In rural areas of the USA it is not uncommon to come across roadside art. Sometimes, however, things stay in your mind. Near Napoleon, ND, this parade of old threshing machines invites you to walk up and touch them. A little bit of history with a touch of humor ... ''
Day 39 - Enderlin to Moorhead, Minnesota
The rainshowers this morning in Enderlin definitely did not deter me because the wind was from the west and strong! So off I went.
My first stop for a cup of coffee and a sandwich (did I tell you that I'm always hungry and seem to be losing weight all the time?) got me into a discussion with a workman who - as always - asked me, "Where you headin' and where'd you come from?" and I found out that he works as a heavy machine operator and is licenced for four types of cranes. The problem with his licences is that the employer can put all the responsibility on to him; "If the client says this stuff weighs 10000 pounds and in reality it's 30000, and an accident happens the company will just hold me responsible. But if I say I won't do it, the client says then he'll get someone who can!" So be careful with those weights you're lifting, I said, and his reply was, "and you stay safe on the road!"
Speaking of safety, I exchanged my "high-visibility" yellow shirt for my red one. Why? Well, in Gackle I heard of a 75-year-old cyclist who was killed in an accident because the driver didn't see him.
Two days ago in Gackle Jason Miller of the Honey Hub had told me that story and someone else in that town advised me to wear a red shirt because the yellow shirt blended in too much with the drying vegetation around Hwy 10. So I put my red shirt over my blue long sleeved shirt which protects me from the sun. And the shoulders on that road are for many kms practically non-existent. In Enderlin yesterday a truck driver came up to me in the gas station and literally thanked me for wearing red on that road so that together with my red panniers he could see me much more easily than with yellow. This information needs to be passed on to ACA!
I reached my warmshowers host Delia Ann Landstrom early in the day after 94 kms and immediately felt welcome. She and her daughter Samantha even offered to take me to my massage appointment! That was very relaxing especially since the therapist did a good job on my quads - even if it could have lasted longer, but it was nice to be pampered after more than six weeks on the road. Tomorrow will be a day off.
|Enderlin, ND||Fargo, ND||94||58,409||3437,4||2135,90||23||18,30||30||22204||32|
Day 39 - Gackle to Enderlin, NDDay 38 - Gackle to Enderlin, ND
Another day with 120 kms - this is becoming a habit I do not really need. I don't have all that energy, and I'll be done far too quickly; that would be a waste, wouldn't it?!
After washing all my clothes at the Honey Hub in Gackle I feel almost civilized again, but today I set a new record: If you look at the map I could have set my bike on autopilot all the way, well almost. There was one relief to the tiring monotony of 120kms in a straight line and that was when I went down a long hill into the Cheyenne river valley and then up again on the other side. Here I saw three men drilling and I stopped to ask "Water or oil?" "Oil, of course" was the curt answer and off I went. Getting closer to Enderlin I had this memory of old Western movies from the sixties or seventies where all major events in the "Wild West" were started or settled (in court) in Fargo: The Wells Fargo Stagecoach, for example
or stories about going West to find gold or new land ...
There was one funny thing, though, which my "deformation professionelle" as a teacher makes me comment on: On the road and on the maps as well I find two different spellings of the town name "Montpelier" or "Montpeller". Now, if I remember my French correctly it should be "Montpellier", however, if you take into account historical deformation of the name, maps and signs should at least be consistent ... sorry ... "Am I being difficult?" would now be the appropriate US-phrase to what I am doing here 🙂 Actually, I tried that phrase in a Subway restaurant once when all those decisions I had to make about the type of bread and what went on my sandwich had me bewildered and I looked at the lady next to me, raising my brow and asked her, "am I being difficult???" and she responded (maybe automatically, for all I know), "No, you're fine!"
It was again very hot (36 C) during the day and my pace is draining me so I bought a large pizza and retired to a motel in Enderlin to cool my aching (and stupidly sunburned!) legs and plan the visit to Fargo tomorrow. I decided to put in a day of rest in Fargo and made a reservation at a Spa for a sports (stretching) massage for tomorrow evening at 6 pm. What a delicious feeling of anticipation.
I haven't decided on accomodation, but have several options. My wish come true would be a warmshowers host ...
People Did I ever tell you how I got my bear spray, or as some people call it, bear maze? Well, when I met a fellow cyclist from Switzerland, Felix Schleuniger, after Banff, who was done with his tour of the Great Continental Divide, he gave his bear spray to me because he had no more use for it. Although I didn’t really believe I would ever get into a situation to really need it, I thanked him and put it away. Some people carry it always on their handlebar in a special pouch. I’ve been reading stories about and by cyclists for so long now that I believe the bear spray industry is doing a very good PR job 😉 . In the plains of Montana I decided once again to check on excessive weight and the spray can came to my mind. But I started to worry about how to dispose of it: Just throw it away into a trashcan? No, I couldn’t do that. What if a kid saw me or found it and attacked someone with it knowingly or unknowingly? No, that wouldn’t do! And there was another problem: was it legal to carry bear spray in states to the east of Montana? Wasn’t it categorized as a weapon? Well, I decided that the next police station would have answers for me. The first town was spared because I simply forgot about it. But the next town (I think it was Glasgow, MT) I reminded myself to check in with the police and that was a very strange experience. A Conversation With A Police Officer Who Was Trying To Be Helpful “Hi there, can you help me?” I asked a lady in her thirties behind the glass wall inside Glasgow police station in Montana. “Sure, Sir, what can I do for you?” she answered. “Well, I’ve got a little problem with this bear spray I’ve been carrying around with me on my bike. I’ve been cycling through the Rockies in Canada and in Montana but now I feel I don’t need it anymore.” “Why is that, sir? You can always use it,” was her answer. “No, I don’t think I’ll meet wild bears east of here, and so the can is an unnecessary weight factor for me. How can I dispose of it?” “Why, Sir, why don’t you keep it in case you’re attacked?” “Oh, you mean by the fierce dogs on the Indian reservations I’ve heard about … I’ve thought about that but I’m afraid that if I do the owner will get into his car and follow me with his shotgun,” I answered, trying still to make her see the uselessness of my “weapon”. ”Actually I meant by people …” This was getting stranger by the minute. “I don’t even know if it is legal to carry bear spray in states east of Montana,” I tried once more to get her to tell me how to dispose of a dangerous can of bear spray in a responsible way. “Oh, I believe that’s no problem,” she retorted. “Are you sure?, I asked and she shouted out loudly into the adjoining room, “Hey, Bill, is it legal to carry bear spray east of Montana?” “Sure, no problem,” came the answer. “So, you see, you can keep it,” was her pragmatic conclusion. She still didn’t see my issue. So I gave it one last try. “I will not keep it, so what do I do with it?” “Just throw it away then if you don’t want it …” “What do you mean – throw it into a trash can?” I asked, absolutely confounded. “Sure, everyone does that.” “But, but, … “, my god, I was stuttering! “But what if a kid finds it and does something stupid with it? No, I want a responsible solution, Madame!” I knew now that from her point of view I was getting – as the Americans say – “difficult”. “Ok, let me have it then.” Yes! That was what I had wanted. I wanted the responsibility off my neck and I wanted a safe disposal of the can! She came out through her secure door, took my can of dangerous bear spray, went back inside and made it a point for me to see her throwing it into the waste paper basket in her office!