I have the experience that I am looked after. No matter where I am the people I meet are friendly and generous. The day before yesterday started off with sunshine but the forecast called for rain. I got about 50 miles into the ride and found myself racing with a really dark rain cloud. It was closing on me and I noticed that the bottom bracket of my front rack had broken and my panier bag was hitting my spokes each time I went over a bump. I pulled into a house with an over hang to get some shelter from the rain and to assess the problem with my rack. Right away the owner came out and offered me shelter in his garage. I found that the bottom right bracket of my rack had broken and the fix would be to drill a new hole to make a new mount - the rack would be a little twisted but it would work. My host found a drill and a drill bit that fit and I was quickly back to operating condition. Then he filled up my water bottles. The rain had passed and I was again on the road. Riding a little further, another more ominous rain cloud enveloped me and it was raining so hard that I couldn't see the road anymore. I pulled off the road and into another house where the Anderson's lived. I was quickly invited inside to get out of the rain. Soaking wet at this point I was offered a towel. They happened to be eating dinner and offered me a plate of hotdish and a big glass of milk. They had seen me on TV a few days before and were excited to know what I was doing and to see my website. After a while the rain stopped and I was on my way. On my way out Mrs Anderson gave me some money for the road. Many thanks to the Anderson family! Now that the sun was shining again I was able to make it to my destination for the day - Turtle Lake. Upon arriving I found the RV park but the checkin was closed and wouldn't open until after I left the next morning - a free night! I set up my tent and then went over to the gas station/McDonald's to see if I could find a snack to put on top of the hotdish I got from the Andersons. Another cyclist happened in and I asked him what he was up to. He said that he and about 300 other cyclists were on a 6 day trek and that they were all camping at the highschool a few blocks down the road. Cool! After eating I headed down the road - on my unloaded bike and found the group. I immediately started a conversation with Sue, Keith, Kevin, Scott, and a couple others. We shared some fun stories and then went into the school where a TV was showing the Fox 9 News who had filmed me leaving Minneapolis earlier in the day. We didn't see anything about my ride on the news but we had a fun time talking about our biking adventures. The next day, Keith and Scott came by my campsite to wish me good and safe travels. Scott has a website (www.bicycledreamer.com) and gave me a wristband with the words "Seeing Magic In Life Everyday" ... take the first letters of each word and see what it says :) Great people!
Now, I am eating breakfast in Hawkins WI at "Fred's Way to Go" bar, talking to the locals and the bartender, Charlie, who offered my breakfast on the house. Thanks Charlie!
See mom - I'm looked after :)
At the campsite last night I met some of the people from the Lion's club who were having a meeting. I spoke with Pete about my ride and then shared some of my stories with him and his clubmates in the parking lot.
I need to recap some more of my experience riding in to Minneapolis last week. It was kind of surreal seeing the outline of the city come up on the horizon. I rode 2100 miles to arrive here... a place where I have had so many experiences and made so many friends. And a place where I have grown and changed in so many ways. It was an exciting experience arriving in Minneapolis. I found so many reasons why I love Minneapolis including the people, the bike trails, the lakes and rivers, the open spce, my friends and neighbors... the list goes on. As my time in Minneapolis continued I found myself reliving some of the things that have kept me from really commiting to being in Minnesota... It's an interesting life to say the least - and I'm loving it!
Today (July 13) I rode to Rhinelander Wisconsin and got filmed by the local TV station - channel 12. Check out the link in "Contacts and Press"
Upon arriving in Rhinelander I checked my telephone messages and found a message from my dad saying that a radio station in Hamilton Ontario (CHML)was going to call me at 6:40 to interview me live on the Scott Thompson show. He called promptly at 6:40 and I was interviewed live for about 10 minutes. That was cool!
Tonight I am staying at Evan Miller's place. How did I happened to meet someone who lives in Rhinelander Wisconsin you ask!? Well, his girlfriend happens to teach at the yoga studio I frequent in Minneapolis, she heard about my ride and let Evan know about it. Turns out my route went within a few blocks of his house, so he wrote to me and offered a place to stay. What a guy. Thanks Evan! We cooked some steaks and hot dogs and took a tour of Rhinelander, stopped at the local establishment for some beers and pool, and then went back to watch my Rhinelander TV debut. The spot aired several times and as I was leaving Rhinelander the next morning a lot of cars honked and waved.
It's only been a few days since I left Minneapolis, but with so many new experiences and people it seems like a hundred days have passed. Thank-you everyone for making this such an amazing experience. Too much fun! Somebody come and share it with me!
So, now for the serious business - I'm at almost $6000 in donations and I'd like to leave the US on Monday with a square $10000... who wants to help? :)
Starting to get a little incoherent as the night progresses later and later...
Storms predicted for tomorrow afternoon... guess I'll try to get an early start.
Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite!