On Sunday I had to come to grips with the reality that my wonderful cross-continental trip is coming to an end, and turn south toward the US border in eastern Manitoba. I had gotten on the road only at noon, because I wanted to do one last hike in a Canadian national park, the Moon Lake Trail in Riding Mountain NP. Peaceful, fragrant, lush -- and blessedly free of mosquitos.
North Dakota looks amazingly like Manitoba, except the health care system is a lot worse. Same horizon-to-horizon 360 degree view of farmland in every direction; maybe not as "majestic" as the Rocky Mountains, but impressive in its own way.
I rode on several hours past dark because I wanted to make the next day's ride to Chicago as manageable as possible, plus I'd lost another hour to the change from Mountain to Central Daylight Time. Finally, close to midnight, Bemidji Lake State Park (MN) appeared and I rode around the "Closed" barricade, set up camp and had beef jerky with peas and carrots at 1 a.m.
What made the $23 campground fee totally worth it was the first shower I'd had in seven days, since leaving Vancouver! After a week of hot and humid motorcycling, camping every night, barely changing clothes, I can hardly describe the luxury of a hot shower and shampoo! And at 2:00 a.m. I had ALL the hot water I wanted -- I was literally in heaven, and clean!!
Sunday was, indeed, a long day (626 miles) of cruising through the exceptional natural beauties of MN and WI. The weather continues to be a blessing: blue sky with puffy clouds, warm breezes, low humidity -- a biker's delight. A few scattered showers in the afternoon didn't even warrant a rain suit (the one, single item I've carried but never used, save as a pillow each night), and the late afternoon/evening returned to the splendid conditions of early morning. After dinner with Binette Heller Solomon in Milwaukee (chopped chicken salad a delicious upgrade from jerky and canned veggies), I headed on to Wilmette for much-needed sleep in a real bed.
Today (August 1) I spent a couple of hours with Dale Cowel at Evanston Hospital, along with his sister Chris and son Steve, when he was transferred by ambulette to a nursing home until he regains enough strength (after 6 weeks in the hospital) to hopefully begin rehab. Whether he'll ever be able to return home is uncertain and somewhat doubtful.
As I said "goodbye and see you soon," I told Dale I loved him and he opened his eyes, momentarily reconnected and replied, "I love you too. You take care." Amazing. The power of love, perhaps? Don't miss the opportunity to tell someone close to you!
Tomorrow Cleveland once again...