Monday, August 31, 2009

Oh Canada!

Rest Day In Niagara Falls, Ontario August 31, 2009 - Woke up nice and dry in the rustic splendour of the Backpacker's International Hostel, a cozy place with Continental breakfast. Once we got organized this morning we took off on foot to do some sightseeing at the Falls. Roger, Don and Mary and I took the walk "behind the falls" and it was very interesting. Tunnels have been bored behind the falls so that you can actually see and feel the water pouring the falls through portals that open to the falls. There are no windows you actually view the falls from about ten feet from behind them. The portal is about an 8 foot square. The feel part requires a little rain jacket but you also feel the natural power of 34 million gallons a minute of water cascading over the falls. After our trip down to the falls, Art and Jon arrived, were able to stow their bikes at the Police Station and we all bought tickets for the Maid of the Mist. This was the best part of the day. We sailed past the American Falls which includes a smaller falls known as the Bridal Falls and right up to the Horseshoe Falls, the views were incredible with water churning, roaring and rainbows appearing all around. I will post pictures soon. After the falls we headed back to the hostel and another meal with the 8 of us at Basell's. Tomorrow we part company with our Maine friends and head south, over the Peace Bridge back into the US at Buffalo.

Windmill Point Campground on the Quarry at Fort Erie, Ontario to Niagara Fall, Ontario August 30, 2009 - We leave camp laughing about last night's karaoke madness but hope the birthday boy enjoyed himself. Roger and I ended on out in front and cruised along the bike trail heading to Niagara. We were surprised that the trail which bordered a highway was all residential. We expected the ride along the Niagara River to be a pristine river ride with picturesque views, at one point we came out of a wooded area and saw the biggest skyline we have seen thus far-it was Buffalo, NY-what a surprise. We cycled past the Peace Bridge at Buffalo and continued on the Canadian side to the rapids and were nearing the falls. The falls were spectacular and a bit crowded with tourists. The whole scene was pretty disconcerting and I am not sure what we expected but regardless we were at the falls and they themselves were a sight to see. I had not done any research on the falls and learned there are the horseshoe falls on the Canadian side and the America Falls on the U.S. side. Our first order of business was to get the group together and find a place to stay. We found a great little hostel about a mile or so from the falls. The building was built in 1896 and was rustic to say the least but the host, Charley from Quebec, made it the stay quite pleasant . It was overcast with an occasional shower but we had a great dinner at Basell's and hung around for the evening lights on the falls and a fireworks show. We rode bikes down to the falls from Basell's and that was an experience as we went right through the guts of commercialism off of Victoria Street, House of Wax, Ripley's Believe It or Not, Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood, you get the picture. Rode up River Road from the falls after the fireworks and got to bed fairly late for us around 11. Looking forward to a rest day tomorrow and meeting up with Art and Jon from Maine who are on a collision course with us.

Rock Point Provincial Park south of Dunville, Ontario to Fort Erie August 29, 2009 - With last night's rain and this morning's rain our day has been delayed by about 3 hours or so. We finally take off through the muddy park roads out onto the pavement and of all things sunshine. We turned up along the Lake and rode along some nice and not so nice homes along the shore. We mostly were seeing residential development all along the lake with a few really nice estates all the way to Port Colborne. From Port Colborne we debated how far the day's ride would be and decided to make Fort Erie our next destination and go from there. At Port Colborne we ate at the Le Creperie and while eating a huge ship sailed past our window toward the aerial bridge at the Port, it was cool to see the ship sail by so close while we dined. At Port Colborne we got onto a nice bike trail that took us to Fort Erie. We debated about pushing on to Niagara Falls but wisely decided to call it a day in Fort Erie. We stayed at a somewhat pricey RV park on an old quarry called Windmill Point. The park was nice and we did some laundry and continued to dry things out. The downside of our stay was a birthday party and event tent set up about 50 yards from our campsite. I met the birthday boy, an 80 year old local at the washroom. Somehow karaoke was part of the night's festivities and as we tried to sleep a karaoke contest carried on until late-around 11 pm. The last straw for me was a rendition of Mack the Knife. I put in my ear phones and played some Los Lobos to drown out the sounds. I was told later I missed the Elvis songs done later in the evening. Braden complained that night to the management but to no avail as it was winding down about the time he headed to the camp office.

Port Boothe/Boothe Harbour to south of Dunville at Rock Point Provincial Park August 28, 2009 - Good Morning Lake Erie and hello big hill. The wonderful downhill into the park became yet another steep ugly climb first thing in the morning. Once we all pushed or rode up the steepness it was off into the Ontario countryside sometimes along the shore and other times down hilly, wooded country roads. Roger, Lynda and I were really enjoying one such road until we heard the commotion of a horn honking and Don yelling, seems we missed a turn. Don got one of the crew trimming trees to honk at us from his big Volvo tree trimming truck. Back on the right course we hit Port Dover and a great breakfast of French Toast and little sausages at Betty's Bakery and Cafe. Roger and I also bought some chocolate eclairs and fudge for the road. Betty's gets a gold star for good eats. On our way to Dunville we passed a huge US Steel Plant that was on strike and got a shot or two of the picketers. We had a headwind all the way to Dunville and our fun meters were bottoming out. Finally at Dunville we turned out of the wind and made good time to our camp which was the Rocky Point Provincial Park about 11 kms from Dunville. The park was muddy from the rains and we got more during the night and next morning. We went to sleep with our neighbours playing music and partying until the rain started. We all slept well with the pitter patter of rain on our tents.

Port Stanley, ON to Port Boothe/Boothe Harbour, ON (Fin Feather RV Park) August 27, 2009 - Our tents were only slightly wet this more so we guessed we might have a 50% chance of rain. Left the The Campground and went into Port Stanley a quaint little port on Lake Erie with a number of shops and a few inns. In the center of town was a huge hill going our direction so our first climb of the day was a short but steep crawl up from the port to our route. We headed east along the lake shore in and out of several small villages and arrived at Copenhagen for a rest stop at a general store. I called back to Wichita and spoke with Elizabeth a bit about upcoming fall semester class and our environmental project. Back on the road we headed to Port Burwell for lunch and some celery bread we had heard about from other bikers. No rain yet and lunch was good, fish and chips for most of us, along with some celery bread. The celery bread was OK but not sure we got the good stuff in Port Burwell. Had a nasty road outside of Port Burwell and decided to detour and after some tasty ice cream in Port Rowan we found Fin Feather RV park. We had a huge downhill into the park and vowed that we would dread tomorrow's exit and climb back up. The park was beautiful and we were able to camp right on the shore of Lake Erie. Our neighbor was very nice and told of his love for hockey. He was 70 and still playing organized hockey and claimed his league had an 80 year old still playing. The RV neighbors were nice and we enjoyed our camp although most of us retired early that night due to chilly winds and mosquitoes.

Rondeau ON to Port Stanley August 26, 2009 - "Dry tent in the morning, bikers take warning" or so I am told by Roger. Today's ride started with breaking camp and very dry early morning conditions. As we leave Rondeau we ride along the Lake Erie shoreline with lots of nice homes and nicely landscaped and manicured lawns. This residential area slowly turned back to agricultural land with blueberries, apple orchards, more corn and soy beans. About half way out for the day we hit lots of rain several miles outside of New Glasgow. We stopped at New Glasgow at, of all places, the Sunnyside Restaurant, ate and waited out the rain to no avail. We resumed the ride in rain all the way to Wallacetown. The rain finally let up there and we cruised into Port Stanley. Although it was general consensus that we find a motel for the night to dry out we ended up (except for Don and Mary who wisely stayed at a motel) at a free camp called the "The Campground". We had a nice dry campsite and after hanging my hand washed laundry on a fence to dry the owner advised me that I had put it on an electric fence. Fortunately he helped my move it and we both avoided getting shocked.

Algonac, MI to Rondeau, Ontario Canada August 25, 2009 - Left Algonac State Park in Algonac and we made a run to the local Kroger's for food. I bought too much and have the biggest food box on the truck. I have not weighed myself but think I have lost some weight regardless of how many cheese danishes I consume. From Algonac we took a ferry across the St Claire River to Walpole Island, Ontario. In Canada we had about a 45 miles of biking through Wallaceburg had lunch at Crabby Joe's. Saw lots of corn, beets, tomatoes and tobacco. We had some head wind but arrived at Rondeau Provincial Park. Campsite was not the best during the night we thought Don and Mary were out cooking but the noise was racoons invading their panniers for food. Not too impressed with the park but it met our needs and had the services we need. To date we have been on the road for 66 days and cycled about 3000 miles.

Emmett, MI KOA to Algonac, MI August 24, 2009 - Nice ride from our campsite and a short day to the St. Claire River and along a bike path, on which we got lost for a bit, as we headed to Marine City. As we finally got on the right bike path we saw a huge water tower that said East China. Fortunately we were not that lost and found Marine City for a nice lunch at a place on the St. Claire River. I spent 3 hours or so catching up the blog and pedaled solo down to Algonac SP from Marine City arriving about 7 p.m.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Leaving UP and heading through the Thumb of Michigan

Emmett, MI to Algonac, MI August 24, 2009 - Great ride today, the sun's shining on us and we have arrived at the end of our Michigan ride. Have been in this state since August 11 or so I think. Ate breakfast about 10 miles out at Mom's in Memphis, MI, cruised through Rattle Run and St. Clair, MI and I have finally updated the blog here in Marine City, MI. I still need to hop on the bike and pedal on down to Algonac but feel relived to have the blog back up to speed. I have left out a lot of things but will do some edits in the future. You have heard the main points and the bottom line is that we are doing well and will head to Canada tomorrow. More adventures to come I am sure.

Camp BER-WA-GA-NA to Emmett, MI KOA August 23, 2009 - This was another good day of riding. Saw a lot of signs indicating we were in the Thumb. We arrived a Caro, MI in the early afternoon all along the way were many nicely kept farms and vast verdant fields of corn and beans. This was a very rural area, country music playing in the convenience stores, I was quite surprised. Of note is that we also a lot of farms, homes, cars, wheels, even engines for sale. Saw one sign that said I Ain't Got Nothing for Sale-Keep Moving. Outside of Caro we headed toward Emmett KOA for the night. Jim from Detroit drove and spent the evening with us. It was good to see Jim again as he had ridden all the way from Washington with us but had to head back to work and parted with us back outside of Moorhead, MN. Lots of mosquitoes here and after Jim left we did some more planning for the rides ahead as we are still ad libbing our route. Tomorrow Algonac, MI and we will leave the Thumb for Canada.

Midland, MI to Camp BER-WA-GA-NA near Caro, MI - August 22, 2009 - Left Midland and had a fast ride to Bay City. Spent some time cruising through Bay City streets and made to the local bike path which a local said just got paved at a cost of 16, 000 dollars. We are told we are now officially in the "Thumb" of Michigan. Of note is that we passed thru my namesake town, Brown City, which among a few other things, touts itself as being the Birthplace of the Motor Home. No rain today but it seemed threatening all day long and we did have some drizzle. Overall it was a pretty uneventful day as we pressed forward into the Thumb.

Lazy K B&B (Harrison, MI) to Midland, MI August 21 - This was quite a day also but at the other end of the spectrum. We did start out with some rain and had to head down Old Highway 27 with its narrow shoulder, cracks and potholes. Just outside of Cooperton on OH 27 we were treated to a traveling car show. Hundreds of vintage auto were being escorted down the highway by the local police as part of the OH 27 car tour. The cars were from the 30's to the 70's from customs to restorations. Braden stopped in Claire to look at tents at the local outdoor store and we all took a break. At Claire we said farewell to OH 27 and entered Nirvana, that being the Pere Marquette bike trail. This was an absolutely almost perfect bike trail (rail to trail). The sky cleared the path was smooth, the wind blew from behind us and we sailed quite smoothly to Midland, MI. This was one of the most perfect sections of riding we have had and no rain. At Midland we ran into a local biker another Tom who lead us from the end of the trail at Riverfront Park and the Tridge (3 bridges over the two local rivers) to a motel. I took Dana to the regional airport MBS by Bay City so she could get back to Wichita. We all had another dry night in a motel in Midland and dinner a Pi's Chinese buffet. Dana will be missed by all, and most of all by me but she will join us again at the end of the ride.

Happy Days (Fredric, MI) to Harrison, MI August 20, 2009 - What a day! We take off on Old Highway 27, the highway from hell, to Harrison. Getting around Grayling on the Military Road was a little dicey as we were not sure of our way points and distances but we finally made it around the interstate and back onto that damned Old Highway 27. We have not had much rain the entire ride all 60 plus days of it. We got rain, outside of Houghton Lake, MI we pulled into a bait shop and party store for shelter. The owner was a retired "Generous Motors" employee who quite kind to us. Once we thought the rain had subsided we took off in full rain gear regalia. Old Highway 27 had no shoulder, the rain came down, there was limited visibility, cars were honking at us and we pulled off and road in a gravely, muddy shoulder for several miles until the rain eased up and we go back on the treacherous highway. It was still a nasty ride and we had serious safety issues associated with the road and weather conditions. At the town of Houghton Lake we got a break from the rain and had lunch. It was windy when we left but we were out of the rain. Just outside of Harrison we met up with Lynda and Dana who had found us a B&B just outside of Harrison. This was a great find, it knocked a few miles of the day and the owners Wayne and Kathleen were outstanding hosts. We treated ourselves to big screen TV, nice new showers and indoor plumbing at its best. The hosts drove us to and picked us up from a local restaurant. A nice end to a nasty day. Braden and I fought over the lounge chair and ottoman and decided to share, sort of. A dry and quiet night.

Indian River to Happy Days Campground just south of Fredric, MI August 19, 2009 - We rode down Old Highway 27 to the Happy Days camp which was not our original plan but it worked out much better than we had planned which was to stay at Hartwick or some such place. The folks at Happy Days were very accommodating. While sitting around the campfire in the early evening we were surprised by a visit from Tom D' who we had met the night before. Tom was in the area and somehow found that we had diverted our camp destination to Happy Days. Tom gave us more advice and was helpful in pointing out how to get around Grayling, MI and back to Old Highway 27. This reason this is so important is that we have abandoned the Adventure Cyclist maps for awhile and are making up our route as we go. We had rain that night but the skies cleared by morning. Old Highway 27 has some bad stretches and they will get badder as we head south.

Mackinaw City, MI to Indian River, MI Campground August 18, 2009 - Right across the highway from Camp Tee Pee we took a bike trail that would lead us to Indian River. The trail was not paved but nicely packed gravel so it was not bad cycling. Down the road several miles we came to Cheboygan, MI and stopped in at Libby's Cafe, Don and Mary took a different route and ended up at Alice's Restaurant also in Cheboygan. Libby's served some great food and I had an awesome Belgium waffle with strawberries and whipped cream. I was wearing a KU cycling jersey and a women at Libby's asked if I was from Kansas. She was a native Michigander but here husband was from Kansas and they live in Derby during the winter, we had a nice chat and it was back to the road. Somewhere about 5 miles or so back on the trail a huge tree had fallen over the trail so we had to do a little work to get the bikes and the BOB trailers over the tree, this happened twice this day. Overall it was a good cycling day and the small community of Topinabee was a lovely place for a break at the local library. At our destination-Little River we camped at the Burt State Park. A great day, no rain, but it will come. It was at this camp that we met Tom D'Ambrosia a local cyclist who gave us considerable local information about the road ahead.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Going Down That Long Lonesome Road Babe

St. Ignace, MI to Mackinac Island to Mackinaw City, MI August 17, 2009 - Today is a short biking day, in fact we make no progress at all. This morning we took the ferry from St. Ignace to the touristy Mackinac Island for some sightseeing and a trip around the island. It is nice, no cars are allowed on the island so the primary transportation modes are walking, biking and horse drawn carriages. We will be taking the ferry to Mackinac City, MI later this afternoon. We will be heading for central Michigan tomorrow, sightseeing will be over until we get to Niagara Falls in a week or so. Got back to Mackinaw City, not sure why we have Mackinac and Mackinaw but all are pronounced Mackinaw - I think. We camped at the Tee Pee RV park. When Dana joined the ride I told her we would try to stay at motels but we haven't been in one yet!!

Hog Island Campground (near Naubinway, MI) to St. Ignace, Michigan August 16, 2009 - Had some rain off and on during the night. The Waite's, Keith and John are leaving to go back to Kansas. Our core group heads to St. Ignace. The route took along Lake Michigan and sandy beaches, the area was reminiscent of the California coast with the exception of Palm trees. Along the way we met a cyclist and although we did not get his name he was a fun guy and we ran into him several times. He told of his ride around Lake Michigan, see fro more information on this. A bridge was out on the highway and all traffic was detoured along a narrow, but paved, country road. I think we backed up traffic pretty good but most of the motorists were patient. It was during this detour the young couple we met in Manistique pulled up to Braden and said hi. Once we got on the main road ran into some construction work and the shoulder was extremely rough for about 3 or 4 miles. The road smoothed out and we were treated to a UP speciality the pastie (pass-tee) at Lehto's. Lehto's has been selling pasties since 1946. A pastie by the way is a pastry filled with beef, rutabaga, onion and potato. I would have to say Lehto's makes a good pastie. On to St. Ignace and camping at the Straits State Park.

Car trip Hog Island to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan August 15, 2009 - 9 of us went by van to see the locks at Sault Ste Marie, it was a rest day. The Waite's were so kind to let us use the van to make the trip. We spent a good portion of the day visiting the locks and got to see a 1,000 foot ship come through the locks.

Indian Lake to Hog Island Campground August 14, 2009 - We head to Hog Island today and our first stop was in Manistique for breakfast. Met a young couple from south Michigan who were vacationing by car. We saw them again later in the week while we were holding up traffic on a detour. Hog Island campground is right on Lake Michigan and so was our camping spot. It was beautiful but we are getting some cloudy and rainy weather. We will be here at Hog Island for two days. The one thing missing at Hog Island was showers so we rigged up some solar showers and used the Waite's shower tent to take showers, it worked fine.

Escanaba to Indian Lake Campground near Manistique, MI August 13, 2009 - This was another great biking day, once we got off of the main thoroughfare we bike through some beautifully forested areas and quiet country lanes to Indian Point Campground which was about three miles westerly of Manistique, MI in the UP. The campsite was well maintained and right on the lake. Braden, Lynda and Dana took advantage of a nature presentation that evening on Bats. I went to bed early.

August 12, 2009 Hardwood to Escanaba - The three day's rest has done me good, I felt very rested and stronger on the bike. With the Waite's joining us and Dana driving the support truck our number of bikers has grown by 5, so we are 10 strong on the road. At a rest stop we ran into a Kansan from Larnard who was vacationing. The day's ride was great and Escanaba is right on Lake Michigan. We are headed to the UP or Upper Peninsula of Michigan the whole UP thing is another story, seems like it should be part of Wisconsin not Michigan. If you live in the UP the residents are referred to as Yoopers (UP'ers). The UP has it's own State Fair and we stayed at the fairgrounds in Escanaba. The biggest event of the day was a hair cut from nice lady at the Ritz Hair Salon on the main street. Braden and I both needed a hair and beard trim.

Gaastra, MI to Hardwood, MI August 11, 2009 City Center building campsite out in the woods is where the day ended. Dana and I flew from Minneapolis to Iron Mountain, MI, Braden and Lynda picked us up and took us to Hardwood so we could rejoin the ride.

Conover, WI to Pentago Park near Gaastra, WI August 10, 2009 City Park campsite. I am in Rochester, MN with Dana and all went well at the Mayo Clinic except we learned no "magic bullet" to cure sinusitis.

Mercer, WI to Conover, WI (Buckatabon Camp) August 9, 2009 Muskie Festival at Boulder Junction, WI was the major event that the riders ran upon today.

Ashland, WI to Mercer, WI (Loon Lagoon Campground) August 8, 2009 The Waite's of Wichita came to join the ride for a week. Tom and Helen Waite brought some other biking friends from Kansas, Keith and John. Author's note I am in Minneapolis to pick up Dana in preparation for her visit to the Mayo Clinic, I did manage to visit the Mall of America and cruise around Minneapolis this day.

Duluth, MN to Ashland, WI August 7, 2009 - Ain't no use to sit and wonder why babe where I'm bound I can't tell, good bye is too good a work babe so I'll just say fare-thee-well.
Well I'm thinking and wandering biking down the road I got to leave this town before it gets too cold, Duluth your the reason I'm traveling on, don't think twice it's all right. The Moniger's(Gene and Earlene) formerly of Wichita and now living in Northfield, MN came up to join us. The Moniger's kindly agreed to give me a ride to Minneapolis to meet Dana, my wife. I rode to Maple, WI from Duluth and then we headed by van to Minneapolis. The main thing I recall from the ride is that we crossed the bridge over to Wisconsin in violation of traffic laws and that Superior, WI was in great need of some major street repair. We took a bike trail from the edge of Superior onto a major highway for the rest the ride, at least my share of it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Heading for Bob Dylan Country

Rest Day in Duluth August 6 - We are in Duluth, Blues festival this week end but we will be on our way to Wisconsin. I will have to go back to Minneapolis to pickup Dana for her trip to the Mayo Clinic. Bob Dylan was born here but grew up about 40 miles west in Hibbing. Did not get a chance to see Bob Dylan Way or take in some of the Bob stuff available in Duluth. More later.

Sandy Lake Campground to Duluth August 5 - We took off from Sandy around 8ish on brand new fresh asphalt brought to us with Obama bucks, federal economic stimulus funds. This was a pleasant change from some of the rough roads we encountered in the previous days in this part of Minnesota. We got off of the new road and onto a nice quite road pretty much to Carlton MN where we got on the Munger Bike Trail. I was having a good day riding feeling fairly strong and we all shot right into Duluth about 2 blocks from the Indian Point Campground along Lake Superior. The accommodations were not as nice as Grand Rapids or Sandy but served our needs.

Grand Rapids MN to Sandy Lake Campgrounds August 4 - We couldn't leave GR without breakfast at Dottie's Cafe. Don and Mary ate their the night before or at least noted its presence. Breakfast was very good at Dottie's and a there were several locals who spoke with us about our ride. One local had tried to do a cross country previously and on the same route as we are taking. His story was that we was jealous of us as he only made it to eastern Washington, got a ride to Spokane and left his bike behind as he had no way to transport. I believe he had some health issues associated with a fluid filled lung. He told us if he had know we were in town we could have stayed at his home!? Braden and another local struck up a conversation about the ride and some observations about travel in general. The local stated and confirmed my suspicion that Grand Rapids had no rapids. He also maintained that did Grand Rapids MI and Great Falls MN had no falls, either. After pancakes and other breakfast fare at Dottie's we headed out toward Sandy Lake. Yet another local (a guy with a fishing motif t-shirt that said "Gittin Any") told of a back way out of town that turned out to be a low traffic paved road that work out well for us. We stopped at a convenience store and heard that Art and Jon, our Maine friends, had been their the day before. This campground has earned 4 gold stars from our group. Everything at the camp was great and the camp host even delivered us with some firewood. We all cooked dinner at the campgrounds and turned in around 10 pm which is pretty much our normal time.

Pennington MN to Grand Rapids August 3 - A little longer ride today and it was delayed by a very heavy fog. We hung out in Pennington at a small grocery store for about an hour waiting for the fog to lift. The ride was very scenic through the Chippewa National Forest I believe with some tail wind. Don's sister met us at a small restaurant in Bena about half way and brought along some snacks for later which consisted of smoked salmon and whitefish, salmon spread and a pecan pie. From Bena we headed past Lake Winnibigoshnish to Ball Club and on into Grand Rapids. I haven't seen any rapids and this town is not to be confused with Grand Rapids, MI. Grand Rapids is the largest town we have stayed in in awhile, we sampled the Don and Mary's smoked salmon and went different directions into town for food, library public computers/wireless and other needs. Grand Rapids was a great town and the fairgrounds camping was outstanding, good showers, laundromat, clean with lots of trees and it sets next to a lake, mosquitoes were minimal. We liked this town nice amenities beautiful library, Art and Jon from Maine our previous riding partners had stayed there the night before.

Avay Up Nort Campgrounds (adjacent to Itasca State Park) to Pennington MN August 2 - We continue to have some nice cycling weather but did run into some rain today the most since we left Anacortes, WA. The rain wasn't terrible but did get shoes and socks wet. Once it quit raining the ride was very nice. We had lunch (BBQ) and saw Paul Bunyan with Babe the Blue Ox in Bemidji. The ride was mostly dry and we ended up at a campground outside the tiny town of Pennington after about a 1/2 mile of ride on a dirt road. We enjoyed warm showers, laundry and a nice lodge in the basement of the camp office. Of note was the laundry, in order to dry our clothes it took two of us to get the dryer going. One to hold the dryer door switch and spin the tumbler and the other to push the start button. In the beginning we had three of us doing this one on the stuck tumbler, one on the door switch and the other hitting the start button. A nice little extra after a day of wetness. The place wasn't great but adequate for our needs and right on a beautiful fishing lake. Early to bed here, prior to going to my tent I fell asleep at the lodge in the only recliner I have seen since leaving Wichita, I nearly knocked Braden over to get to it. After a nap in the recliner in the "lodge" I and the others all went to our tents fairly early so the mosquitoes would not haul us off. These mosquitoes are nasty and plentiful up here.

Calloway MN to Avay Up Nort August 1 - Left Calloway and headed toward Itasca State Park famous for being at the headwaters of the Mississippi. The Mississippi is so small you can walk across it at this point. Itasca is also one of the most popular parks in Minnesota so we could not get a spot at the campground and ended up at the Avay Up Nort, we are definitely in Norwegian country here. We had a nice camping area at Avay Up Nort and the owner came by with firewood to tell us some Ole and Lena as well as Ole and Sven jokes. The owner also told us that his wife was 100 percent Norwegian and that he thought it would be fun to name the camp something catchy playing off of the Norwegian accent of the region, doncha know. We were joined by a motorcyclist, Keith from Philadelphia, who hung with us until it was escape the mosquitoes/bed time. Keith was headed to Idaho on his Suzuki and shared some touring stories of a car wreck and later ghosts at one of his camp sites. Eerie stuff, can't wait until morning to get away from the mosquitoes and down the road.

Moorhead to Calloway July 31 - We leave for Calloway with Jim and head out through some unpaved roads to Highway 10 and on to Calloway. Somewhere about 5 miles or so out Jim says his goodbyes to us, in addition to those we said back at the KOA. Jim is heading back to Detroit area and his job as a funeral director. Thanks for the good times Jim and I will enjoy sitting in the fine baby blue camp chair you sold me!! Biggest incident of the day was Braden's rapid tailwind ride past our turn to Calloway. I was sure Braden was never coming back until the border patrol stopped him at the Canadian border. Somehow he realized we were not with him and finally turned back. We got to tiny Calloway after a brief lunch in Hitterdal. Calloway had nice city park for camping and a brand new convenience store with wind turbines supplying their power. It rained and we all took a nap in our tents waiting out the rain. Some fixed dinner at the camp site and some ate at the convenience store. Everyone slept well and we had a little more rain.

Rest Day Fargo/Moorhead July 30 - Decided to rest and have some maintenance done today on Jim's bike and the support vehicle (Roger's Ranger truck). Prior to running these errands in Fargo Art and Jon bid farewell (the two from Maine who had ridden with us since Republic, Washington) to us. Art said a prayer for us and mentioned Dana in his prior regarding her upcoming visit to the Mayo Clinic. It was sad to see Art and Jon go but we knew they would be leaving us since their route to Maine will take them on a different path than ours to Washington DC. Hopefully we will meet up again with Art and Jon on BAK ( or on a Prince Edward Island ride in the future. Also sad was Gary's departure, he decided to go back with Ardith to Wichita citing his previous shoulder injury as a factor. Our rest day group is now down to the original 6 of us plus Jim from Detroit who will ride out tomorrow with us and head southeast somewhere down the road.