St. Cloud, Minnesota: September 8, 2010

Best day, weather wise, in several days.  No rain, a bit chilly, wind at about 6 mph = good ride.  I trusted the weather reports and planned a 51-mile ride.  Because of getting off course and having to go quite a bit out of the way, I ended up doing 53 miles.  The best thing about the ride is I could have ridden much longer; however, for once, I didn’t want to ride any longer because of where I am going next. 

I am leaving St. Cloud on Friday and going to Moorhead, Minnesota, which is across the Red River from Fargo, North Dakota.  I would have preferred staying in Fargo; however, the nearest campground was about 20 miles from downtown Fargo and there were no bike routes available.  Therefore, I will be riding from the campground in Minnesota to Fargo which will add about 9 miles to my ride in South Dakota today.  I have ridden 83 miles in Minnesota and will get the rest on my Minnesota miles while riding to North Dakota.

  

I found a ride which went along both sides of the Mississippi River.  It was a beautiful ride even though most of the time I couldn’t see the river, but when I did, it was gorgeous.

About 23 miles into my ride, I rode through Sartell which is home to some friends from Sun City, Georgetown, Texas, Bob and Judy.  (When I mapped the ride, I didn’t notice I was going through Sartell, so this was a pleasant surprise.  I rode within a quarter of a mile from their home.)  They had extracted a promise from me that I be sure and contact them when I got to Minnesota so we could get together.  They invited me over for dinner for this evening.  They have a gorgeous home in a fabulous setting.  Their backyard slopes down to the Mississippi River.  And they have a wonderful view of the river from their breakfast room, living room, and bedroom.  It was just beautiful and they were such wonderful hosts.  I mean, think about it, I got to talk to people I know about what I am doing.  The neat thing is they have been following my expedition from the beginning.  Often I would say something about a particular ride and Bob would say, “I remember reading about that on the blog.”  After bending their ear for a long time, I finally said, surely there is something else we can talk about besides my bike riding.  Judy’s next utterance was to ask me something else about my bike riding.  I thought that was so sweet.  In a very subtle way, she let me know they were not bored by hearing about my “exploits.”  I am so sorry that I forgot to take my camera so I could take some pictures of Bob and Judy and of their backyard…Oh, and the dinner was so good.  I felt like a broken record saying, “This _______ is so good.  The missing word was whatever I just took a bite of…salad, sweet corn, etc.  I asked about flooding and Judy mentioned this dam which is used to control the river.  It is doubtful that they would ever be effected by floodwaters due to the distance and height they are from the river.  Along the way, I saw these chickens on the side of the road.  I think they were looking for corn.

There must be an alternate universe.  Blue skies over the Mississippi…nothing but blue skies do I see.  Speaking of seeing, you can’t see me, but I am waiting patiently for the train to go by.

In the evening, I met Bob from Arkansas who is biking the Mississippi; that is, he is riding a trail that his friend wrote a book about.  They both rode a bike trail from Memphis to New Orleans last summer – when they arrived in New Orleans a record temperature of 104° awaited them.  I told Bob he should have reversed the order of the rides, i..e., northern segment of Mississippi in the summer and southern segment in the summer…he readily agreed.  Anyway, we talked for quite awhile about our separate rides. 

Bob goes on rides like he is doing now a couple of times a year and rides about 10,000 miles a year.  He lives in northwest Arkansas, Fayetteville, and his wife, Dana, works at the VA.  What’s important about that is that I was the Chief Finance Officer at the VA in Fayetteville from 1980 to 1984.  Bob is an EMS and frequently goes to the VA hospital in Fayetteville.  We discovered one mutual friend/acquaintance.  I’m sure if we delved into it more, there are others.  Bob asked me to be sure and call him when I get to Arkansas and he would come where I am and ride with me.  I am looking forward to that.  I think I could learn a lot from Bob who has been riding practically all his life.  He came by the next morning and we talked a little more before he took off.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Bob and sharing stories with him.  He is a great listener because, as usual, I talked too much.  He was such a gentleman, he never said a thing about it though.  Thanks for the visit, Bob…

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