Day 23: Civility Keeps Me Going

[For those of you just tuning in, this is a record of my journal…verbatim…until my journal is finally done and I can do live things].

Today: 85.33 miles                         Total: 1271.8  miles                              9.27.10

Whelp…here I sit in an RV   🙂  I’m at the Sandy Lake Recreation Area off Minnesota’s Route 65.  In Jacobson, we turned off rt.200 for my last time!  Onto 65 south I go.

I woke up…in a BED…at 7:30am.  As I packed my tent in the garage, Martha came out, said good morning, and told me she’d make me breakfast.  She gave me the cookbook she told me about, and apologized that it was so heavy.  What’s another few pounds…right?…right…?
Martha expressed how happy she was to have the opportunity to give the book to me.
Scrambled eggs, toast, OJ, and homemade delicious raspberry jelly from her backyard.  I gave her a thank-you note that I wrote last night and, an hour-ish after breakfast, finally had to excuse myself from her heartfelt stories.  It was time to hit the road for the last day alone.

Martha and I.

Martha came outside with me to watch me write today’s message on my sign.  I later learned that the true meaning in the message is just, “treat others how you want to be treated.”  When you ride your bike all day with a message that you wrote, a lot of time is spent thinking about it…so it wouldn’t be easy to summarize how I came to that conclusion.  But I did.  Civility, though, is just treating others how you want to be treated.  That is true civility.

Lake view.

Minnesota was badly flooded...which, apparently, brought out swans.

I rode and rode.   I stopped at a beach on Leech Lake on the other side of Whipolt, after about 2 hours on the road.  An eccentric guy, Ollie, sat down next to me on the beach and we talked for a while.

Leech Lake

Is this Ohio?

Ollie was on vacation for a week, driving the east coast of Superior, sleeping in his small car.  He was really interested in what I was doing, and asked lots of cool questions.  See, I was content alone, and slightly perturbed when he sat next to me, the obvious loner on the beach.  But, I quickly realized that was stupid, and that I enjoyed his company immensely.  Why would I have tried to pass up on an opportunity to meet someone that could, potentially, be really interesting?  And he was.  I’ve never met someone anything like him, and I’m glad he plopped himself in the sand beside me.  On the NE side of the lake was a lightening storm, and I hoped I wouldn’t hit it today.  He assured me I wouldn’t.  I’m so sick of storms.


After talking for a while, I got back on my bike and rode.  Ollie, as seen above, quickly got to collecting rocks.  Apparently that’s why he had stopped, and our 30 minutes together was a simple detour.  He was on vacation, as was I, and had time to kill doing whatever he pleased.  Riding, every single approaching car made me so excited and I couldn’t help but think each was the one I was waiting for–the RV with my aunt, uncle, and sister.

The road goes on.

And I rode and rode and I didn’t stop (because I didn’t want to miss them as they drove towards me) until 4 hours and 53 miles later, when I was crossing a low-lying straight away between 2 hills and saw an RV crest the hill in front of me and begin descending.  I had been CRUISING all day, averaging 13.4mph.

The straightaway.

It flashed its lights a lot, pulled off to the side of the road, and I saw people scurry out of it.  I was still a 1/2 mile away, but knew I was FINALLY seeing the car I’d been waiting for.  YES!  I pulled my hands off the handlebars and idiotically threw them into the air like I’d just won the Tour de France.  This was the first time of my entire ride that I rode hands-free for more than 5 seconds on this behemouth of a bike, and it felt like I was on my regular bike again.  It felt like a regular bike, that is, until it started to wobble and almost threw me to the pavement.  I had been anticipating seeing them so much; I was so happy to finally be almost there.

Chelsea and Aunt Nettie and I

Me, tired.

Mobile restaurant, pulled off the road.

Aunt Nettie cooked some delicious cornbread that mom had sent with her and beans and corn on the cob and pound cake with strawberries.  Oh my god it was the most glorious thing I’ve ever eaten and it was ready within minutes…so much better than the hours I was used to waiting for food.

We all got ready and started riding.  20ish miles later, Aunt Nettie (who was driving, not riding) and the RV (who was an RV, not a person or a bike) were waiting for us in Jacobsen.

Uncle Ron, Chelsea, and Aunt Nettie on the Mississippi River in Jacobsen, MN.

We stopped at the RV and talked about camping there, but decided to cross the Mississippi and continue 16.5 miles to Sandy Lake.  We set up, had showers, REALLY good grilled cheese, and poundcake with fruit on top.  We’re just chillin in the RV now, with fresh air, lights, no bugs and good company.  If I was alone, I’d probably be beside a swamp, hungry, eating bad food, alone, in the dark, listening to coyotes howl, and sleeping on a deflated sleeping pad.  And, it would definitely be storming.

Home on wheels.

I’m glad to have them here.  They even got to ride 30 miles on their first day.  I had an 85 mile day without even realizing it.  Pretty lakes, beaches, clouds, roads, trees.  Awesome.



About @brodyleven

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