July 12

13 07 2009

Day 35:

We all enjoyed our stay at the Prairie Lodge in Pekin – a little too much as some of us slept in again. Mom found some coffee in the kitchen fridge and quickly brewed a pot – hooray! Next on the menu was oatmeal which most of us enjoyed. Knowing that meals would be a problem today, we had loaded up on some snacks the night before at the Peek In Pub to get us through until days end.

Heading out it looked like it might be a great day. The wind had died down and then changed to our backs. Enjoying this tailwind was a bit short lived as Zach broke a spoke on his rear wheel. Of course it was a spoke on the drive side and required the sprocket be removed. Quite an ordeal but thanks to Larry at the Fargo Island Park bike store Brian and Jake knew what they were doing and how to leverage some make shift tools. After a short while, we headed off with a couple more stops to check Jake and Zach’s tires for rubbing issues. As lunchtime approached, we had to decide whether to enter the small village of Warwick on the Indian reservation and see if there were any places to get lunch or if we would make do with what we had on us. We decided to take the plunge and landed in the middle of a youth rodeo in progress – complete with concession stand. They had everything we could possibly want including the best sugar donuts, freshly made this morning. We enjoyed lunch while watching the little kids trying to ride bucking broncos and doing pole bending and barrel racing. I had to explain some of the finer points of horse shows to the kids. All in all, it ended up being a really fun interlude.

Off we headed with Minnawanken as our destination. Again, we had a tailwind and very flat roads through the Spirit Lake Sioux Indian Reservation. Beautiful. Apparently, the wind gods thought we were enjoying ourselves too much because the next victim was Maggie’s bike. She lost the use of all her small gears, leaving her only 19, 29 and 39 useable and she also had a broken spoke on the drive side. Zach and I had arrived at the top of a hill a little way ahead of Brian, Maggie and Jake and stood there wondering what they were doing two hills back. They finally caught up after trying to at least lock the gears in a more useable gear, but to no avail. Needless to say, Maggie was not happy. I won’t tell you what her exact words were. Even with just three gears, she managed to lead the group and cruise along for the next 40 miles…

Despite this setback for Maggie, we flew along with the help of the wind again at our backs. Took a short break at a gas station next to a large casino run by the reservation. A beautiful spot right on Devil’s Lake. We have been told by locals that this large lake has been rising several feet a year for the past several years and many people have had to move their homes as the land went under water. Continued on another 40 miles to Minnawanken which is also on Devil’s Lake and checked into the Spirit Water Inn and Resort. A local stayed open late to make us some pizza and we then spent some time replacing Maggie’s spoke and adjusting spokes to true the kids wheels. Chatted with some fishermen in the next cabin about the trip and a few minutes later, they brought us some freshly caught and cooked walleye – yummy.

So, the day had its highs and lows and we managed to put in 68 miles. Even better, we’ve been told we’ll have another east wind tomorrow. Let’s hope we can find a place along the way to get Maggie’s bike repaired so we can really rack up the miles. Time to relax a bit before bed.

Carolyn

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2 responses

13 07 2009
Dan Brown

Hi,
My buddy Jim and I did the trip last year west to east. He said to see your blog, brings back great memories, except you win on the number of mechanical problems. Looks like you’re heading up to route 2, We took that from Washington to Michigan. From where you are Route 2 is pretty good and gets less traffic the further West you go. Minot is your last big city. Except for Williston they get really small and far apart. Saco is the mosquito epicenter of the universe! Do not plan to stay in Poplar, not very welcoming. No bike shops from Minot until the other side of the Rockies. It is a gradually climb from where you are at up to the top of the Rockies at Marias Pass then 57 miles down to West Glacier Montana. Scenery looks the same until Marias then it is spectacular. Good luck, have a great time and get an early start on the day and beat the afternoon winds! Dan

13 07 2009
Jen and Brian

Hi Carolyn and all the gang!!
Glad to see all continues to be exciting on your trip! We have been able to enjoy sun for three whole days now back here
in Dover. Ride safe.

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