Day 22 (84 miles)

Trip Start Jun 13, 2008
Trip End Aug 09, 2008

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Flag of United States  , North Dakota
Sunday, July 6, 2008

well, the wind was back to its old tricks again. our single day of prevailing winds was fun, but now it was back to "normal". while we were in williston, the couple we stayed with had mentioned that southerly winds usually bring rain, and it had been strange that clouds weren't building the last few days. well, now that the wind had switched back to a southeasterly direction, it also started bringing some of the nasty looking clouds and a 30%+ chance of thundershowers for the rest of the week.

back on the road, i started getting a little worried in the morning because my knee started giving me some funny pangs. the day before, while sailing through the hills, my left knee started to hurt a little bit. it was nothing big, just a slight dull pain, so i just ignored it. however, this morning whenever we started to push up hills, it would start to hurt. not good... after 30 miles or so, we met up with velva and the van, so i popped some ibuprofen with the hope that it would work its magic and get me through the day. nurse julie (she really is a nurse...she just got her degree) prescribed ibuprofen, ice, and taking it easy. i'm not good at pacing myself, so i'm going to find that last instruction a little tough to follow.

well, after days and days of riding with only one spare tube apiece and no spare tires, julie and i finally got ourselves to a real bike shop where we were able to top off our supply. it was such a relief to get some new spares because in the last week or so, it would have only taken one odd piece of something sharp to make us van copilot for a few days. we literally bought the store out of our size tire, and the guy gave us a funny look when we got a total of 10 tubes. he was a happy camper, though, because he got a commission for his sales.

as third largest city in north dakota (with a whopping 35,000 people), minot has a really large shopping mall, and the bike store is located right in the middle. now, you know you've been biking too much when you wander around a shopping mall in your bike clothes and wonder why people are giving you funny looks. we found ourselves wishing that we had already finished up for the day so we could pick up some new books at barnes and noble's and then run off to see a movie or something. the shopping mall was oddly relaxing and normal after spending so much time on the bike.

i have a friend who grew up in fargo, and he would always rave about a north dakota fast food chain called taco john's. they bill themselves as a "west mex" (whatever that means) restaurant, but it comes off more like taco bell. the specialty is their potatoes ole, which as far as i could tell were mini hashbrowns with a side of nacho cheese sauce. i picked up some of them in the food court at the mall, and i found them okay, but they definitely didn't live up to the hype. also, their idea of a medium drink is 32 ounces. at first, i thought the guy behind the counter was being nice and giving me a large soda, but then i saw someone else take away the jug of soda that is a large...

when we picked up the route in minot, we had another great surprise in store--a scandinavian themed park. apparently, there are a lot of norwegian and swedish folks in the area, and they even host an annual week-long fair that draws people from around the world. the most exciting things in the little park were a large scale replica of a viking castle and a huge swedish horse. julie and i had to stop to take pictures because we knew our mom and her swedish pride would kill us if she found out we rolled right past.

when we finally rolled out of minot, we realized that it had claimed four hours of the day. we still had 35 miles until camp, and i was on dinner cooking duty, so we had to pick up the pace or i would arrive late. and of course, we were going back into the wind, and i wasn't supposed to pedal too hard. ultimately, i had to call ahead to camp and have my cooking buddy ann start preparing the dinner, and i swept into camp just in time to toss the salad together and get dinner on the table.

cooperstown is another little town with not much going on (aside from being the "macgillicuddy capital of america"), and we camped out in their city park. the mayor himself had to come out and unlock the bathroom doors for us. the sheriff also rolled through at one point and warned us of some "rowdy teenagers" that are known to gather and "cause trouble", and that we should call 911 if we ran into them. ah small towns...
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