June 17: Dalbo to Aitkin, Minnesota - The Great North American Sticky Bun Hunt - CycleBlaze

June 17: Dalbo to Aitkin, Minnesota

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THERE'S NOT A LOT to say of today. We were on the same road for 90km with not even much of a view of Mille Lacs (pronounced, to our chagrin, Milly Lacks).

For Paul it must have been a lot more thoughtful a time because by noon we learned that the growing wind at our back and therefore in his face had been elevated to a "tornado watch."

By late afternoon people were growing surer whenever we spoke that this was going to be the storm of the year. We don't have tornados in Europe - well, we have them once in a lifetime because it is, after all, a Spanish word - and we're not used to the extremes of American weather and what the terminology means. The tent will stand up to a great deal, including being blasted in a mountain peak storm in the Pyrenees, but...

We opted for a motel. That night the television kept beeping at us, another novelty and a puzzling one until we realised it was a tornado alert. The weather outside was turning worse and the

The lovely old cinema in Aitkin.
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announcer told us to head for a basement if it deteriorated further. In the event it turned into just a heck of a blow and the only local casualty was a tree felled in the campground next to the motel. "But that woulda come down some day soon anyhow," the owner told us.

Old-time store in Aitkin. Judy Garland sang here as a child and there used to be a small exhibition. But the shop's now closed.
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We were lucky. The tornado split into several tails and wandered off around the area but overlooked Aitkin. We heard that several people had died not that far away.

There are times I feel grateful to be a western European: no tornados, no hurricanes, no poisonous snakes, too few bears to be worth counting, no poison ivy and no extremes of temperature.

AMERICAN FLAGS SEEN: 87

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