Biker Me, Motorist Me, Wacky Me - Greg's Questionable Judgement - CycleBlaze

August 20, 2013

Biker Me, Motorist Me, Wacky Me

Little Yellowstone County Park

All heads turned my way when I walked into the Gackle Cafe at 8:00 a.m.  There were six men sitting at one table and eight men sitting at another.  On the other side of the room was a table of six women.  None of them appeared to be under the age of 60, and not one person was having anything other than coffee.  No pancakes, no bacon, no orange juice--just coffee.  As I worked my way to an open table I was greeted with a couple of polite "hellos" and then they went back to chatting at their respective tables.

I sat alone, ordered coffee and a small breakfast, eavesdropped on some conversations at the nearest table, and quietly ate my eggs and hashbrowns when they were delivered.  Only after I got up to pay for my meal did I start getting peppered with questions about my bike trip.  I also got weather reports, information on road conditions, and wishes for a safe journey.  The owner of the cafe thanked me most emphatically with a firm pat on the back.  I assumed he was overjoyed that at least one of his customers actually ordered some food.  When I left the place I was feeling pretty special.

Back out on the same hot, straight, flat, featureless highway, my mind started getting a little wacky.  Let's just say that if I had been driving a car I would probably have sped up and said to myself, "This is excruciating.  Let's get the hell out of this waste land."

Then the cyclist part of me would reply, "Seriously?  Did you not notice the pretty rolling hills off in the distance?  Or those lakes and wetlands?"

"Those aren't lakes," Motorist-Me retorted, "Superior is a lake.  Those things are more like ponds or swamps."

"They may be small, but certainly you appreciated seeing the variety of ducks and herons and pelicans."

"The WHAT?"

"You heard me," Biker-Me said.  "Water fowl."

"Well, I think I might have seen a couple of ducks," remembered Motorist-Me.

"Ha!  At my slower pace I was able to see hundreds of ducks.  I chuckled at one kind of duck that takes off by running on the water and pounding its wings on the surface like some kind of aquatic drummer.  And there must have been at least 30 white pelicans out there on one of those ponds."

"Oh," said Motorist-Me.

Biker-Me kept it up.  "Did you see the hawks?"

"Oh yeah," Motorist Me perked up, "it was sitting on a telephone pole.  I have to admit, THAT was pretty cool.  I love birds of prey."

"IT?  You saw one hawk and that was pretty cool, huh?  I must have seen at least 20 of them soaring around all morning.  Several of them screamed out that CHREEEEEeeeeee sound they make."

"Well, how do you expect me to hear that with the windows closed, the air-conditioner running, and Spoon blasting on the sound system," Motorist me replied, feeling kind of hip with the Spoon reference.

"Not only that," Biker-Me continued, "one of the red-tail hawks played a little game with me.  As I approached his telephone pole perch, it took off and flew to another pole up ahead.  When I got to that pole, it did the same thing.  The process repeated itself four times until it flew across the road and yelled "CHREEEEEEEEeeeeeeee!"

Unimpressed, Motorist-Me bragged, "Whatever you saw or whatever you did, it took you all day.  It only took me an hour."

Biker-Me had nothing to say.

The road. All day.
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North Dakota--"The Haybale State"
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It was so quiet on these roads and there was so little traffic that sometimes I felt like I was in a deep wilderness.  A couple of times I nearly wiped out, which got me to wonder how long it would have been before my broken, bloody body would have been found by a passing motorist--15-20 minutes maybe?  

One of the near-accidents occurred when I was staring at a lone sunflower growing out of a crack in the highway and I absent-mindedly veered onto the rumble strip.  The other close call happened when a small rodent suddenly bolted out in front of me from the side of the road.

This evening I am camped at the Little Yellowstone Park.  The park is located in a deep valley through which the Sheyenne River flows.  There are no other campers.  It is 99-degrees.  Oak trees tower above me and provide a little shade as I write in my little notebook. 

At 8:30 p.m., all of the dragonflies in Barnes County got together in a clearing at the north end of the campground for a dragonfly jamboree.  Thousands of them are flying back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.  At 9:00, several owls began hooting.  I laid in the sweat lodge that was my tent. 

Today's ride: 56 miles (90 km)
Total: 1,574 miles (2,533 km)

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Scott AndersonSounds like a totally brilliant day to me.
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5 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Scott AndersonYes. Despite the sweatiness, it was a magical day.
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5 months ago