July 8

8 07 2009

Day 31:

After about 60 miles we were able to cross another state of the list as we left Minnesota and rode into North Dakota. For most of the day we cruised along with a nice tailwind behind us. Though leaving a little later than usual we made great time along the remaining rolling hills of Minnesota. We came across a couple on a tandem heading east (battling our nice wind), and another guy they had met recently, so we stopped to chat, compare routes, and give advice about what lies ahead for one another. By lunch time we were more than half way, having ridden a pretty easy 36 miles. The Mainline Bar and Grille appeared in the middle of nowhere just in time for lunch and was about the only place we saw for food within 40 miles. It seemed like we finally had a near perfect day, but with about 10 miles to go things started to fall apart. A road detour slowed us down a little and Dad discovered two broken spokes on his wobbly rear wheel. While we stopped to check out the area and find a hotel, Jake managed to get a small rock in his eye. Dad came to the rescue by dumping saline solution all over him, and the rock was eventually removed. But…then Jake’s nose started bleeding. I told you everything fell apart all at once. When we were finally ready to get going, and head to the the bike store, another biker (Zach) came along and asked if we needed a bike shop. We told him where we were headed and it turned out to be the same store where he works and was headed himself. So, he led us to the store just a few miles away. Thanks Zach! The Island Park Bike Shop is really cool, and very classy. They are located in a big old train station and have a very unique store. They even have a 5 person bike hanging on the wall…not sure we could handle that. Dad and Jake headed to the workshop to get their wheels looked at and the rest of us checked out the store, enjoyed some gelato at the nice in store eatery, and chatted with a few other bikers, some of them heading east. It’s funny how the locals talk about having to drive at least an hour to ride some decent hills…I guess it really is flat out here. We are going to leave all the bikes there overnight to get a final tune up before we head out for the second half of the trip, where shops will become far less available. A few of us transported the gear to the hotel and headed for dinner, while Jake and Dad went in search of Jake’s phone (thought to be left on the side of the road…during the eye/nose incident). The phone was never found, but thanks to insurance another one will be here tomorrow. We spent about an hour after dinner running around the hotel testing the rooms, until we finally found one with the wi-fi promised by the hotel. Understandably, we are all very tired after such an eventful day…its crazy how quickly things can change. We are planning to take tomorrow off (our first full rest day) to get some much needed rest, do some laundry, and make sure we are all ready to tackle the plains. Thanks to Larry and the guys at the shop for showing us how to repair the spokes and for getting the bikes ready to go!