Day 29
I shopped last night. After being hungry yesterday, I got enough food to last me for several days. Actually I got too much food, but heh, the roads are flat! I ate breakfast in my room and headed south into a 15 mph head wind. This was my first experience with disappearing shoulders, an all too common phenomena in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Riding down 75 the asphalt with shoulders changed to a narrow concrete (bump, bump, bump...) strip with no shoulders. This wasn't a real problem on 75 because traffic was very light, but it contributed to my getting run off the road later in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Both states have good bicycling maps and the Minnesota maps actually show where there are shoulders. If I tour through these states again I'll get those maps first.

I rode to Wolverton and stopped for a snack. Wolverton had had a cafe, but it is now closed. There is a small grocery store. Continuing south along the Red River, I made it to Brekenridge and ate Trosk (local cuisine, basically baked Cod). With the head wind I was only able to make 11 or 12 mph, so it took roughly five hours to cover 45 miles with one rest stop. I had another 55 miles to go, but the winds seemed to be shifting around more to the west and my route direction was changing from south to southeast, so I expected to make better time after lunch.

Speaking of rest stops, urination was a problem in Minnesota. With no cover along the roads (I got sunburned in Minnesota, not in Montana or North Dakota) and such a polite (uptight?) culture (some of the fields had porta potties for the workers) I couldn't just "stop and whip it out" here. This experience helped me appreciate the problems faced by women tourists. At my last stop before Moorhead, Perley MN, I got a Cenex state map. It has all the Cenex places marked on it and it was generally a good guide to finding bathrooms, but there weren't many on my route this day!

My friend, Sam, lives in Morris MN. Not a popular tourist destination, but it actually on a pretty good bicycle route through eastern Minnesota. I rode highway 9 to Morris and, later, on to Wilmar. It is a good bicycling road and, near Morris, has some rolling hills to relieve the boredom. Western Minnesota is flat, but the glacial edge (or whatever it's proper name is) is just east and north of Morris. As a result, things actually get pretty hilly in the center of the state. Riding on 9 keeps you on the fringe of those hills.

There are several neat things to watch for while riding out here. One is beautiful small country churches; there are a lot of them. The other is the culture/character of the small towns. There seem to be Norwegian/Lutheran towns and Irish/Catholic towns. These towns, even when close to each other and the same size, have markedly different character. I did see one town, Murphy, which was Irish on the north side (big cemetery and you enter town, and huge Catholic church) and Norwegian on the south side (smaller Lutheran church in town and smaller cemetery on the south edge of town). Garrison Keller's fictional Lake Woebegone is a remarkably accurate portrayal of a mixed, but mostly Norwegian, town. Trosk aside, I though the Irish towns were better places to stop.

I reached Morris about 6:30 in the evening. My friend was in the process of moving from a house he had rented into a house he was buying, so I got the rental house to myself. I stayed there two nights. The first night I went out to dinner with Sam and Nancy (Sam's wife). My rest day I did some shopping, visited the local library, and Morris Minnesota (the campus of the University of Minnesota where Sam works), read, and cleaned and lubed my chain. A very pleasant day.

The chain cleaning method, which I used for the rest of my trip, was to place newspaper behind and below the entire drive train, and to use a can of WD40, with the extension tube, to carefully wet down the entire chain. Then I wiped it down with paper towels. I repeated this process several times, paying particular attention to getting the spray into the rollers and side plates, and then used the remaining contents of the can to remove as much grit as possible as possible from inside the rollers. I finished by letting the chain 'drip dry' and then (an hour or two later) lubing it with Triflow. This process, while not as good as my at home method, seemed to get the chain about as clean as the last two bike shops did. Besides, there was no bike shop in Morris. 105 miles

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