Day 7 - 7/8/07: Bloomington, MN to Winnipeg, MB

Day 7 - Bloomington to Winnipeg
Rain Clouds Lake Wobegon Approaching Canada
     
Bike at Border Canadian Border
     
Yellow Field Yellow Field and Me Hotel Door
 

Today, in a word, was wet. Brian and I slept in today. He actually woke me up while he was brushing his teeth. I think the running water did it. I lounged in the recliner while he showered. Then I got ready. We both packed up and headed downstairs. Brian is taking my stuff for Patty  and Hannah rather than having me ship it.

 When we got to the parking lot Brian started packing, but I started working on my bike. I had purchased a headset adapter and headset cord (the adapter was from big headphone to little headphone) and they needed to be installed. I probably should have done this in a parking garage, but I just did it in the parking lot (my sunburned head thinks I should have done this in a garage as well). We also applied my TN sticker to the instrument cover. Once finished we packed up my bike. It took a little while since I have so much. As I was adjusting the last strap, after working on the bike, loading the bike, etc… I stepped in fresh tar. I was so pissed. I bought these boots yesterday and now the soles were covered in tar. I picked out what I could. After washing my hands we headed to the Potbelly Sandwich Co. I had an Italian, and boy was it delicious.

After lunch we mounted up, plugged in our destinations to our GPS’s, and rode off. I thought we might have a little ride time together, but it was not to be. Right out of the parking lot was I-494. I was going west and Brian east. I told him goodbye as I rode down the on-ramp.

 The first thing I noticed was a huge thundercloud. I switched to my NOAA band on the CB to listen for details. It was talking about a severe thunderstorm near someplace that I had no clue where it was. It also mentioned golf ball and tennis ball sized hail. But it was nice to listen. Right at Big Lake, MN the sky fell out. It was a serious rain storm. I pulled off the interstate to put on my rain pants, but by then what was the point? My pants were soaking wet. I found a gas station to get dry for a minute and saw another biker on a sport bike. We said hey. Then I zipped up my jacket and sleeves and rode back out into the rain. The rain only lasted for about 5 min but it was hard. As soon as I entered the rain the temp dropped from around 100+ to low 70’s. The lower temp and being soaking wet cooled me off in a hurry.

 Near St. Cloud it rained again. This time it was scary rain. The wind was crazy and the NOAA band kept talking about a tornado 7 miles east of St. Cloud moving South East. Good thing I was going west. I pulled off the interstate again to sit this one out at a McDonald’s, only when I got to McDonald’s, it wasn’t there. They had shut down, as in gone out of business. So I said screw it, and got back on the interstate. The rain had pretty much stopped while I searched for the McD’s. I kept an eye out for that tornado though.

 I got gas in Barnesville and met a couple on a Harley. They liked my bike and asked lots of questions. For some reason they needed to tell me about their cousin who rode to Alaska and got robbed by 8 guys. They said he came out of a store and 8 guys were just picking apart his bike. He didn’t do anything, after all it was 8 to 1. I had some peanuts and a bottle of water while we chatted.

 I hopped back on the bike and rode north. As I neared Fargo the sun even came out. It was really nice. But just before Grand Forks, ND the bottom fell out again. Rain, 3 times in 1 day. This last one was the worst because the temps dropped into the 60’s. I had to turn on the heated seat and grips once the rain stopped.

 I pulled off the interstate to fill up in Pembina, ND, about 2 miles from Canada. I had a bottle of water and while I was getting my Passport out a nice guy in a pickup truck came by to chat. He asked if I was headed for Alaska. I said “How did you know?” Wouldn’t you know it, he was a fellow ADV rider and had seen my sticker. He rides a KTM 950 but can’t ever seem to get time off work for a big trip like this. We parted ways and I headed for Canada.

 When I got to the border crossing I snapped some pics, then got on the bike to cross over. The wait in line was not too long. The lady asked where I was from, what was my plate number, had I been to Canada before, and did I have any weapons, or mace? I said I did have some Bear Mace. She looked at me funny, handed me my passport and said thanks, I was free to move on. When I checked my passport at the hotel though, I noticed it had not been stamped. I wonder why?

 Canada was very flat, but beautiful. I wanted to pull over to take some pics, but there was no shoulder. The road to Winnipeg was a highway, not an interstate. I did find a gravel turn off that I rode a very short distance down to take a few pics. When I got back on the road I had the GPS tell my speed and distances in KM. The speed I could at least follow, 100kph = 100kph. But the distances to the next turn were horrible. I have no idea how far a kilometer is, let alone 32, or 47. So I just rode, not knowing how far I had to ride.

 When I got to Winnipeg I ended up riding straight into the downtown area. The hotel is in downtown, across from the US Army Surplus (weird I know, I’m in Canada), and attached to the Grey Hound Bus Stop. Let me tell you this place is Crunk! After I checked in I got back on the bike to ride around the block and park in the garage. I stopped too abruptly and with the tar and gravel on my feet, the bike went down. At least it was a slow fall, nothing damaged. 2 guys ran over to help me get it back up (ha ha, I don’t want to hear any gettin’ it up jokes). I rode around the block and into the garage with the 6.5” ceiling. I practically had my head on the tank to keep from smacking it into the concrete beams.

 Once parked I carried my U-Pac down the stairs, past the smoking kids and bums at the bus stop, and into the hotel. The desk manager pointed out that there is an attached elevator marked “Rice Financial” that I could use. Too bad for me it wasn’t marked “Holiday Inn”. I went back to get the rest of my stuff. I dropped it in the room, which was actually nice. But the hallway reminds me of Europe (not that I've ever been there). All the doors are squeezed together, and I thought there is no way my room is in there. But I opened the door and there was a hallway leading to the open part of my room. "Whatever" I thought, then I went downstairs to have dinner. I had a turkey club, salad, and fries. It was also pretty good.

 I then came back up to the room, showered off, and now I am writing this report.

 Until tomorrow!

 

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