Today: 25.56 miles Total: 1149.8 miles 9.25.10
While I was inside a park lodge today, someone changed the “P” in today’s message to an “F.” We laughed about it. Well, we laughed after I had ridden around for an hour before noticing it.
Surprise, surprise, surprise. It rained last night. Again. In the middle of the night I hear some no-good going on outside. John must have awaken at the same time, because I hear a loud, “Brody!” whispered from his tent, 30 feet away. “Brody! Did raccoons get into my food!?” “I think so,” I replied, using my headlamp to see. Out of his tent in his fancy pajamas comes John to borrow my headlamp. This is 4am-ish.
A few hours later, it’s still raining, and my watch tells me he must have bailed on the 100-mile ride he had planned on completing today. I would have, too–if I had a choice. I woke up, but stayed in bed for an hour, reading, because it was raining so hard. It kept sounding like the rain was going to stop, but it never did. Finally, I decided to just get out of my sleeping bag and deal with the inevitable precipitation.
John and Ruth woke up soon thereafter, and I finally saw how awesome their sense of humor is: the raccoons had completely raided their food stash, eating virtually every store-bought and homemade delicacy they have dragged across the state. They laughed hysterically, saying how, “the raccoons were probably just high-fiving one another!”
Soon, I said bye to Ruth, who was off to breakfast with her immediate family. John invited me to have oatmeal with him. This was difficult, because the oatmeal had magically gone missing–and no, the ‘coons didn’t get it. Instead, he found this wild rice and oatmeal pancake mix that Ruth had made. We enjoyed breakfast with the slowing rain. (Here, once again, my journal delves deeply into the culinary delight of the morning meal, referring to the quality and grade of local syrup used, flavors of apples and jellies, and taste of pancakes, with lots of OMG’s interspersed. I’ll spare you).
John gave me a 1lb. bag of Bimiji wild rice, a local favorite from an area infamous for its wild rice. I said I wouldn’t mind carrying it another thousand miles–it’s just a pound, right? I told him I’d cook it with my family. He also gave me a pack of really good tortillas to use for dinner that evening. For some route advice, we called a friend of his, Warren, who has biked across the country.
As I prepared myself and my bike to start riding, I asked if he would want to ride the park loop with me. 30 minutes later, we were riding together. His bike was 19lb. of pure sickness. Mine was 130lb. of solid lethargy. We rode and talked, and he didn’t complain once about my less-than-triathlete pace. We enjoyed a really colorful and hilly bike path. We walked along some short side trails to see the world’s largest white and red pines.
We rode and rode and rode. He took pictures of my riding for my mom. Coincidently, they also ended up being handy for this-here website. Good thinking, John.
We took a short walk to see the Mississippi River’s headwaters. Here, we are there (clearly that makes perfect sense):
It ends up that I was in this park during an absolutely pristine time of year. The leaves were peaking in color and my eyes couldn’t seem to find a place devoid of beauty.
We rode to the park’s East entrance, talking the whole way. I have ridden well over 1000 miles and have not talked nearly this much the entire trip–combined. That was pretty darn nice.
So, off I rode, alone, on 73N/200E to Lake George, just 8 miles away. There was like 20 ATVs getting gas at the station where I filled water. I asked the girl working the counter for a good place to camp. I rode 4 miles out of my way to a forest service road. Although today wasn’t big in terms of mileage, it was a big step for me: I actually enjoyed biking, didn’t push myself too much, partook in conversation, and took my eyes off the road to relish in the scenery of which I was part. A lot of people read my sign today.
I set up my tent.
Talked to some friends with the limited battery and service I have, and made myself some delicious dinner with the ingredients I bought 2 nights ago but didn’t have to use last night due to the meal I was so nicely served 🙂
(ed note: I soon found out that, and was made fun of for, melting a pure block of cheese–approximately 1lb.–is not the best way to make a cheese sauce (although I swear it worked fine!)).
Coolest fact of the day: John has NEVER owned a car, never gotten a license, and biked 192 miles in a single day.