.

Hello? Yeah hi, um, I'm wondering where, um, everyone is?

And, now I’d like to present you with the day’s masterpiece.

I never expected 800 miles on a bike to improve my art skills so much.


About @brodyleven

This entry was posted in XC Bike Tour 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Day 15: [insert peace sign]

  1. Hahaha I almost lost my Brody to a North Dakota Dame! I am slightly interested in the cookie recipe at this point 🙂

  2. Pingback: Day 19, Part 2. | brody

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