July 12, 2001
Sorry for the delay,
After getting my bike fixed, I ventured east to 3D's RV Park. Not only did I get a nice place to stay, good company, and coffee, but I also got a kiss from Amos the llama. Lucky me. I fell asleep to a distant lightning and thunder storm.
On the way into Minot I was spotted a fireworks warehouse. Yippeee! And to top that, everything is legal in North Dakota. I bought all the fireworks you see in the picture. The following day, I stumbled into Esmond, population 192. What was strange was that there were about a thousand people around. After a bit of research I found out it was their centennial celebration. Lucky me again. Free camping, shower, and even a free beer. And the band, One Over Zero, rocked til past one in the morning. Who says small towns don't know to throw a party. After a pancake breakfast I had to split even though there was a parade starting in an hour.
North Dakota is beautiful. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that at one time they had a lot of nuclear weapons up yonder. Found out later that at one point they were the third largest nuclear power in the world. Boy, Dr. Strangelove would have made an ideal resident. Zig Zagging my way southeast, I made it to Fargo.
FARGO ROCKS. In town less than 5 minutes, I asked a couple in front of a coffee shop if they knew anywhere I could check my email. As I spoke, a nice lady next to me heard what I was saying and offered up her computer. She lived right above the coffee shop. After getting everything set up she gave me the key to the door and took off. WOW! As I tried to make my way off that same block, I got stopped by the world famous Fargo Popcorn Man. Not only did I get a free bag of popcorn, but also my very own Fargo Popcorn Man hat. I'm sure you'll see me in it in the near future. That afternoon, I met with Claudia Axvig with the Roger Maris Cancer Center. They are very active in research and clinical trials. They are currently participating in the Tamoxifen and Raloxifene trial. The two drugs will be compared for their effectiveness in reducing the occurrence of breast cancer. It is a great center to run trials out of because they are equipped with great educational, nutrition, and support departments.
As if I hadn't been spoiled enough, I ending up staying with my friend Clay Mcclaughlin's dad Tim and his wife Wendy. BBQ, shower, laundry, full breakfast, and the nicest Jacuzzi I've ever been in. On top of all that, the weather was perfect and the mosquitoes had not infested the town yet. I even had some custom artwork created for me while I hung out at the coffee shop the next morning. I'll say it again, FARGO ROCKS.
Right across the river from Fargo is Minnesota, AKA Land of 10,000 Lakes, AKA Land of 10 million mosquitoes. Tim had insisted I stay with his dad, Clay's grandfather, the next night about fifty miles east. Upon arrival, I was introduced to a federal judge and an former FBI agent. Needless to say, dinner and drinks were quite fun that night. I tried some walleye fish and it was yummy. That night I had my own cottage on the lake that reminded me of the place my grandparents used to have in Palm Springs. Too bad every night isn't that good.
Due to the following day being the Independence Day, I decided to get off the roads early before I was forced off by either the excessive amounts of traffic or the people who had put back a few too many. Battle Lake. Sounds like a fitting place to celebrate the fourth. Got to watch some fireworks than got busted for lighting off the last remains from my stash. Frustrated at my slow pace, I pushed hard the next day and ended up riding 130 miles before calling the Rum Shack home for the night. I almost think riding that far is worth it just for how good a beer taste once you're finished. Plus, I got a wonderful picture of the sunset that night.
Another reason I was riding so many miles was that I needed to pick up a package with my maps in Stillwater before the post office closed on Saturday. In a fifty hours period, I rode 250 miles. Only to find that my package hadn't arrived yet. Hello Stillwater. It actually worked out pretty well because I was able to meet with Chris Norton from the Minnesota Breast Cancer Coalition. We chatted for hours about the program she started as well as The National Breast Cancer Coalition. She also gave we a great book on breast cancer called Breast Cancer: Ask the Doctor. She ordered 5000 of them to give out to people who want an easy to understand explanation of breast cancer and all that surrounds it. If anyone would like a copy, you can contact her at email@example.com. You might have to cover shipping costs but her garage would thank you. It is especially useful for women that are newly diagnosed.
With no place anywhere near town to camp, I needed some luck. I found it at the local outfitter. Mike, the gentleman that was helping me mentioned that he had a boat on the river and that if I needed to I could crash there. Yee haw! It was a bit strange rocking back and forth all night but I had a nice little boat with all the necessities to myself. The next day I search the town of 13,000 trying to find somewhere to do a journal update but had no luck. So instead, I did what most people do in Stillwater. I went antique shopping.
As I headed south I met the mighty Mississippi. What a huge river! And even bigger bluffs on the sides to climb up and down all day. Deciding I was ready to leave Minnesota, I rode 120 yesterday and camped about a quarter mile over the Iowa border. Even got to watch a little of the All-Star game. Got an early start this morning so that I could get to Elkader to pick up the laptop that I'm typing this message on now. I'm sitting in a nice pizza parlor overdosing on Pepsi. As of tomorrow, I will pass the 4000 mile mark and have less than 2000 to go. That's good because I want to finish by mid August. I head south to Muscatine, Iowa than east through Illinois and Indiana before cutting up north in Ohio through Cleveland. From there I head toward Niagra Falls then almost dead east to Maine. I'll do my best to update the journal more frequently. I can't make any promises though.
If you made it through this far, you are obligated to play a game. It's an easy one though. Guess the creature on the right. He was living at the 3D's RV Park. First correct guess gets a free RideforCancer T-shirt. Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, stayed tuned because the Great Cookie Drop information will be in the next journal.
Big thanks on this last leg of the journey to; The McClaughlins (Clay, Tim, Wendy, J.R., Sheila), Mike, Janette, The Fargo Popcorn Man, Easy Racers again for shipping me the new wheel, the motel at Battle Lake for letting me camp, Chris Norton, Jeff Cummins, Darlene and Terry Beals, The Pizza Well, Brad and the computer gang in Elkater, everyone that sends me emails, The Rum Shack, all the important people I know I'm forgetting, me ma, dino, all the sponsors and supporters and you.
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Keep on truckin',