Day 61 Lake Bronson State Park to Thief River Falls, Minnesota: UQ Times Two - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

June 30, 2011

Day 61 Lake Bronson State Park to Thief River Falls, Minnesota: UQ Times Two

At the little deli by the entrance to the state park, Cindy fixed us up with breakfast egg sandwiches, cheaper and better than McDonalds, of course. She also packed us a lunch and washed and refilled all our water bottles. We hope we will say this lots more: this type of kindness is unexpected but quite common. As you will read just below, we met our third touring cyclists this day - Victor and Sue - and among the many bits of information we exchanged was Victor's observation that most people are honest and good hearted. In a rural area where people are thin on the ground, therefore, you would have to work hard to actually find a bad one.

Our view of Bronson Lake
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The lovely park at Bronson Lake
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Feeders at the deli attracted many yellow finches
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We set off South into the headwind again. We had not gone far when an exciting silhouette loomed on the horizon at the other side of the road. Yes, a touring bike! It turned out to be Victor and Sue, or 'Rochester to Virginia via Vancouver'' on CGOAB!

Naturally we pulled over and so began to exchange first UQs and then all sorts of other information. Even a one way UQ exchange with someone can be pretty rapid fire, but four excited cyclists make for quite a UQ barrage! That is not all we talked about, though. We covered a discussion of whether the various legends of which way the prevailing winds blow are accurate (not!), Schwalbe tire failures, GPS uses (or not), what would be involved if one were to ask someone in a car to beam you out of a dire situation - like away from thirst, hunger, heat, rain, cold, or injury, paved shoulders (or not) and driver behaviour by region, etc. etc.

This all went by fairly quickly, but Victor soon echoed what we all must have been thinking 'How long have we been here?'. Even retired people or those on year long trips feel the need to get on with it. We have had to fight the urge to blow past museums and points of interest. But in this case, all agreed, and we had headwinds to fight!

The arrow shows how we have left the prairie and will be cutting through tallgrass aspen into coniferous forest while in Minnesota
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Sue and Victor! Only the third cyclist we have seen in two months.
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Good luck, Sue and Victor.
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We did fight on. Towns in this area each have a water tower, and we have found these useful targets. In fact, they look exactly like the 'pins' that the GPS sticks on its maps for places found in a search. Photos below show the Karlstad tower in the distance and then closer up. Karlstad styles itself the Moose Capital, so here is the moose's rear and the Karlstad tower. Karlstad had a nice covered gazebo, which we used to good advantage for lunch. A nearby restaurant supplied ice water and also a milkshake!

The town itself struck us as very pretty and neat. Here for example is the tidy church.

Follow that water tower
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The moose's rear
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Good picnic site at Karlstad
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The moose right way round
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Karlstad is a neat town
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This cute downtown building is unoccupied
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The neat church at Karlstad
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The headwind continued very strong and the temperature rose to at least 90F (32C). We naturally encouraged each other to keep drinking, and we did have quite a bit of water on board (8 bottles). We drank about six, but when you are working hard in the heat there is a limit to the effectiveness of water in keeping you going. We started to pour some over our heads too, but Dodie really began to suffer.

The next town was Strandquist. This is a small hamlet with no remaining business district. However I spotted a church and told Dodie we had better head for it. Dodie said she did not think she could go on, but I said 'Look, the church is just over there'. She tried for a little while, but then got off her bike and collapsed.

Collapsing in the open sun is not a recommended procedure. We had thought about the possible need for shade in open areas and actually bought a tarp just for this. In this case though the sun was directly overhead, and making any shade was difficult. I tried bringing a bike around and making shade, but no real luck. So I got Dodie up.

First I asked her to drink more. 'I CAN'T DRINK ANY MORE'. 'NO'. 'I DON'T NEED IT, I DON'T WANT IT'. (Not just shades of Avi and Violet, but a direct quote).

So, I poured a bottle over her head. 'NO, NO, IT'S HOT'. 'Yes, think of it as a 'warm shower'. 'NO, THE WATER WILL MAKE THE SUN BURN ME!' 'Lookit, we have to go to the church'.

So Dodie started pedalling again. 'Turn at the stop sign'. 'WHAT STOP SIGN?' 'OK, turn right, NOW'. 'NOW WHAT?' 'Just go straight'.

Dodie was pretty disoriented, but she did get to the church. I put her on the shaded back steps and walked around the building, looking for a hose spigot that would give cold water. No luck. So, knowing that Dodie was more or less OK in the shade, I went across the street to a house there. That house was abandoned. So I started walking down the street, to find some cold water somewhere.

At this point, Vance pulled up. 'Water?' he asked. Vance turned out to be the president of the church. On the back steps, Dodie was passed out. 'Is she OK?' he asked worriedly. 'Oh sure' I said. (I knew that she did have enough water in her and that like those sponge dinosaurs that you soak in water, she would reconstitute if soaked a bit more.)

We did get Dodie up, and through the back door of the church. Inside it was very cool and dark. Perfect! Vance started some cool water pouring in the kitchen, and it wasn't long before Dodie was back to her old self.

Dodie is going to make it into the church
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Lowell and Vance really helped us out
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The church that saved the day
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Vance found some ice in the fridge, and we started to refill our water bottles with ice water.

At this point, Lowell, Vance's brother arrived. We had a nice chat about the town and the church. Then the brothers invited us to stay as long as we wanted, even if we wanted to sleep there. With that, they left the church to us and went about their business!

What an ideal demonstration of Christian values. Help the strangers in distress. Show them trust, and offer them as much as they need. Thanks fellows!

We did stay a total of about two hours. When we set off again, miraculously the headwind was gone! With that we flew down the road toward Thief River Falls.

Very weird roadside display in the middle of nowhere
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More of the weird display
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How weird is this?
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It was not actually totally easy, though. The temperature and humidity were still high, and we still had to drink like crazy.

A caravan of Arctic Cat trucks. Arctic Cat is based at Thief River
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Thief River Falls
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Also, chafing was more of a problem for Dodie (due to all the water I'd poured on her - settled in her shorts she says). So by the time we reached Thief River Falls we were really zapped again. So we dragged ourselves to the 'C'mon Inn'. Wow! An air conditioned room with a large super comfy bed. Outside our door, a pool and hot tub.

There are a lot of pleasures in life, but man, lying on a comfy bed in the cool is right up there! So that's where we are, and if we can help it we're never leaving!

Dodie is beat but she made it to the Cmon Inn!
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Our bikes got their own own conference room.
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What we dreamed about out on the bikes.
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Today's ride: 85 km (53 miles)
Total: 3,471 km (2,155 miles)

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