Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Getting Back to Detouring!

Location: Lancaster, MN 56735, USA
We realised we'd not really detoured for many a long mile so from Winnipeg we headed pretty much due south. This meant chancing our hand to see if they'd let us over the border into the U.S. again so we could take a route south of the Great Lakes on our way to Oshawa and Toronto. The route north of Lake Superior is meant to be beautiful but by all accounts a death trap for cyclists. Almost every Trans-Canada rider and a load of motorists had warned us about this stretch of road so avoiding it seemed a good plan, plus if we got into the States then our route could take us via a few old friends.

So after an awesome breakfast of French toast and bacon we said farewell to Claire and Richard and got on the road. Sadly the wind was in our faces the whole day so it was hot, sweaty work and required numerous cold drink stops which ultimately resulted in me needing to use a washroom (when in Canada, restroom in the U.S.) We'd just stopped for more cold drinks in Tolstoi and I asked the cashier if they had washrooms, no she replied, but there were public ones in the community park along with a water tap. Great stuff, we'll head there, have lunch, take advantage of the facilities before our border crossing attempt less than 10 miles away. Whilst the park itself was perfectly lovely the water tap said 'do not drink, untreated, unpotable' which was no big deal, we had a fair amount of water still. The 'washroom' on the other hand, well a picture tells a thousand words so I'll let the picture talk.

After our somewhat unsuccessful lunch stop we quickly found ourselves approaching the border. A sign welcomed us to the U.S. and since there was zero other traffic we made our way to the guards station with no need for queueing, quite a different story to our initial entry. He asked us a few questions, had to really stare at Tom & his passport photo to determine they were the same person and informed us our old ESTA had run out and we needed a new one at the cost of $6 each. We were directed into the building, paid the fee, had our fingerprints taken and retinas scanned and hey presto! We were back in!

Just down the road we were greeted with our first new state sign since Idaho. Hello Minnesota! The wind was still pushing against us but in no time we were in Lancaster where there was a campground and store. All we needed. The town tornado siren sounded but since it was very short lived we decided it was just a test. But when it did the same again at 10pm I woke Tom as I couldn't believe they'd test it so late. He told me to go back to sleep, but I was freaked out about what we'd do if there was a tornado and my head was filled with pictures of our tent and bikes being whisked away. I did eventually fall asleep, but the alarm went off at 5:15am and we were soon on the road again, bleary eyed and in search of wifi. We needed to let the Warm Showers host we'd contacted for tonight know we'd made it over the border and were on our way, but this was rural North Minnesota and I'm not sure wifi had made it up here. When we stopped for breakfast in Stephen a kind lady let us use her phone so we were able to leave a voicemail with our host since payphones also had not made it to this neck of the woods.

The wind was really blowing and consistently from the south. It was a hot, sweltering day and the wind was so remarkably hot and along with the effort of pedalling into a headwind we were both really feeling it and needed to take a number of breaks for cold drinks and to just get a few minutes shelter from the relentless buffeting of the wind. We finally arrived into Crookston at our hosts' house at 6:30, we'd been on the road for 12 hours and covered 80 miles. We downed beautiful cold iced tea, showered and did laundry.  After chatting with our host family we went to bed exhausted but happy that we weren't outside in the wind and away from the tornado siren. This had been our toughest day for a long time, but we'd made it. The scary part was that we had the same distance to do the next day to get to our friends in Fargo and if the wind was from the south again we didn't think we'd make it. 

1 comment:

  1. The question is should we start a "fund" so that Tom can have his beard trimmed or even removed, it must be slowing him down? Mr P