Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 4 - East Grand Forks, MN - Neepawa, Manitoba, Canada

Woke up at 6:30 and left East Grand Forks around 7:30 after taking the tent down and packing everything in about an hour.  The town is deserted at this time in the morning. I stopped in front of the River Cinema right across from a Cabela's store. The bridge in the background is the one I walked last night to watch the concert.  My next stop is in front of city hall, deserted as well, I could have ridden the bike on the sidewalk and no one would have noticed.

Across from City Hall there were more farm animals, they seem to be all over the city.

I cross the bridge into North Dakota and head towards Devils Lake thinking it's going to be something nice to see but when I got there I was a little disappointed, it's just a huge lake and a little town called Devils Lake.  I didn't take any pictures of the lake, it was far from the road and nothing spectacular.

A little later the sky turned from a bright blue to a cloudy and rain threatening sky, it never rained but the wind was the worst I have encountered so far on this trip.  The wind was blowing from the south and the bike kept veering towards the edge of the road, never a good thing.

Across North Dakota you see lots of silos and farms, it's amazing how many miles of farms I passed.  The ride was boring and the wind was relentless.

I continue west eventually reaching the town of Rugby, the geographical center of North America, who knew Rugby was the center, wow, I wonder why it's called Rugby? It's not even a big sport in North America.

Rugby is a city in Pierce County, North Dakota in the United States. It is the county seat of Pierce County. The population was 2,876 at the 2010 census.[1] Rugby was founded in 1886.
Rugby is often billed as being the geographic center of North America.  Wiki

The wind was so bad and the temperature had dropped to the low 60's that I stopped in Rugby and bought a scarf and a long sleeve sweatshirt. The scarf helps to stop the wind from going down your back.  I will add it to my list for the next trip for sure.
Rugby is also the place where I made a right and headed north into Canada.  As I approach Dunseith, the last town in the US I spot this giant turtle and stop to take a picture, that's when I notice it's made with wheel rims, I wonder who's idea it was, great imagination for sure.

I continue to the border and stop on the Canadian side.  The office comes out and asks where am I going, I say Alaska and Whitehorse, he asks who am I going to see in Whitehorse, I reply friends on motorcycles like mine.  He asks me if I'm carrying any drugs, alcohol or weapons, I say no.  He asks how long I'm going to stay in Canada, I say not sure.  He goes inside with my drivers license and after a few minutes comes out and tells me to park the bike over by the table.  He then asks me to open my bags and says he's going to search them.  Another officer comes out and helps him.  At this point I'm getting upset and annoyed.  While opening my camera bag he drops one of my batteries on the floor and I ask him to be careful with my stuff, it's expensive.  He looks at me and says he HAS the right to search.  I say, search all you want, just don't break anything.  At this point I'm thinking, DUMB ASS, I almost felt like telling to keep Canada to himself, I will return to the US but unfortunately I keep my mouth shut since I do want to get to Alaska and don't feel like flying.
They search everything including inside my sleeping bag, didn't take the sleeping bag out but inserted his hand inside, I felt like telling him where he could insert his hand.  In the mean time I open a bag of peanuts and proceed to eat them, might as well, there was nothing for me to do.
After a while he says everything is good and I should enjoy my stay in Canada, I'm thinking, go F... yourself.
Afterwards he is very friendly and asks what route I'm taking and even suggest a better one, again I'm thinking of saying "I don't need your stinking help" but I keep my mouth shut again.  Time to move on.

I'm in Canada, Manitoba is my port of entry.

Further up the road I spot another giant creature, it's starting to be a theme with me.

The sun was going down fast when I spot this Canadian fighter on the side of the road, not sure what's doing there but I stop to take a picture, I love planes.

I was planning on getting on highway 16 but miss the turn and continue to Neepawa when I realise I made a mistake.  It was late and I was tired, I decided to find some food and then find a campsite in Neepawa.
I find a very nice campsite by a little river and get a site.  I get my site right next to a British guy who has 4 motorcycles, used to race them and now lives in Canada and works in the agriculture business.
I setup my tent and then walk to the river to take a picture, nothing special, just a little river.

We talk about motorcycles, he says he's jealous of my trip and wishes he could do it too.  I ask him what he does and he says he runs his quad through farms analyzing the soil and the crops for a big corporation.  He tells me he covers 50000 acres of farmland for a big company.  The next day he was supposed to drive his F-150 with the quad 2 hours north and then spend the day in the field surveying the land.  I never knew such a job existed.  You can see his F-150 and quad in the picture.  He lives temporarily in a camper.

I make a cup of soup and eat the burger I had bought earlier in Neepawa.   Later I have a cup of coffee and then retire to the tent for a good night sleep.

My camping equipment, a $2.99 bottle for the water, Coleman fuel and stove and a plastic cup, ah, the joys of camping.

305 miles today, not too bad, a leisurely ride.


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To be continued.......

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 3 - Cable - East Grand Forks

Had a great time last night chatting about rides and motorcycles, had a good sleep and today had the best breakfast so far on this trip, but I have a place to go and there's no wasting time. Nancy prepared a breakfast for a king, had eggs, bacon, toast, melon and wild rice pancakes with juice, wow, thanks Nancy.

We had just finished breakfast when out the back window I spot a fox in the backyard.  I quickly grabbed my camera from the bike and snapped a few shots while Nancy threw cakes out the back sliding door to the little fox, apparently they like Nancy's cakes too.

Four of Nancy's cats, all very friendly, they actually came to me and let me pet them.

Erik was a good host but it's time to head out.  I will use Erik's photo (without his permission but I suspect he won't mind).

I left Cable, Wisconsin and headed north into the Chequamegon national Forest taking County Hwy N towards County Road 27 and eventually Highway 2 towards Duluth.  The forest roads were beautiful and I encountered no traffic on the road.

Passed Duluth without stopping but pulled over a little later, now in Minnesota when this big fighter jet caught my eye.  It was a monument dedicated to two pilots who died on the crash of the F-101.  I have always wanted to be a fighter jet pilot but life didn't turn out that way, now I ride motorcycles, you get the same freedom as flying but only in two dimensions.

Right next to the fighter was this gigantic locomotive, I think it's appropriate to park one locomotive next to another, mine only has two wheels though.

My next stop was at the first dam of the mighty Mississippi River.  The river starts just a few miles further up but it was out of my way and I decided not to visit the lake where the Mississippi begins it's journey to the Gulf coast.

I continued west on Highway 2 and saw lots of this on the Chippewa National Forest,

and a few threatening clouds but didn't run into rain until much later,

and a really big fish, now this trip is starting to get weird, pink elephants, huge fish, what next?

After a while I felt like stopping to take a break and found this secluded place where I could park my bike on the railroad, why? Because I could, there was no one around and I could hear a train coming for miles if there was one but I never saw one.

Further down the road I pulled into the town of Bemidji when I saw a sign for Paul Bunyan.  I had encountered another giant Paul Bunyan and Babe out in California in 2010.  I walked around and saw the poor Indian guy hiding behind the trees, maybe he is hiding from Paul, he is actually facing Paul on the opposite side of the street.

A little later I saw this dilapidated church and a few rusting old cars next to it, I couldn't resist and turned around to take a picture with the old cars.

I continued west but after running through a rain storm I decided to call it quits and found a nice camp site in East Grand Forks.  I setup the tent, put a few things away and proceeded to walk across the bridge to Grand Forks where I could hear music playing.

The Red river separates Minnesota from North Dakota, Grand Forks is on the Dakota side. This is looking into East Grand Forks.

And this is the Bridge I walked to get to the music on the other side, not a lot of traffic in these little towns.

There was a Blues Concert going on and the place by the water was packed, I stayed listening to the music and then wondered around town admiring the old but still magnificent buildings.

This place caught my eye, thought about my wife, I'm sure I could find something she would like but the place was closed, damn it.

Found a railway track going right through the middle of town, decided to have some fun and take pictures, seemed like there would be no trains coming through.

This building was built in 1891 and looks brand new.

Walked back across the river, it was time to leave the music and return to camp, I still had to eat something and get ready to hit the bed.

A slower way of traveling if you willing to pedal, a beautiful yellow and black Schwinn.

East Grand Forks is a cute little town with a few restaurants by the water.  Saw lots of these animal statues along the water front.

I return to the campsite, take a quick shower and go straight to bed, it was late and I want to get up early and cover some mileage tomorrow across North Dakota.  I will leave you with some nice pictures of the sunset I saw over the Red River.

334 miles for the day, not a very long day, had time to do some sight seeing and smell the roses.

To be continued.....