2015-07-04 - MN - Day 38 - Osakis to Fergus Falls
Happy Fourth of July! Independence Day! I woke up with another nutrient-deficiency headache -- apparently peanut butter bagels are not sustenance enough. Olivia bought the ingredients for and cooked quiche and pie filling for everyone. I heard the meat quiche was great and tried some of the pie filling. Delicious! Thanks Olivia! This delayed everyone's leaving. A large group of us departed at 8:30 AM and rode together to the bike trail before splitting apart. Along the way, I stopped to take photos at a stream crossing and was lucky enough to capture one of a duck flying low, its wings causing waves in the water. I also waved to the same pair of cyclotourers I had met yesterday as they headed to Alexandria. They were on their way back now.
Eleven miles in, we arrived in Alexandria where I stopped to meet Big Ole, "the largest Viking in the land." I also checked out the fair nearby, but the Runestone Museum (https://www.runestonemuseum.org/) was closed due to the holiday so I rode on. That museum houses the famous Kensington Runestone, a 200 pound greywacke covered in runes, claimed to be a record left in 1362 by Viking explorers passing through the Solem/Kensington area, Critics have classified it as a 19th-century hoax, but there are local believers. The museum also is reputed to have exhibits about the Native Americans and American settlers who lived in the area. Most of the group had not stopped here so I was a little behind.
I enjoyed cycling alone, going as fast or as slow as I pleased. I saw a shirtless rollerblader cruising along as he listened to music and read from the same electronic device. This reminded me of someone I once saw in Manhattan who held a coffee and cigarette in one hand while cycling through traffic with the other, without a helmet of course. I loved going slow, enjoying the bird songs of at least three different species. One sounded more like a screech and one had a vibrating chirp, almost like that of a cricket. I went to the nearby grocery store to stock up on apples (fiber), peanuts (protein), ice cream (cooling + carbs), chocolate milk (protein + calcium), grapes (carbs), and carrots (stuff). My body definitely needed something in particular, and I did feel better after some grapes, peanuts, and milk.
I rode on with Reed, Alex, and Mike from the rest stop and we went pretty fast until we caught up to a group of riders from our team. Cole had some Independence Day sparklers lit on his rear rack and rode in S's as smoke trailed out behind him. The smoke was unhealthy to breathe and the formation of riders following him did not seem safe, so I rode forward alone. Will and Ayhson caught up at one point and rode with me for a while. Later, Reed and Alex caught up to me and we finished together at around 1:30 PM at the Delagoon State Park near Fergus Falls.
Most of us waded into the lake to rinse off. The temperature was perfect, warmer even than some swimming pools I've been to. A woman named Kay was camping here overnight. She had several family members and friends with MS, including her daughter who was diagnosed at the young age of eighteen. She chatted with us and gave me a hug for what we were doing. The exchange really touched both of us. The route leaders bought us watermelon, chips, burgers, and beer for the 4th of July. Some riders went into town for extra food or ice cream. I went into my tent to read "Devil at my Heels" by Louie Zamperini (whose life story forms the basis of the book and now movie "Unbroken") and found myself addicted to this true survival story of an Olympic runner who grew up homeless, and as a soldier survived over forty days adrift on a raft at sea followed by internment in the Japanese POW camps. I read about his plane being hit and falling into the ocean as the sounds and sights of fireworks exploded in the air around me.