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Hotcakes and cold rides

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Holed up in another motel in Glasgow, MT at the moment.  We had intended to take just one rest day yesterday here but the night before, after doing about 82 miles in a little over 7 hours of riding, we only made it to Nashua, about 15 miles short of Glasgow.  We ended the day riding for an hour after dark on Rt. 2 which was a little bit amazing and a little bit scary.  Figuring we could do the last little bit on our rest day and being very exhausted, we camped for the night with only some Triscuits and cranberries for dinner.

We woke to a very chilly, rainy morning that barely nearly kept us huddled in our sleeping bags for the day.  Starving and cold, we found ourselves in Bergie’s up the rode and with a menu that started with “Bike Trekker’s Breakfast.”  Pefrect!  2 jumbo pancakes, 3 eggs, 4 slices of bacon or sausage, and a pile of hasbrowns.  And best of all, it stated beneath it “If you finish, we pay for it”  Even better!  Of course, I quickly ordered this without even thinking while Marissa picked the Adventurer’s Breakfast just below it that didn’t come with hashbrowns.  I suppose we should have been clued in by that little offer to pay for the meal that something was amiss.  Turns out those 2 jumbo pancakes that we each got were a full 16″ hotcake, each.  Ugh.  We both managed to finish about half of each plus all our protein and my hashbrowns with lots of coffee, tea and milk.  So much for becoming competitive eating champions after this trip.

Zoom Zoom from Andrew Frasz on Vimeo.

the most perfect stretch of road

It was still raining and cold when we decided it was finally time to finish those 15 miles to our hotel (there were none in Nashua).  Thinking we were properly fueled up and bundled up as best we could, we set out for what should have been a 1 hr 15min ride.  What we didn’t take into account was that this was Montana and the weather is anything but predictable.  So, instead of a wet, sluggish ride, we got a snowing, freezing, windy ride from hell.  The snow was actually hitting us in the eyes!  Plus, no shoulders on the road meant it was anything but playful as the trucks and semis went whizzing by.  Needless to say, I got a lot of angry looks from Marissa.  By the time we rolled up to our little motel, neither of us could feel our feet or open our mouths for fear of saying something we might regret later.

So, having spoiled what was supposed to be our rest day, we are now on day two in the La Casa Motel.  It’s not such a bad place though and with all the extra time, we were able to go out and get some good waterproof gloves and do some really good meals.  And update this here blog, so lucky you.

The rest of our time in Montana, and North Dakota for that matter, has been pretty nice.  The mornings are chilly but within an hour of riding, we are quickly shedding layers.  It’s a lot of flat, endless roads with a lot of oil trucks and pick-em up trucks.  Oh, and an update from the end of the last post.  Feelilng pretty down about all the wind we were getting in Rugby, we started asking around the motel for a ride to Minot.  We ended up piling our bikes into the back of another pick-up owned by a man named Rory who worked as an oil pipe-line inspector.  What would have taken us all day to ride took us all of 60 minutes to drive.  Feeling more than thankful, we excitedly shared all the great stories so far with our new friend.  I don’t know what exactly stuck with Rory but, as we pulled into town, he suddenly announced that he was taking us straight to a nearby hotel and putting us up for the night.  That’s right, he payed for a $100/night stay in the local Holiday Inn before he headed straight back to Rugby.  Thanks Rory!  And best of all (well, not really but it was a treat), I got to watch the Browns game the next morning in restaurant next day.

Hitching a ride from Andrew Frasz on Vimeo.

One other nice little highlight worth sharing was two nights ago.  We were rolling through Culberston on our first day in Montana and stopped for groceries before trying to make it to Bainville for the night.  Outside though, we met Mary Lou who stopped to chat about our trip.  Upon hearing our final destination was inside the Indian reservation, she quickly steered us to her daughter’s house just shy of town where we could camp out behind their barn.  What could have been a sketchy experience turned out great.  Laurie and her husband Buzz were very welcoming as was my new best friend Monte, their German shepherd.  We slept great as Monte prowled the farm, barking at all the coyotes and then sharing our breakfast in the morning.

Winds and deadlines

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

No posts for a while because we haven’t had internet at all here in North Dakota.  At the moment, we’re camped out at a motel/RV park that happens to have it .  Marissa is still snoozing so I figured I’d clue you all in quick.

We are currently in Rugby, ND, the geographical center of North America, about a days ride from Minot which is about half way across the state.  Coming out of Fargo, we had a day of headwinds followed by 2 beautiful days of tail winds.  We were talking real pretty to the wind, trying to shmooze our way across the state with promises of love and devotion if she would only keep on blowin at our backs.  Well, all was going well until we reach Fort Trotten on Devil’s Lake when the wind brought us some very heavy rains and thunderstorms.  Lots of truck traffic and no shoulder to speak of kept us pedaling as fast as our legs would carry us to Minnewauken.  I also had the wonderful fortune of discovering that my rain jacket is not so rain proof.  Lucky me.

The next day turned sunny but we’re once again riding into headwinds that were supposed to be coming from the south but really were straight west into our faces.  When it’s like that, we can barely manage 10 miles an hour which makes putting in 60 miles an arduous task.  That’s also the number of miles we have to do today to reach Minot before we can take a rest day.  Accuweather (which is not so accurate on this trip), has promised us some lovely 45mph westerly gusts.

60 miles a day also happens to be the magic number we must average the entire rest of the trip in order to make it to Seattle and hop a plane back to Cleveland.  I’m due to serve as the best man in my friend’s wedding on the 16th of October so I can’t exactly be late.  Needless to say, we are on a schedule that really doesn’t allow much flexibility.

Knees are killing me at the moment too.  Sorry, such a bitchy post.  Our spirits aren’t exactly peaking but hopefully we’ll be in better shape tomorrow as we try to catch the Browns game, haha.  Until then, feel free to send me any great stretches for knees and lower thighs.  Or all you folks out east can start puffing your cheeks, blowing the wind westward.  We’re gonna need it.

Late night evacuation

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

We reached Fargo on a day of epic tailwinds and roads sent from the heavens.  We managed to put in a whopping 88 miles before stopped for the night in a friend of a friend of a friend’s room in the garage of a college house.  We had the place to ourselves; no one else in the garage with us, or so we thought.  We quickly pulled out the sleeping bags and settled in for the night.

The next day is was pouring down rain and miserably cold so instead of looking for a motel, we decided we’d just stay in our garage another night, save some money, and chill out.  So, after an extra long lunch with an all you can eat salad bar, we rolled back through the rain and settled in with Netflix to watch Fargo and then What’s Eating Gilbert Grape just for the hell of it.  Well, we finished watching around midnight and were ready to cash in when I happened to notice a bug crawling on my pant leg.  Worried that it was a tick after our many days in camping, I asked Marissa to take a look.  “That’s no tick, that’s a bed bug!”  Fuck!  Are there any more?  Do you see any?  I’ve never had to deal with bedbugs.  Well, a quick little glance around the room revealed a whole bunch of the little shits crawling on the walls and god knows how many in the carpet.  God damnit!

Well, to keep this short since it’s already 3 in the morning, we’re soaked from the rain, and we are just now settling in to a shitty motel (which we were going to do originally, anyway) and waiting till morning to run our clothes through the drier.  Apparently it’s the only way to kill them (good thing we are wearing mostly wool and chamois which can’t be dried, haha)  I’m so pissed I can’t even sleep though.  Tomorrow was supposed to be an early morning and, with luck, and decent send off since we have a lot of riding to do.  Now, we have to do a massive bug search of all our bags, still pick up our maps at the post office, and manage to sleep.

I was really hoping to update this soon with a good bit on all the great experiences we’ve been having too.  Sorry, maybe I’ll have some time to burn tomorrow while we use the laundromat.