Dogs, Signs & Dehydration

Trip Start May 06, 2012
Trip End Jun 26, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Minnesota
Friday, June 8, 2012

I set off at 6am having enjoyed a big breakfast but did not like the 20-30mph wind blowing from the South which would dog me all day as I snaked SW to Long Prairie. Given the road system here is totally grid like, it meant I would spend the day either cycling dead into the wind or with a massive cross wind, either way it was not going to be fun or easy. However, there was a silver lining in that the wind was at least cooling - which given it was 89 degrees at 8.45am was more than a little necessary - thank god for 100spf suncream!

The 3 big issues of the day were nearly being run over by a dog, coming across my own road and dying of dehydration. 

Firstly, the dog. I was cycling up a small hill, which is the most vulnerable time given you aren't going very fast and it isn't easy to peddle away from a chasing dog. As I neared the crest of the hill there was a house and a massive fearsome looking mut spotted me as I spotted him and he jumped up and started for me and I pedaled for my life - fortunately the dog misjudged as it tried to ram me but missed. It was very scary, and the dog looked ready to tuck into a big of Ginger Emery. Fortunately, after it missed me I was on the flat and moving away quickly, it gave chase but given it was a huge muscular monster it didn't have the stamina to follow for long - which was lucky for me given my heart had virtually fallen out of my adrenaline drenched body. I had to pull over for a 5 min break to calm down and recover. It was not fun. However, it meant that when I set off again I was going quite slowly and a mile or so later I saw the sign for Emery Drive - which maybe if I had been pedaling normally I would have missed. 

The signpost did have a message for me - Stop - so I did. It was also difficult not to notice the rather obvious message for me - Emery Drive - not Emery cycle or Emery pedal. As I write this a few hundred miles on I think this advice is very wise. Would anyone mind if I hired a car for the last 1000 miles? How much easier would that be! Anyway having seen an Emery Road on my last trip, I felt pretty happy to find an Emery Drive on this trip too and so I took a whole raft of pictures - a couple of which you can see here. 
I continued on with a smile on my wind swept and sun drenched face. The life saver and the problem for the day was that every 35m there was a strategically placed town where I could eat and recuperate. The first was Battle lake, which was as you can see from the pictures is an amazingly pretty place. It would have been amazing to stay there as the motel was right on the lake and looked very welcoming, however, I had rested with the Pelicans so that hadn't been.... however, I found a lovely little bakery and wolfed down 2 freshly made donughts and set off recharged. Later I arrived in Little Prairie where I enjoyed a grilled sandwich and 3 large cokes. It was a little diner, but as it is on the route for the cycle maps I am following and given it is the only diner in town it has seen a number of other lunatic cross country cyclists and they have a journal that they ask all the cyclists to write in. I did so dutifully, but not before reading all the amazing stories of the previous visitors. There was even a couple in their mid 70s cycling around the whole of the US..... amazing. I felt exhausted but having read their story, and being half their age, I had to push on to Long Prarie, which would make for a very long  and hard day.

I eventually finished at 3.30ish which made for a very long 9.5hrs on the road in sapping 95+ heat & wind. I was totally exhausted and clearly rather dehydrated given I drank over 5 litres of fluid over the next few hours without blinking. As I drove into town, a number of Sikorsky helicopters flew past, and I was rather annoyed that my constant praying hadn't brought them to my rescue earlier in the day, but at least I was finished - and finished I was - even the receptionist at the Super 8 motel took pity on me. He suggested I go and have a shower and lie down and check in later when I felt better!! I felt bad, but clearly looked worse! Fortunately there was a super mkt across from the motel so I stumbled across there a little later and devoured a rotisserie chicken and other fresh delights in my room before collapsing at 7.30 to bed. 
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