Friday, August 31, 2007

Rock Falls, IL

Howdy from Rock Falls, at least I'm pretty sure that's where I am, as they all seem to run together and I get confused easily. :>) I'm tired, but had a pretty good sleep last night. Woke up several times and listened to the coyotes singing back and forth, but I was safe in my tent...along with my food. They would die a horrible death if they tried to get that! Of course I could have lured them in and then cooked them!

I'm at a Super 8 tonight as I needed a shower as even the mosquitoes wouldn't bite me! So after a shower I'm here at the library and then to the laundromat to wash the bike clothes. I have to wash them periodically or the caustic sweat would eat them off me (the PH's will understand ;>) ). A sunny day with more hills and more valleys mixed in. A pretty ride and tomorrow I get back on the ACA route and the schedule resumes. At least then I'll know where the campgrounds and camping parks are so that will help. But it's really been a great detour and am glad that it happened. Last year Ann and I drove the portion that I had to skip on this trip so I really didn't miss a lot, except some significant hills.

Todd, you were asking me when my Ohio ETA is. It looks like I'll be in Monroeville, Indiana, on the Ohio border, on Sept. 5 or 6 and then will travel south in Indiana until I'm west of somewhere between Springfield and Dayton, Ohio and then cut east to the Little Miami bike trail and when I hit that turn south and burn the pavement home to my woman! So I should be home the 8th or 9th, and then Ann heads to Cleveland for a week! Can I time it or what?! I may call her boss and tell him that she can't make it as I'll be holding her hostage.

With the Labor Day weekend here the campgrounds are all full so I should have some luck with the city parks as they seem to allow camping in them, but they are limited to what services they provide,like showers so I'll be hitting a few motels in between. Oh well, who's going to complain? Dick Cocks is going to come over and ride across Indiana with me so he'll be the only one to suffer. So that's the scoop from here.

If I get home on the 9th then it will have taken me exactly 2 months on this journey as I left July 10. It sure doesn't seem that long ago that I left, unless I start thinking about Ann and then it seems that long. I think I went over 3000 miles today! Will check that out when I fill out my journal tonight. I've been writing in it every day so that will be fun to go back and read later. I figure that is the only way I will remember a lot of it. A guy on the flight out told me I should write a book, as he was a publisher. But I doubt that will happen. So it's time to hit the Laundromat so later as I'm hungry too. Peace Paul

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Warren, IL

Howdy! Yep, one more state under my belt as I entered Illinois a short distance back and am taking a break at the library. Today is a beautiful day, but the hills are plentiful! There are a lot of dairy farms and everyone is busy in the fields. Me, I'm just busy being me and that's a full time vocation.

I stayed at Gov. Dodge State Park and it was nice, but I didn't sleep very well as I was awake at 12:30 and read for several hours and then just laid there until I finally fell asleep around 4. I'm going to try and camp tonight and then I'll probably have to motel it since all the campgrounds are full for the Labor Day weekend. I may be able to camp in some city parks. Out west you can camp in most of them for free, but here in the east if they allow it they charge you. Not much so it isn't too bad.

Tomorrow I should be back on the ACA route so that will be nice. I have really enjoyed riding in Wisconsin even though it is fairly hilly, and some of them were long. I tried to explain what a ceasar salad was at a McDonalds today as I ordered one and it was a regular salad, but it fell on deaf ears. But I was tired so I didn't grab the manager and try to get it to sink in. Just kidding, I think. Stood outside and talked to a guy about bents for quite a while as he is very interested in getting one. He even went on Barcroft's website last night so was happy to see one.

If anyone is thinking about getting a tracfone, save your money and just buy a megaphone! I figure if I had a megaphone I could yell loud enough for most of you to hear me. ;>) The coverage is pretty lousy. I'm not sure if it's the phone or the service, but either way I have very little service. I almost tossed it in the garbage this morning, but thought better of it. That's all from here so take care and I'm getting closer! Woohoo! Peace Paul

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Spring Green, WI

Hi, I stopped for lunch and there is a library here, and since I plan to camp tonight, I won't be near a computer. We had a pretty good storm last night so was glad I was in a motel. Left at 8:30 this morning and so far have gone 47 miles. I had to take a detour as Rt. 80 was closed 5 miles down the road and I didn't feel like riding the 5 miles and then finding out I couldn't get around it and have to ride the 5 miles back as the secondary roads were scarse. I thought about the bike trail, but it was crushed stone and the bent doesn't like that surface. So I headed east and then south and I had a tail wind so life was good. There were some hills, but not too bad and it was another pretty ride.

It's been cloudy all day with the sun peeking out once in a while. It's not supposed to rain and will be sunny for many days with cooler temperatures. Hey, they promised me that on the tele this morning!

There is a state park about 20 some miles down the road so will probably stop there for the night. Hopefully they will have some spots that aren't flooded as there are a lot of low spots under water. Plus the mosquitos will probably be hovering just waiting for me to climb off the bike and then attack me full force. I've got the heavy duty 98% deet crap so that should at least slow them down. That stuff is powerful, I got some on the foam of my helmet and it actually melted a little of it! Now that's a little scary, if you ask me. But as long as it keeps the little buggers at bay I won't complain too much.

Clarke, make sure Mayor Mike makes them pave the whole street and not just patch it. You listening Mike? ;>) If I have to take matters in to my own hands I won't be responsible for the results! I should be home in a couple weeks so hopefully I'll bring some rain with me and some cooler temperatures. You guys have suffered enough. And I'll probably be walking the street asking for donations to help defray the water bill! Later and have the hood ready for my arrival, I like a neat looking street. :>))

Jesse, it's fine that you you asked for good thoughts my way. I wondered who the stranger was. Take care.

Dick C., I need your tracfone number, so can you email it to me so we can make contact when I get in Illinois. It looks like Iraquois (sp) would work well as it's just inside the Illinois border from Indiana. I don't have service again so hopefully will have in Illinois. Paul

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hillsboro, WI

Hi from Hillsboro, WI and today was a beautiful ride with all sun! A fairly strong headwind the first 40 or so miles and hilly the last 31 with two significant climbs. One was over Wildcat Mountain and was complete with switchbacks and the whole smear. Great climb! It was also hot to boot. But the long valley I rode through prior to the climb was superb. I tell you that Wisconsin is one beautiful state and I'm pleasantly surprised. There was an older gentleman cruising down the road about 3 mph and as he went by me he told me I had a long climb coming up. This was after Wildcat so I wasn't too concerned. It was long, but not too bad, not as hard as Wildcat.

The valley had a lot of Amish farms and was scenic.

The tendon didn't give me any trouble today so that is good and after the climbs I declare myself healed. There is supposed to be a big storm coming in tonight and rain for tonight and tomorrow so will see how that plays out. With the strong winds that could be the front moving in. I sure hope it switches from the south or tomorrow is going to be another rough day, but the last I heard it will switch and be out of the north northwest! Woohoo! Do I feel a tailwind?!! Sure hope so. They just told me I had to get off so later folks. Still a blast!! Paul

Monday, August 27, 2007

Black River Falls

Howdy, grab a cup of coffee and sit back because this could take a while. Yesterday on the way in to Black River Falls I stopped and asked a couple guys about camping in Black River or Sparta. Actually there was a campground right there, but it said no one under 18. Oh wait, I'm over 18. Turns out it was clothing optional depending on what party he had scheduled. So knowing how Ann would react I opted to move on. ;>) I don't live by the saying 'what goes on in Black Water, stays in Black Water'. So I stopped at a motel and asked them what they had, but wanted to camp so went to the campground which was a real nice state park with nice facilities. In fact, I wasn't even going to put the rain fly on as it just makes the tent hotter inside. But then I thought that if it did, by some odd chance rain, then I would be hustling to get it on, so I put it on. It was so nice outside I even started a fire and sat and read by it.

Then about 4 am a hear a little rumble some distance off and think, smart move Paul, but since I put the fly on it will just blow over. It started getting louder and louder and still no rain so am thinking maybe I'll luck out. Yeah, right! Then the rain started and I fell back asleep several times in between the lightning blinding me and the thunder deafening me. But hey, the tent was keeping me dry so after it got light I just started reading, and reading, and then read some more. Under the trees even after the rain stopped I was getting dripped on pretty heavily. Then I decided that the water was starting to seep in under the tent so I bailed.

So I'm now back at the motel I stopped at last night and have to go back and dry everything out! And it was predicted to be so nice! So now they are calling for more rain tonight so I feel I made a good move. I walked in and told the guy, "don't even say it!" and then paid for the room. We had a good laugh over it. Tomorrow is supposed to be better. So will see how it goes.

I really like Wisconsin and may think about a trip up through and around Lake Superior, are you listening Tom Luvtheteleturn? It's a pretty state, but wet! ;>) I need to walk to Wal Mart and get more ibuprofen for the tendon so today will be busy as drying everything out is such a pain in the butt. The Lake SUperior trip may be on the Merlin if it's as hilly as Tom said. So wish Ann had some of this rain to help relieve her of all the watering she's doing. That's all for now so it's onward and hope to stay drier. Paul

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Black River Falls State Park, WI

Paul is nursing his Achilles tendon by medicating with ibuprofen – so didn’t push and only covered 40 miles today. He is having beautiful weather – sunny and in the 70s, though there were strong headwinds. He found a very nice campground and has decided to spend two nights there so he can rest his injury tomorrow. The campground has showers and the mosquitos “aren’t bad”, meaning the citronella insect repellant actually is working. He’s all ready checked out the operating hours of the library in town so he’ll be posting to the blog and answering e-mail when they open in the morning. Ann

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Augusta, WI

Greetings from Augusta, WI I was passing through town and found the library so thougth I would post a new message. I'm heading a little farther on route 12 and hit an RV park for the night. My achilles tendon is pretty sore so I've been nursing it along and just took my last ibuprofen so need to stop and get some more while in town here.

I stopped at Eau Claire and picked up the proper tubes and the guy at the bike shop just traded me, which I thought was pretty cool, but he wouldn't trade the tire, which I could understand. So now will fix the front leak. I'll have about 60 or 65 miles in today so will still be a respectable day and will probably do a lot of ankle massaging tonight. The PH pride was just a little too strong on that hill out of Stillwater!

I started out this morning thinking I was going to get wet so I really pushed it to Eau Claire and that didn't help the tendon and then the sun came out and it's a beautiful day! Of course while I was ring through Eau Claire on a 6 laner some guy sticks his head out the window and is telling me I'm causing an accident so I told him I didn't see one and to get on a freeway. I was riding near the curb, but they kept squeezing between me the other lane so I took the lane. I tried to catch back up to him at the light to ask him where he was going in such a hurry, but he rolled the window up and took off. Oh well. He really needed to chill and just relax and enjoy the beautiful day! Plus, I had my pepper spray ready! ;>)

Just went over 2600 miles and getting closer to home. For those who know Tim Creamer from Athens, he just finished Paris-Brest-Paris and Tom said that he thought he did it in the allotted 90 hours! Quite a feat, but then he is a real animal on the bike! Congrats to him! So I'm off to the grocery and then to the RV park and dry the tent and tent fly as it gets wet at night. Later. Paul

Friday, August 24, 2007


Despite the 10% grade climb out of Stillwater, most of the 48 miles today were rolling hills, beautiful valleys and just a pretty ride. It was sunny and in the 70s – so a “10” day. Paul did complain about a sore left Achilles tendon as a result of the climb but felt that the stir-fry vegetables he had at the Chinese restaurant last night would help heal that quickly! In addition, he bought some fresh sweet corn at a gas station during a break this afternoon and was planning on that for dinner tonight. He is camping in the Knapp, WI city park since it is dry. He IS still concerned about hitting flood ravaged areas as he turns south towards home – as they have gotten worse over the past week. Hopefully, the lands will dry out by the time he gets there. It would have been disastrous to head south in Minnesota, and he would have missed the beautiful country he rode through today. Tomorrow he plans a stop at a bike shop at Eau Claire, WI, to get the right size tubes for his front tire. He’s nursing a slow leak that holds for a day or two but really needs replaced. Ann

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stillwater, MN

Greetings to my friends! I got soaked again today, but not until the last 15 or so miles. Before that it was just fog. I woke up dry and then stepped out of the tent and was immediately soaked in a wet fog blowing off the lake. After the very weird dreams of Tim Creamer making chocolate and me sampling the product and the other dreams I was having I was ready to hit the road as I thought I would get out of the fog after leaving the lake area. Wrong again, so I turned on all the flashers I had and it was okay. I crossed in to Wisconsin and then meandered around and crossed the St. Croix River back in to Minnesota at Stillwater where I'm spending the night at the Days Inn as I still don't want to camp in the rain.

Hostel Shoppe was supposed to send me my tire and two tubes to a local bike shop here and they were to call them first and arrange the delivery and let them know I would pick it up. So I get here and the guy I talk to at the motel says he thinks they went out of buisness. I call the shop and sure enough they were no longer in buisness as I guess the bikes and skate board buisness isn't that good in Stillwater. So I call Hostel Shoppe and sure enough they had shipped the tires to the shop! Go figure, since they didn't get an answer when they called the shop they shipped them anyway. But, I handled it well and told them I'd look at the maps somemore and call them back and rearrange the drop off. I didn't even yell at her this time. Sure hope the front tire doesn't go flat where I can't patch it! Did I just jinx myself?

The weather is looking favorable for the next couple of days according to the weather I'll probably get rained on every day. :>) Oh well. I need to go back to my room and see if I can dry my clothes since there isn't a laundry room here. I think I saw an iron in the room so maybe it's sink washing and drying by just might work. Later. Paul

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Center City, MN

Despite the weather forecasts for continuing storms in Minnesota, Paul had a dry, mostly sunny, 68 mile ride today with calm winds and a nice breeze to keep the temperature comfortable. He had a late start, after being up later than normal doing some preventative maintenance on the bike and putting a new tube on his back tire, then enjoying his motel bed for every possible moment. He had to detour this morning when he hit a closed road. He at first thought that he might be able to get through it anyway, but talked with a local guy in a pickup truck who discouraged him from trying to jump over the several culvert replacements in progress. So he discussed alternate routes and ended up on some scenic back roads.

He stopped at a local bar mid-day and had three tacos but started to feel guilty about not having more vegetables on this trip (recent reminder from his wife). Therefore, he took the opportunity to stop at a roadside stand where he bought…a pickle! He is camping at the Homestead RV park tonight and thankful he got his tent pitched before the threatening rains started. The park owner said he had not mowed since July because of the lack of rain, but with the recent 2.5” the grass was growing again. Evenings are cool and Paul was expecting an early bedtime with pleasant dreams on his new thermafoam mattress. Ann

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ice cream

Howdy I was riding along and after about 55 miles a woman, Alice, called to me and I'm here eating ice cream, cookies, and orang juice! Is life good or what.

Here is just a short rant about tires. Now wouldn't you think that a 20 inch tire is a 20 inch tire? Nooooooo! There is a 20 inch tire and then another 20 inch tire is a bigger diameter! I swear this is the truth! Who ever came up with this crap would be interesting to talk to, or strangle, which ever I felt like first. No promises!

Jesse, you're right as noone would come with me. ;>)) I'll take that as a compliment, or maybe I'm just a little demented. After a day off because of rain I'm back on the road and that feels better than sitting around a motel room. I think I'll have a few days of dry weather before more rain. I guess I better get going as I'm planning on an 80 mile day today. Paul

Monday, August 20, 2007

Long Prarie

Yo! Another rest day as I figure a route around the floods in southern Minnesota. There are as many or more killed in those floods as in hurricane Dean! I knew I was going to ride in some rain, but it had been so nice up to this point I was getting spoiled! And the last two days have built more character than I can handle. So today I took off as tomorrow looks better, but then towards the end of the week more rain. So if you look at the weather map and see all the rain in this area and a little mushroom cloud in the middle, well, that's me!

I've been looking at maps and am going to go east in to Wisconsin and then drop down in to Illinois to catch the ACA route. Tom, I blew off going around lake Michigan while in Missoula and talking to some folks who took the ferry to the island and back to the mainland who had their bikes mishandled. For that I would have to hurt a few deck hands! Besides, we did the UP on a previous trip. I was a little ahead of where I thought I would be, but hey, it's an adventure, I'm not on a schedule, and it's still fun.......I think. Remember the race in Lucas with the rain? Well, it's not that hard....yet, but close.

So it sounds like Loudonville is under a flood warning and Cincinnati is 10 inches below drought with no relief in sight! Ann is working her butt off trying to keep ahead of the drought and take care of the water garden which is giving her fits, but bless her heart as she is hanging in there and making the best of it. She did mention something about owing her big time! Not quite sure what she meant by that, but I'll find out! ;>)) I am very grateful that she is (or was) so supportive of my vision to ride this trip, but will probably stop when I get home.

So I figure I'll have a few more rain days in the next week or so, but then it should clear out and I can make drier rides. I rode 66 miles in the rain yesterday, oh, and did I mention the wind?!, and the only stuff that was dry was the stuff in the BOB bag. The trailer is working out nice and the bike is set up nice and is making me think about a few changes to make on mine. Bill (Barcroft owner and builder) told me that I'll be glad I found the crack as the paint job an my repaired frame is beautiful. So it's sitting at home waiting for me to get there and unwrap it. Thanks Bill! He has been great to work with and with this being the second trip across for this bent I think it says something about the bike. I just wish it knew how to stay out of the rain! ;>) Life is good and yes, I'm still enjoying it, but there are times....... Paul

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Long Prairie, MN

With some help from his new friends at the Otter Supper Club & Lounge, Paul found a new route south so he wouldn’t have to backtrack and could cut off some miles to get back on track. He rode on mostly back roads today so traffic was not nearly as bad as yesterday, but it rained most of the 66 miles and there were headwinds. Pretty tough riding weather. It was a lonely day too, as other bikers were not out in the elements. But he left the flies behind.

As he came into Long Prairie, MN, he stopped at the first convenience store for directions to a motel. The clerk laughed at the sight of him and asked if he was having fun yet. Paul answered that he always had fun but admitted he was cold, soaked to the skin and miserable at the moment. He is still bemoaning lightening his load by sending his wool sweater and arm & leg warmers with Bruce, but he certainly has learned his lesson from that mistake! The Budget Host Inn has a garage which is housing Paul’s bike for the night; they were grateful he asked for rags to wipe down the bike rather than using the good room towels. Minnesota has had 8 inches of rain in the last couple of days so there is some flooding that Paul may have to contend with in the days ahead. He thinks rain continues to be in the forecast as well. Ann

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Otter Trail, MN

Paul knew the dry weather was not going to last forever…and today the rains came. The first hour was dry, then it started sprinkling so Paul wisely donned his rain gear. Then he rode in the rain the rest of today’s 47 miles. On a positive note, he is pleased with his new rain jacket, and the Bob trailer bag did a great job of keeping his belongings dry. It was too wet to pitch a tent and camp so he tried to stay at Twin Lakes, but the cabins were fully booked. He spent some time talking to the manager who was truly grateful for the rain as there hadn’t been any there in the last 2 months. After some socialization and watching several loons on the lake, Paul faced the rains and hit the road again.

When he stopped for lunch (he’s developing a fondness for McDonald's chicken Caesar salads), he tried to get a room at the motel in Battle Lake, but it was fully booked as well. Being totally soaked by that time and dealing with the road’s small shoulder, terrible visibility, and cars that weren’t giving him any leeway, his choices were to go 40 miles on his southern route to the next town or head 10 miles north off-route to Otter Trail where there was one room left at the hopping Otter Supper Club & Lounge. So he’s made friends with the band’s bass player who helped him get the bike upstairs to his room and enjoyed a steak & decadent chocolate caramel dessert during the early bird special. The rain did keep the mosquitoes away, but his challenge tonight is the flies in his motel room. He claims the more he kills, the more that seem to come. But at least he is dry and hoping for less moisture tomorrow. Ann

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pelican Rapids, Minnesoooota

Hi again from the cool state of Minnesooota. After sending my wool sweater, arm, and leg warmers home with Bruce I about froze to death last night at the campground. Am planning on staying at the city park here at Pelican Rapids, but if the rooms are cheap I may grab a room. I'll check the weather and make the final call. Only 44 miles today as my legs are tired. I was going to go 70 some, but that's not going to happen today, maybe tomorrrow. Time will tell. It's beem cool all day, but doesn't look like rain, although it's cloudy. Started passing a lot of lakes and the countryside is pretty and am still enjoying the ride, although today the roads were rough and there was a long section during the rough stuff that the trucks were thick and fast as there was a very busy gravel pit in the area. Was glad when I saw the road they were turning on to.

Stopped to get a candy bar (too cold for a DQ) and talked to two couples who were just amazed that I'm doing this. They asked me my goal and I told them to get home alive! ;>) That was after all the trucks. One nice thing about the cool weather is that the mosquitoes will be slower, hopefully. SO that's about all the news from here so take care everyone and hopefully will see everyone when I get home. Peace Paul

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Well, Paul continued on to Page, ND, yesterday after his mid-day stop in Cooperstown. Page really is a small town! He stayed in a one room motel (used to have two motel rooms, but it is now owned by the bank and they leased one of the rooms for an insurance business). The room had 2 beds and a TV, no a/c (but he didn’t need) and no phone. But he was able to do his laundry in the sink and take a shower (both badly needed) as well as get away from the mosquitos. This morning he had breakfast in a small café on the main street which was divided by a yellow line. He watched in amazement as first a truck and then 5-6 cars parked on that yellow line in the middle of the road. The other (minimal) traffic drove between the middle of the road and the storefronts to avoid the parked cars. Friendly people though.

Today, he had a nice 72 mile ride because of minimal wind. And he passed into Minnesota so is one state closer to home! Of course he celebrated by having a milkshake at a Dairy Queen. (I need to buy stock.) He is camping this evening at the Buffalo River State Park which has a nice swimming pond. Life is good. Ann

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cooperstown, ND

Howdy from windy North Dakota. I had a wet nigth last night and after spilling a bottle of water in the tent everything was wet so I packed up early this morning and after doing battle with the skeeters, it was declared a draw, at least I know when to pull out! I headed down the road. After about 20 some miles I pulled over and dried everything out by just holding the ends of the tent and fly and the wind blew everything horizontal and it was dry in about 10 minutes! Pretty amazing. Of course, one woman driving by thought I was flagging her down so she turned around and came back to help. She gave me an alternate route that she said was smoother and it was, plus I got to utilize the wind as the first nine miles was a strong tailwind instead of a cross wind. She's a bike rider and is going to France next year to ride.

I was headed to an all you can eat buffet at the restaurant across the street, but saw the library and here I am, aren't you impressed that I came here BEFORE the restaurant! There are lakes all over here and ducks in every one! Have seen a lot of deer today and more dead frogs, as that is what I see the most as roadkill. Evidently N. Dakota frogs are not popular in the jumping contests as they don't jump far enough or fast enough. Also seeing a lot of salamanders crossing the road.

Today is a beautiful day and the wind is okay as I don't need to head in to it. Tomorrow I should be in Fargo and then out of N. Dakota. Ever closer to home and Ann! And since the heat is starting to retreat I'll head that direction! ;>) Still a great trip and all you PH's should do it sometime! Have met such great people and shared wonderful stories. And if I wasn't such an introvert I'd probably meet more. ;>))) Later, as the stomach is telling me it's empty! Hoping to get to Page where there is a room waiting for me, I hope. They have one room for a cyclist and I'm trying to get a hold of them to make a reservation. I need a shower! Hope you all enjoy the blog as it's fun to post and read the comments. Paul

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Stump Lake, ND

Well, Paul was back on the road today, turning southeast towards home as his journey surpassed 2000 miles. After the unexpected day of rest, his legs were strong for today’s 84 miles. One stop along the way was a visit with a man who was restoring log cabins. Paul got a personal tour of the job site.

An even more interesting encounter happened in a rest area where Paul met a man (poet, artist) who is biking from Fargo, ND, to Washington (state). He had a portable solar panel raised to charge his laptop, and also hauls his gear in a Bob trailer. However, he refuses to pay to camp in campgrounds; therefore, he camps off road, bandit style. Although born in Toledo (OH), he has spent most of his time living in Europe, currently along a tree line in the Alps which requires skiing to get to town. He is against cars, television and processed food (a sentiment which Paul mostly agrees).

When Paul arrived at the Stump Lake campground tonight, he realized how wise his decision to stay at the Nix’s yesterday really was. The area had been hit by a tornado the previous day, and some of the campground was still closed. Part of the roof on the nearby café was gone, and many trees were down. However, everyone was celebrating their survival at the café so Paul joined in, enjoying the beer and $1 shots (Jose Cuervo for Paul, of course) along with a Buffalo burger, fries and coleslaw (as I recently commented he was not eating vegetables). Although there had been no rain today, the skies were blackening and it started to sprinkle during his call home. More aggravating, the mosquitoes were thickening so Paul was headed to his tent, his journal and an early bedtime. Ann

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bad weather

Paul spent most of the day in Nancy and Bill Nix’s bunkhouse watching movies as severe storms kept him off the road. With black skies, thunder, strong headwinds, and predicted hail between quarter inch to golf ball size, Paul made a wise decision to let the elements pass before hitting the road again tomorrow. He was stung by a bee in the back of the neck using the outhouse in the middle of the night – so the insects continue to be a problem! Paul related that Bill is quite a sportsman, having killed a grizzly with a bow – it is stuffed and on display at Cabellas. I encouraged him to invite Bill to Cincinnati to take out some of our deer! He really appreciates all the kindness and hospitality of Nancy and Bill these last couple of days.

We talked longer this evening and Paul said that he met several people yesterday in Rugby, ND (15 miles west of the Nix home) where he had stopped at the monument marking the geographic center of North America. When one of them asked him what would possess him to be making this trip, Paul’s tongue in cheek answer: “I was dropped on my head as a child.” Hmmmmmm. Ann

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Knox, ND

Paul had a good day – 83 miles to Bill Nix’s home with mostly cross headwinds and rested legs. It was cooler – 43 degrees this morning - which required a jacket. (Note: Tomorrow will be Cincinnati’s 15th day in a row in the 90s which will set a record – and it is to remain the same at least through Thursday. Please bring rain and cooler temperatures home with you!) He met three men in Minot riding back to their homes in Green Bay; they were taking turns sagging for the others. Paul has enjoyed the Nix’s hospitality this afternoon/evening – lots of good conversation discussing the state of the U.S. and world! And he is looking forward to bedding down in the bunkhouse tonight. Tomorrow he starts heading south/southeast towards Fargo. Ann

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Add to Ann's post

Howdy from windy Minot. I may regret this rest day as there would be a really great tailwind today to make up for the hellacious headwind of yesterday! Sure hope it holds up for tomorrow as I plan an early start to make it the 75 miles to Bill Nix's house. Last night after checking my maps I discovered that my route turns south before I get to his house in Knox, but I'm going to his place and then cut south and rejoin the route. Should be interesting as he wants to "visit", gee, I hope we can find something to talk about. ;>) That was for you Kent. Hey Bruce, the DQ is right behind the motel, is life good or what! I may have to stop again today and get a blizzard in your honor.

I got a partially dive room in town, but the price was almost right (it wasn't free). I'm heading to the mall today to replace the air mattress as each time I use it I lose another air chamber and the ground gets harder and harder. Patching isn't working anymore. I'm not like the kid I ran into that just sleeps on the ground because deflating his air mattress is just one more thing to do in the mornings. Ann pretty much covered everything on her post so won't bore you too much. Picked up my new tires and Cytomax yesterday and feel better now that they're taken care of. At least I don't have the heat and humidity of Ohio to contend with and am hoping that everything is back to normal by the time I get home. It was in the high 80's yesterday and cool this morning. I have to give a lot of credit to Ann who is holding up the home front while I'm gone, as it sounds like she really has her hands full.........and I'm going to owe her big time. Life is good on the road. da Possum

Friday, August 10, 2007

Minot, ND

Today's 75 miles may have been flatter, but the head winds were ferocious. Paul said they were by far the worst of the trip; even the cattails were blown horizontal. During the headwinds, best speed was 9.6 miles/hr but once Paul turned north on Rt 83, speed drastically picked up to a more normal 16-22. Taken together, average for the day was 10.5 m/hr accomplished in a little over 7 hours.

Paul really lucked out by riding between the severe storms that hit North Dakota today. He did put on his rain jacket for a little while, especially as the skies turned black. But the streaking lightning was to the southeast and there was just a touch of rain. He met an interesting couple who were riding Harleys during his lunch stop at a convenience store; they had ridden through hail and hard rain. The woman was quite the trooper – she was drivng her own motorcycle although she had lost a leg awhile back after being hit by a drunk driver. She had a knee replacement last year on the other leg but was back on the road. What a woman!

At a rest stop, Paul met Bill Nix who lives 75 miles east of Minot and opens his bunkhouse to bicyclists that are going cross country on their own. They had a nice visit and Paul may take him up on that generous offer in a few days.

As for now, Paul is in Minot and planning a day off tomorrow to rest his tired legs and do some shopping (new air mattress). He’ll also be looking for the library so hopefully will be able to add to the blog tomorrow. Tonight, he’s headed to the Dairy Queen located behind the motel. Isn’t it interesting how he’s able to find them? Ann

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Newtown, ND

Paul described his 75 mile scenic ride through the “mini” badlands today as tortuous, a tough day (though not nearly as hot as Cincinnati!) With alternating head winds and cross winds and hill after hill after hill on Route 1804, he still had to contend with the biting flies. Of course the first establishment he saw when he arrived at Newtown for the night was a Tastee Freeze, so he rationalized that a “flurry” was in order to regain enough strength to find a campsight. Unfortunately, the campground was 4 miles off the beaten path, and he was advised that the town was full with Indians arriving for “the biggest powwow” of the season being held this weekend. So even though the sign at the Sunset Motel said “No Vacancy”, Paul stopped in to scout a place to lay his head. In the small lobby was a gigantic stuffed grizzly that the owner/manager had shot (7 times) in Alaska and, lo and behold, after about 20 minutes of telling his tale and getting to know Paul, the owner found a spare room to let. With few options for dinner, Paul was headed back to the Tastee Freeze before returning to the Sunset for an early bedtime. He should sleep well tonight. Ann

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Williston, ND...finally

Howdy one and all. Yesterday after departing the library the bank thermometer read 101 and it felt like it was reading a little low! Then later when I went looking for a phone it was still 101, but after the call it cooled off to 100! What a releif! Then a storm came in and had very little rain, but a strong wind which cooled everything off and today it was overcast all day with temps about 88 and a tailwind! Woohoo!

A family of 4 from Corbitt, OR., where I had spent a night at a campgroung early on, pulled in to the park and we had a nice time discussing our trips, etc. Yes, Kent I still manage to talk to people along the way. The knats, is that the correct spelling for the pesky little critters that are bad as skeeters, but can't bite? It's probably nats, but then who really cares. The park guests were telling me about Fort Bufort, which they found to be interesting so I thought I might drop down and take a look. So when I got to the road to the fort I stopped and was contemplating whether to go or not and a Harley dude rides up and he has on a Vietnam vest and long ponytail. So being the shy introverted person that I am I said something to him. He shuts the bike down and we talked for a while. He said the fort was worth stopping at and since he was also a Marine, I knew the info was correct. ;>) So off I went on a pretty ride through the hills of N. Dakota. The fort was okay and I walked around and joined in a tour that I don't think I paid for, but hey I'm just a dumb tourist who's lost. It looked like rain so off I went and did manage to get a few drops to cool me off.

I stopped at a little store and went in to make sure I was on the right route to get me back to route 2 and the owner wants to check out the bike so we went outside and talked about it for a while. So he takes me back inside and he gives me a hot dog with kraut and some hangover soup. The soup in macaroni and buffalo and it was good. Then a friend of his comes in and we sat there and drank ice tea and talked for half hour or so. There is a lot of oil around there and they are pumping like crazy and drilling more wells. Also turns ou that the Harley guy was his brother in law. It's moments like that that make the trip a great time. So now I'm in Williston and I'm going to check out the city park, but will probably opt for a motel room so I can shower and veg out. So my 45 mile short day turned in to a 60 mile about average ride. I'm tired and could still use a day off, but am hoping to get to Minot in two more days and take it there. I need to get a new air mattress as my twenty some year old mattress has 7 of it's original 9 tubes left as I'm losing about one a day lately. It's more tired than me! Enough rambling as I need to go find a shower! East bound and down and I just keep on rolling! Todd, look at the comments from yesterday as I answered your question. For people who leave comments, I answer them and that appears as another comment. Until next time. Peace and missing you all. Paul

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Culbertson, MT

Howdy Well, I didn't make it out of Montana today as the winds were not in my favor and I'm tired. So I'm in Culbertson on my my way to the city park to camp for the night. Then to Williston tomorrow where I may take a rest day, although I was hoping to take one in Minot, but hey, maybe I'll take one there also. It is an option you know, as I'm not on a schedule. But sure will be happy to get home to my woman!

The bike is working great and the BOB trailer is pulling fine, but a little motor on the trailer wheel would help on some of the climbs! But hey, I haven't walked yet, and the major climbs are behind me. Heck, I may be home in time for CFC so are any of you guys game for that ride? Last years was a real bear and I don't know what the route is this year. But then, I may blow that off too, but I kind of hate to as I think I'll be in shape for it. ;>)

There is a 70 or 80 mile stretch between Williston and Hot Point (or something similar) that has no services so they recommend extra water and food so that will be interesting. I'm not looking to have a problem as I'll have plenty of both on hand. I would like to see it a little cooler though, but I have no control over that and so it hasn't been unbearably hot. But I could do without the darn black flies and skeeters. There is west nile virus out here so bought some new repellent that is 98% deet! So I can do war with the little ^(#$%^%)@*$ with the big teeth!

I think when I get home I'll just lay in the water garden for a few days, although Ann said the water was hot in there so maybe I'll try the Little Miami, but it's polluted. All is going well and I think I'll head to the park and cook up some mashed potatoes and chicken as the Possum is hungry! It's three o'clock and I haven't had lunch yet! Stopped and took a picture of a dead snake about three feet long, but it didn't look that appetizing. Later, today Montana, tomorrow N. Dakota, in a month Ohio! Paul

Monday, August 6, 2007

Wolf Point, MT

Greetings from Wolf Point, home of the tail wind. What a nice fast day as I covered 50 miles before noon and was going to continue on to Poplar, but a lady here at Wolf Point told me not to go there as they only have one motel and it's terrible, so what to do. I think I'll hole up here as I have laundry to do also. I'm in Fort Bec Indian Reservation and it's rather warm.

Clyde left this morning as he decided to head to Sturgis to see the Harleys and he wants his picture taken with a topless harley woman to send to his friends. He complained about the noise the bikes make and now he wants to go get in the middle of half a million of them. Go figure. He was a very interesting character and shared many stories. A true bike tourer. Met a recent college grad who is heading west looking to see what he wants to do.

Tomorrow I'll be in North Dakota and it seems like I've been in Montana for a long time, and I guess I have. It rained over night so I need to dry the tent out tonight. I think I may have to get a new air mattress as the patch didn't work too well. It's very old and tired. I'm picking up new tires in Minot and Ann is sending me some supplies there also, but I may be there a day before her shipment gets there so it may be a rest day there as I haven't had a rest day for well over a week. I'm feeling good and still enjoying the ride, especially with the tail wind. If the wind shifts it may be a whole new story, and since I'll do 90 miles tomorrow, I'm hoping the tailwind stays! Later, Paul.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Glascow, MT

Paul had a nice 72 mile bike today, accompanied by his new pal, Clyde from St. Louis, who is a few years older and a true tourer (having biked from Alaska to Peru – where all his equipment including bike were stolen). There were small grades, but no major climbs. It continues to be dry, but they seem to be east of the ever-spreading wildfires. Animal sightings included five antelope, one coyote and one mule deer. He seems to be out of mosquito territory, but now the black flies are biting! They are sharing a RV site (each tent camping) tonight in Glascow, MT and will ride together again tomorrow.

Bike seems to be holding its own, but a tube in Paul’s air mattress failed this evening so he’s going to have to find the hole and get it patched. He also is having difficulty with his new glasses – one of the lens kept falling out so it has been duct taped to hold it in place until Paul can find a friendly optometrist to do some repair work. Not pretty, but it works! Ann

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Malta, MT

Hi again from Malta, home of Elvis the dinosaur, the mosquitos tried eating me alive this morning at the city park in Harlem so I packed up and was out of there with a great tail wind! The trouble with that was that the little ^#*&$%* took advantage of the tailwind and were biting me as I rode! Many died! After 47 miles I was at Malta at 11 am and am enjoying my second short day. Had there been a good stop a litle farther away I might have gone on, but there isn't so I got a cheap motel room and I'm going to veg out and rest the legs, right after my lunch at the DQ!

I was on my way to the DQ when I passed this dinosaur museum so stopped in and the lady said that the library was closed, but let me use her computer. The people have been very nice and I enjoy that. Only ran in to one drunken Indian and that was when I was with Bruce and the Indian told Bruce to punch me in the face. Of course, Bruce fearing for his life didn't take his advice! ;>)) Just kidding Bruce.

Tomorrow will be a longer day of about 80 miles so hopefully the wind will stay out of the west for a few more days, or a few more weeks as far as I'm concerned. Cyclists do like tail winds. Kent, if we can't hook up for a ride to Ohio maybe after my break at home and I decide to ride to Virginia, you guys could join me for that portion. Just a thought. If I go to the coast I'll probably drop the bent off to Bill Cook in Falls Church. Bye for now and see everyone later. Paul

Friday, August 3, 2007

Harlem, MT

Greetings I'm in Harlem after a short 44 mile ride into the wind again. I thought the wind was suppose to blow west to east! It isn't a real strong wind, just one that is constant and steady and moderately strong. A 11.5 mph ride to be precise. Darn, but Montana is a long state! And N. Dakota won't be much shorter. This was going to be my rest day and at 44 miles it's a short day.

I'm going to the police station and check in and then head to the park to lay around and read and rest the legs. Ann got home last night and it was great hearing her voice, now if I could just see her. That's what makes me push on.

Talked to some native Americans about the pow wow they are having south of Havre this weekend and they were as excited as they get about it. They were standing around outside my room talking at 5 this morning and woke me up. I sleep better in my tent outside than I do inside.

Bruce had trouble with me saying the guy that rode the divide trail only could look at his front wheel so I'll explain. The terrain was so rough he was constantly being jarred arouind and had to watch what his front wheel was hitting next. Riding that trail doesn't appeal to me. Sections maybe, but not the whole length. In fact this will be my last trip of this magnatude, but I wouldn't rule out a week to two week trips. ;>)

And with that I'll close before I bore you too much. I'm still having fun, but I could use a little change in scenery. There will be a party when I get home! Paul

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Havre, MT

Hello again from Havre, Montana, and Jaybone, I figured out why you left this state. I hit the Bears Paw Mts in Havre today so at least it isn't pancake flat. I've had cross headwinds and head winds again today, but it was only 88 so life is good. Arrived at Havre after riding 62 miles and got the last motel room in town, at another motel, according to the first place I stopped as they were full and had been calling around, but they gave me a chocolate chip cookie so that was appreciated. I could have eaten a few more, but didn't want to make a glutton of myself, don't say it!

So I'm clean again and was going to take the day off tomorrow and rest the legs, but I'm being run out of town. There is an American Indian Pow Wow in town, plus a class reunion, but then how big can this class reunion be? So instead of a day off I think I'll ride 40 miles to the next campground and just have a short day. And then maybe another 40 mile day the following day.

My thoughts of 70 to 100 miles a day are fading unless the winds shift as I'm pretty well bushed after 65. I ran in to a guy who started in Texas and rode the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail up to Banff and now is riding to Sturgis and then to St. Louis. He trashed his rear wheel and wasn't real impressed with GDT as he said all he saw was his front wheel most the time. But he rode it in 72 days so that's fairly impressive. Only my riding buddies will appreciate this paragraph. :>)

Ann gets home tonight and I'll get to talk to her in the morning! The traffic was light again today and some teenager yelled at me, but then we were all young once, but if I could get my hands on him....not really. I just ignore that stuff. The trucks have been good and get over when they can, but if they can't you just ride the shoulder and hang on. That part hasn't been nearly as bad as what other riders have been warning me about. The worst is the jerk coming towards me who decides to pass a vehicle while heading straight towards me. Thank goodness for a good shoulder. The body is tired and I've been sleeping good so onward I travel! Until the next post, take care and see you all when I get home.

Hey Clarke, what did you think of the Tour outcome? Good for Discovery! Bad, or good for Rassmussin, the jerk. Bye. Paul

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Chester, MT

Howdy from the dry west! Bruce and Jane left this morning and I'm on my own again. The smoke from the fire blew south so I boogied east so think I shouldn't have any trouble with that fire, but there are fires in Montana too, so you never know.

Had a cross head wind all day so I'm tired and will camp in the city park tonight if I get permission, and the librarian just said I don't need permission so after here I'll go check that out.

Montana is going to go on forever I'm afraid! Made 67 miles today and got here at 3 so made decent time despite with the wind. Yesterday I rode over 30 miles at about 25 mph, now that was nice! Ordered two new tires so hopefully when I get to Minot, ND in about a week, they'll be waiting for me.

The BOB trailer is fuller than when I started and it slows me down, but after B&J left I have to haul all my stuff. A lot of the weight is food so I'll start lightening that up tonight! I've been on the road for 23 days and still have a smile when I start in the morning...and then slowly fades as the day wears on, and then brightens when I see my stop at the end of the day. Having a great time, but really miss Ann and all my friends. Bye for now until I find the computer. Paul