Day One Hundred Eighty-two, Date Saturday, August 29, 2009
Time in Saddle: 8:30
Distance for the Day: 73.12 miles From Iron River To Proctor, MN
Accumulated Trip Distance: 8509.2
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 1050’/990’, Highest: 1120’ Accumulated: 2333’
Speeds: Avg: 8.6 mph, Max: 31.7 mph
Weather: 45° cold, overcast all day, with bouts of light rain, drizzle, mist, etc.
I woke up at 5:52am and got up at 6:10am. It was a bit chilly this morning, but at least most everything was dry; the trees stopped dripping, and the remnants of paved road were dry. I broke down and packed away my gear. The sky was overcast – didn’t quite look like it would rain at the moment, but then again, the day was young. There was two slugs and one daddy long legs on my ground tarp, but that was it. The song in my head this morning was Bob Seger’s, “Against The Wind.” By 7:06am I was ready to roll on Hwy 2 with the shoulder that barely fits me, but at least it’s not raining. Yet.
I stopped in Iron River from 8:45am – 9:18am at a mini mart to have breakfast of choco milk, Danish, and muffin + some food items ($11). I tried calling Auntie M, but the cell signal was too weak here, and she couldn’t hear me, though I could hear her just fine – weird. I’d try again, tomorrow. There was some clear sky way ahead of me, but that closed up and it started looking a little more threatening. Continued on towards Duluth, pumping away on the mostly level terrain through the dull, gray day. Stopped for a quick lunch from 12-12:24pm – I just had the 2nd half of my Subway sandwich, a soda, and read my book. Then continued on. I only got to see some clear sky off in the distance at about 5:30pm, otherwise, it was totally overcast, misty, cold and kind of nasty – enough to wear the rain gear but just barely. Ugh! I didn’t know it until the next day, but from the town of Adolph, I took an accidental three-mile southeast detour from my northwest route and entered the town of Proctor, MN. (When I can’t see the sun, my sense of direction can easily be lost.) I spoke with a local about possible stealth campsites, and he suggested the town’s athletic fields complex just down the street, by their civic center. Wow, there were several fields, with bleachers, lights – the works. For this tiny little town that was only about a quarter-mile long and had two whole gas stations, this seemed a bit excessive. Nevertheless, at about 7:30pm, just before sunset, I found my stealth camp. Everywhere was wet from all the rain and drizzle of the day, but there was a bathroom building with eves and dry walkways around it (N46 44.113’ W92 13.648’), so I set up my tent on the dry concrete, there (I love dry concrete). I hopped in with a bag of Frito’s chips, a lemonade, trail mix, and my book, and ate, drank, and read until 9pm, when I went to sleep. Unfortunately, this site also had a couple of bright, orange sodium vapor lights right above me, but I just pulled my knit cap over my eyes, and it was okay. I had a couple of visits from trucks passing by, but they didn’t bother me, or alert anyone, so I was okay.