Friday, September 11, 2009

Day One Hundred Eight-eight, 090904 - Badger, MN

Day One Hundred Eighty-eight, Date Friday, September 4, 2009
Time in Saddle: 3:37
Distance for the Day: 33.54 miles From Warroad To Badger, MN
Accumulated Trip Distance: 9320.5 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 843’/850’, Highest: 881’ Accumulated: 135’
Speeds: Avg: 9.2 mph, Max: 17.8 mph
Weather: 48°
Expenditures: $6

Woke and got up at 6:08am, and was ready to roll by 6:52am. An orange ball sunrise was at 6:45am on this totally clear, but hazy and inverted day. There were some mosquitoes and slugs, but they posed no real problem, and I was ready to roll by 6:52am. I stopped at a mini mart at 7:40am and got a breakfast of choco milk, Danish, and banana nut muffin ($6). I finished by 8am, and continued on towards the next largish town: Roseau.

Today, I thought I’d do something different, so I started doing some stomach muscle exercises while riding. I’m as skinny as a rock star, now, and thought I should also have the washboard abs that go with that physique. I arrived in Roseau at approx 10am and found their local library. They had such a nice, large, and lightly used bathroom, that I took a sponge bath and changed my clothes (first change since Rochester, NY!) before going out to use their free wi-fi. I still needed to finish figuring out what route I can use to get from Washington back to San Francisco – it looks like there *is* a cycleable coastal route, even though my mapping program doesn’t think there so. However, it also looks like it will be at least as hilly as the coast from San Francisco to Santa Barbara (ugh!) I may try to go through central Oregon for a while to try to lessen all that hill work, but we’ll see.

I spent the day (from 10am to 4:45pm) at the library in Roseau, writing, processing photos, and posting my blogs. Whew! These things really take it out of me, let me tell you. I get kind of hyper-tense if I don’t finish early, and think I might run out of time. But, I did finish, though I still haven’t brought Google Maps up to date – I’m afraid I’m letting that slide a bit. Hopefully, I’ll be able to catch that up someday, but I’m getting *very* concerned about the time I have left, and the amount of distances over mountainous and hilly regions. I’m not sure I’ll make my end-of-October goal. I *am* determined to finish the entire route, though – whatever it takes.

I made it from Roseau to Badger by evening, and started to poke around for a likely stealth camp. I saw a sign for a campground, and thought it might be a free one, so I went to investigate it. I found it, but it was pay-for on an honor-based system. I might have been able to get away with not paying, but I didn’t want to sully my honor, so went just a few dozen more yards up the road, across some railroad tracks, and found a grain loading station next to the tracks that seemed to be relatively unused, that also had a large concrete paved area in back of it (N48 46.967’ W96 1.086’). It seemed okay; there was a high school football game going on close enough for me to hear the announcer, cheerleaders, and crowds, but it wasn’t too bad. A guy walking his dogs passed by just after sunset and saw me setting up my tent. I called out and asked him if trains usually came through at night around here. He said it happened very rarely. Fine. I finished setting up my tent, and hopped inside with my book, trailmix, and Gatorade. It was actually almost warm, and it eventually got dark enough that I had to use my flashlight to continue reading. Pretty soon, I noticed a flashlight playing over my tent, so I called out, ‘hello,’ to which a guy said, ‘whatcha doing?’ I popped my head out and explained my story to the nice police man while he called in my ID. He was cool, and seemed particularly sympathetic when I told him I was laid off – he said a high percentage of the folks around this area were also, now, unemployed, due to some of the larger employers in the area (Polaris and Marvin) laying off a lot of people. After verifying my identity and clean record, he said, “have a nice night,” and left. I’m guessing the weenie walking the dogs ratted me out. Like I was going to do any damage setting up a tent next to a practically abandoned building in this tiny little town. Weenie. I read a bit more, and then put in my earplugs to block out the football game, and went to sleep. No trains came by that night, though the wind picked up at about 1am. Gusts would semi-wake me, but the good news was, it kept everything dry, even my tent fly. The light from the almost full Moon lit up my tent all night, and was low in the west when I got up in the morning.

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