The master plan - I fail to be Joy's toy-boy - CycleBlaze

April 13, 2008

The master plan

I have a timetable. I took the tip from Adventure Cycling when I rode the Transam last year and, before the start, received a list of towns in which we expected to stay the night. I could see the point of the organisation and I can profit from it now, not to follow it slavishly but to make sure that I'm not on one side of the Cascades one day with my plane leaving from the other side the next.

The timetable works out that I shall be in Minneapolis for July 4. I imagine they celebrate July 4 in Minneapolis. I doubt, on the other hand, that they do much to mark July 14, France's national day, in Hitterdal. I have never even heard of Hitterdal. Hitterdal is The Town The Northern Tier Made Famous. But only once you've been there.

Hitterdal is one of 80 places that fall at about the right distance, each of which I have been looking up on the web. And what fun that's been. By speeding up or slowly down, I know where I can spend an afternoon listening to a brass-band concert in the shade of a lighthouse; I know where I can join a fife-and-drum band through the town on Memorial Day; I know where I can go kayaking through seas of porpoise and whales.

I have found two preserved steam trains, which I've always found irresistible, and the site of a colossal train smash in the 19th century (even more irresistible). I have noted walking tours of interesting

Give me an old steam engine to look at and you've lost me to my dreams...
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places and a bus tour (in a bright yellow coach marked Da Bus and led by dudes in 1920s suits) of the gangster sites of Chicago. You will gather that I don't demand a lot of enigma in my life. I have also, because it's there, arranged to spend a couple of nights at a nudist camp site. I've done that before by bike. I can't describe the joy of getting somewhere sweaty, salt-caked and dirt-stained and being able to drop your bike in a hedge and get rid of all your kit without having to find your spare clothes, soap, towel and then the showers. If it rains, of course, assume all these advantages to be cancelled.

(I mentioned this to a friend in Seattle. She replied to say she'd never talked to anyone about it before but that, since I'd mentioned it, yes, she and every other cyclist she knew had a love-hate relationship with cycling shorts. The moment you put them on, you want to ride your bike. The moment you've stopped, you can't wait to get them off again.)

I should get to Anacortes around August 19, have a day off, then ride down to Seattle to spend a few days with a friend before jetting back over the ice floes to Paris.

The one thing I haven't discovered is how to find out more about the Indian reserves I shall be passing through. I'm a little concerned - dismayed is a better word - at the suspicion and feel of risk that others have said they felt as they rode through. Others say that some folk forget we're no longer in the 19th century. I am an inveterate optimist. I expect things to go well and generally they do. Even when they don't, they provide new experiences and tales of their own. So I'd like to see more of the Indian reserves and of Indian life than the ribbon of road I shall be riding and the casinos I gather I shall be passing.

But there's plenty of time for all that.

Arrive Boston May 16 Fr

1. Boston, sightseeing May 17 Sa

2. Littleton 56km camp May 18 Su

3. Exeter 95km camp May 19 Mo

4. West Kennebunk 87km camp May 20 Tu

5. Bradbury Mountain 93km camp May 21 We

6. Newcastle-Damariscotta 68km camp May 22 Th

7. Rest day, Newcastle May 23 Fr

8. Turner 98km camp May 24 Sa

9. Conway 89km camp May 25 Su

10. North Haverhill 77km camp May 26 Mo

11. Gaysville 116km camp May 27 Tu

12. Ticonderoga 92km camp May 28 We

13. Long Lake 98km camp May 29 Th

14. Boonville 116km hotel May 30 Fr

15. Rest day Boonville hotel May 31 Sa

16. Texas 90km camp June 1 Su

17. Sodus Point 90km camp June 2 Mo

18. Rochester 81km camp June 3 Tu

19. Lockport 98km camp June 4 We

20. Niagara Falls 40km hotel June 5 Th

21. Rest day Niagara Falls June 6 Fr

22. Spare day hotel June 7 Sa

23. Point Breeze 85km camp June 8 Su

24: Lake City 100km camp June 9 Mo

25: Painesville 90km camp June 10 Tu

26: Huron 103km camp June 11 We

27: Gibsonburg 77km camp June 12 Th

28: Defiance 92km hotel June 13 Fr

29: Rest day, Defiance June 14 Sa

30: Monroeville 60km camp June 15 Su

31: Lagro 90km camp June 16 Mo

32: Buffalo 103km camp June 17 Tu

33: Rensselaer 40km hotel June 18 We

34: Train: Rensselaer to Chicago June 19 Th

35: Train: Chicago to Rensselaer June 20 Fr

36: Iroquois 84km camp June 21 Sa

37: Odell 98km camp June 22 Su

38: Henry 85km camp June 23 Mo

39: Orion 111km hotel June 24 Tu

40: Muscatine 69km hotel June 25 We

41: Oxford Junction 80km camp June 26 Th

42: Dyersville 81km camp June 27 Fr

43: Marquette 118km Camp June 28 Sa

44: Viroqua 85km June 29 Su

45: Rest day Viroqua June 30 Mo

46. Minneiska 97km camp July 1 Tu

47. Frontenac 80km camp July 2 We

48. Afton State Park 80km camp July 3 Th

49. Minneapolis 85km hotel July 4 Fr

50. Rest day, Minneapolis hotel July 5 Sa

51. Stillwater 58km hotel July 6 Su

52: Harris 95km hotel July 7 Mo

53: Isle 103km camp July 8 Tu

54: Palisade 94km camp July 9 We

55: Grand Rapids 89km camp July 10 Th

56: Rest day Grand Rapids July 11 Fr

57: Pennington 103km camp July 12 Sa

58: Two Inlets 110km camp July 13 Su

59: Hitterdal 105km camp July 14 Mo

60: Arthur 102km camp July 15 Tu

61: Cooperstown 97km camp July 16 We

62: Fort Totten 129km camp July 17 Th

63: Buffalo Lake 92km camp July 18 Fr

64: Towner 81km camp July 19 Sa

65: Minot 79km camp July 20 Su

66: Rest day Minot July 21 Mo

67: New Town 118km camp July 22 Tu

68: Williston 115km camp July 23 We

69: Culbertson 73km camp July 24 Th

70: Wolf Point 85km camp July 25 Fr

71: Glasgow 90km camp July 26 Sa

72: Saco 85km camp July 27 Su

73: Harlem 115km camp July 28 Mo

74: Havre 68km camp July 29 Tu

75. Rest day Havre July 30 We

76: Chester 98km camp July 31 Th

77: Cut Bank 108km camp Aug 1 Fr

78: Cardston 116km camp Aug 2 Sa

79: Rest day Cardston Aug 3 Su

80: Babb 97km hotel Aug 4 Mo

81: Lake McDonald 80km camp Aug 5 Tu

82: Stryker 110km camp Aug 6 We

83: Rexford 58km camp Aug 7 Th

84: Libby Dam 55km camp Aug 8 Fr

85: Pillick Ridge 89km camp Aug 9 Sa

86: Sandpoint 73km hotel Aug 10 Su

87: Rest day Sandpoint Aug 11 Mo

88: Usk 81km camp Aug 12 Tu

89: Pend Oreille 90km camp Aug 13 We

90: Sherman Pass 94km camp Aug 14 Th

91: Tonasket 111km hotel Aug 15 Fr

92: Twisp 98km camp Aug 16 Sa

93: Diablo 110km camp Aug 17 Su

94: Concrete 76km camp Aug 18 Mo

95: Anacortes 100km hotel Aug 19 Tu

96: Rest day Anacortes Aug 20 We

97: Port Hadlock 86km camp Aug 21 Th

98: Bremerton 80km camp Aug 22 Fr

99: Seattle Aug 23 Sa

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