Today I made it back to the USA! I didnít bother to fill up on
the way out of Winnipeg
this morning as the border is only 60 or so miles away. On my way to the
border I found a sunflower field. I stopped and took pics. It was rather
nice seeing a huge field of sunflowers.
Later I stopped to get a pic of the GPS
with the border displayed. After taking the pic I noticed that I had picked
up a hitchhiker, a grasshopper was on my right thigh. I must have picked him
up at the sunflower field. He seemed content to go for a ride, so I figured
what the hell, letís go! He stayed with me until the border crossing. I
looked down and he was gone. I guess he just wanted to get down the road a
I was stuck in line at the border for
around 45 minutes. The lines were very long and apparently I got there right
at the shift change. When it was my turn the border guard seemed more
interested in the bike and my trip than the possibilities of me smuggling
items into the country. He asked me why I was in
Canada, I said I had traveled to
Alaska. He asked if I had come all the way from TN,
I said yes. Then he wanted to know how far I had gone, what I had seen, how
the trip had been. Every now and then he would throw in an official
question, much like this:
So you rode all the way from TN?
How far did you go?
To the Arctic Ocean,
Do you have any weapons or pepper spray with you?
Did you see any bears?
It sure has been hot these past couple of days.
After he eventually got through all of the
official questions we talked for about 5 more minutes. He told me how he
really wished he could take a trip like this. I asked him for a stamp on my
passport. After all, I had paid $170 for the thing, and Iíd only gotten 1
stamp from Beaver Creek, YK on my way
into Canada from Alaska. He said that the
guards donít have stamps, but I could go inside and get one if I really
wanted one. We said our goodbyes and I parked the bike around the corner. I
went inside and asked for a passport stamp. The girl looked at me like I was
crazy, but I didnít care, I just wanted my stamp. I went out and took some
pics of the bike. I parked next to an obelisk. I donít know why it was
there. Iím figuring it probably marks the border between
and the US,
but there were no signs letting you know why it was placed there. I took
some pics anyway, just in case it turns out that itís an important item. I
gave Patty a call on my Verizon cell phone. I had checked it every day of
the trip and I had not had service since entering Canada. I did not check it between Winnipeg and the border, but I found it quite humorous that
the phone worked as soon as I entered the US. I told her Iíd call her later on
in the day when I got farther into the US and had better service.
I got some gas in Pembina, just over the
border. I also helped some Canadians pump their gas. Apparently the US pumps are different than the
Canadian ones. It turns out that they didnít push the right buttons on the
pump. I switched the GPS over from Metric to Statute and was happy to be
able to see distances in miles instead of having to convert the kilometers
in my head.
I got on the interstate and passed by many
more sunflower fields. Some of these were much better than the one in Canada, but I didnít feel safe pulling over to
the side of the interstate in
North Dakota. I had thought about turning onto a
side road and backtracking to the fields, but the opportunity never came. I
had become used to riding on the Canadian Hwys, and had to reacquaint myself
with the American Interstate.
I gassed up again outside of
at Fergus Falls and I met a guy at the gas station.
We talked about the trip and the bike. He owns a Harley (it seems everyone
does but me), and is planning an Alaska trip for next year. He was most
fascinated by British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. He had
only planned on Alaska,
but after hearing about all the beautiful mountains and wildlife, he is
going to look into adding the
to his trip.
About an hour outside of Minneapolis I stared hearing conversations
over the CB. The first one talked about a lot of cars. I thought they meant
cop cars. Later I heard one of them mention something about a lot of cars at
the bridge on 35. Cop cars at a bridge I thought, no big deal. I didnít hear
the whole thing, so I didnít understand the 35. Was it I-35? Mile 35? I had
no idea, but I saw a sign for hwy 135 and thought this must be what they
meant, so I slowed down. Finally, about 10 minutes later I get the whole
story. A bridge that crosses the river on 35 West in downtown Minneapolis had collapsed with around
50 cars involved. Luckily I was nowhere near there, but I still had to plan
a route through the city in case traffic was bad.
I kept heading southeast and stopped the
ďBig SpunkĒ rest area (I swear the name is real). I called Patty and we
talked for about 30 minutes. I watched the people at the rest area while we
chatted. I saw 3 other people take pictures of the sign while I was on the
phone, it was pretty funny. I tried to look up an alternate route on the
GPS, but gave up and hit the road.
Traffic turned out to be fine, but the GPS
directions were not. It had me get off of 694, do about 2 miles on a back
road, then right back onto 694. Then it had me get off on an exit, and while
I was on the off ramp going around 50mph, it says ďtake the next right in 50
feetĒ. I was like WTF!!!!!!!! Needless to say I missed that exit. So the GPS
recalculates the route and heads me west onto 35, the same highway that the
bridge collapsed on. I have no idea where I am, or how close to the bridge I
am, but traffic sucked. Luckily enough as soon as I got on 35 West, the GPS
had me get on 35 East. So I had to fight my way across bumper to bumper
traffic to get to the left side of the interstate and 35 East. Once I did
this the GPS did the wacky again but I caught it in time and made the
correct turns. I ended up riding for about 30 min in the dark and got to the
hotel at 9:45. This getting dark stuff is starting to piss me off. Last week
I had 24 hours of daylight, with the sun in the sky! Oh well, Iíd better get
used to it.
At the hotel I asked the front desk girl
for a good pizza place, after all why should I break my tradition. She gave
me some coupons and I headed for my room. Every place I tried closed at
9:00, and I didnít even get to the hotel until 9:45. So I decided to go for
a swim and a soak in the hot tub. I had carried my swim suit with me all the
way to Alaska and back and had not yet used it. I
should have used it in Deadhorse, but being the genius that I am, I left it
in Anchorage when I made my Dalton Hwy run. But
I figured better late than never. I swam for around 20 minutes or so, then
soaked in the hot tub for 15, then floated in the pool for another 15. I
dried off and asked the front desk girl if there were any other delivery
places. She gave me 2 sandwich places and a Green Mill menu (kinda like
Applebeeís). I called all of them. The 2 sandwich places were closed, and
the Green Mill stops delivering at 10:00. So much for that, so I walked to
Burger King and got a value meal.
After dinner I checked my email and watched
some TV. I hit the sack at 1:30 or so.