HELL YEAH SHIT YEAH MOVING ON
Recommended listening: The Jesus and Mary Chain “Head On” Kenny Rogers and Dolly P “Isles in the Stream” Archers of Loaf “Scenic Pastures”
3 out of 4 is not BAD
Last night I arrived in Madison, Wisconsin around 8:30. Kris and Abbi were my hosts and they were pretty awesome. Sweet dog, hearty dinner, and a good conversation. Couldn’t have asked for more. Then we went to the bar and did it right some more.
But lets start with Sunday.
Woke up in Chamberlain, SD and was feeling good after a full night of rest. I’d hitchhiked to chamberlain so my muscles were feeling good from the rest. Not that hitchhiking can’t be exhausting. It is. And honestly I’m having a hard time remembering what city I actually slept in after my ride that day. Pretty sure it was Mitchell though and I definitely piggy backed onto someone else’s campsite. They were a family driving towards Madison, WI and didn’t seem to mine me setting up my tent next to their
6/15 Mitchell, SD to Sioux Falls, SD
So, some of this is a little foggy because a week ago and in road time that can feel like forever. woke up somewhere in the Mitchell area and was very excited about finally getting a tailwind on my side. NW at 15mph and I needed it. My mileage for the day was probably around 80, but I don’t think it took me more than 3 and half hours because my odometer was for the most part glued to 25mph for most of the ride. Took one quick break in a town about 40miles west of Sioux Falls, but nothing was open since it was a Sunday so I filled up my water bottles using the hose from someone’s house. Normally, having to ride 40 miles without food can be awful, but when you’ve got the wind on your side it’s nothing. The guy I stayed with in Sioux Falls was someone whom I met off of warmshowers.org and for the most part he was a good host. A little weird, but a good host still. He is in the middle of going through a divorce and so pretty big house is for the most part empty aside from a little bit of furniture and a couple tvs. He didn’t mention anything about being Catholic it and we didn’t pray before eating dinner, but he did have at least one large crucifix hanging in every room in the house.
Sioux Falls, SD to somehwere on the 90 to an eastern suburb of Minneapolis
This was definitely one of the most uncomfortable 36 hours of the trip. After getting a good start to the day with an early breakfast, I was on my way before 8am. I was expecting a kind of nasty headwind from the east all day and the possibility of a storm late in the afternoon.
Riding a bicycle on the interstate in Minnesota is illegal but it served as the most direct route out of town and I was trying to make good time. The wind was brutal. I didn’t even try wearing headphones because it would’ve been impossible to hear the music over the constant buzz of the wind. As the semi trucks and other large vehicles passed me I could see them fighting the 20mph cross winds. Still, it wasn’t raining and so I felt like I didn’t have too much to complain about.
Maybe 35 miles into my ride and several hours later I noticed the winds picking up but didn’t think too much of it because I knew that the real storm wasn’t coming for at least another 3 hours. I knew this because I was checking the hourly conditions on my phone every 15 minutes.
A large Uhaul truck pulls up in front of me around this time. I was either expecting him to be offering me a ride out of pity or telling me I’m an asshole for riding my bike on the interstate. Instead…
GUY: Hey man you got a radio?!
GUY: MAN THERE’S A STORM COMING!
ME: I know, but I’ve got a few hours
GUY: NO MAN IT”S A SUPER CELL IT”S COMING RIGHT FOR YA GOTTA GET OUTTA HERE MAN SUPER CELL MAN 50 MILES BACK!
At this point a state trooper pulls up behind us with his lights on and walks up. He tells me that I need to get off the interstate because riding bike is illegal yadadada. As he’s giving me his line it starts hailing and the sky gets dark. I’m like what the fuck is going on and then he tells me to put my bike in the ditch because we have to get off the road and take shelter somewhere. I don’t know what to do at this point. I’m not going to leave my bike on the side of the road, but the state trooper isn’t going to let me ride to the next exit either. Long story short, I break down my as quick as I can, throw it in the car that the UHAUL is pulling and catch a ride east in the moving van. We’re listening to Led Zeppelin and the wind is blowing the van all over the road. The emergency broadcasting system interupts Zeppelin to infrom us of a tornado behind us. I’m just like fuck this is weird.
Anyway, we keep on our way and he says he’s can drop me off a ways up at a truckstop off the 94. I’m cool with this and it’s on his way so I don’t feel like I’m infringing on his drive to Minneapolis. I sat back and relaxed and pretended like I was in that movie Storm Chasers. So this would’ve been ideal for me except somewhere along the way he gets off the interstate and takes a “shortcut” north towards Minneapolis. This is no longer on my way and definitely not a shortcut, but I can’t get out of the truck because we can’t stop in the middle of nowwhere with a tornado trailing us. I didn’t feel endangered at this point, just a little frustrated because I knew I was going to have to make up the ground later.
As we’re driving north the storm finally starts to let up a little. He tells me a little bit about himself. Military Sargent Chaplain in the Army, has a couple kids evnagelical etc. Offers me a place to spend the night and says that he’s driving south towards Cheppewah Falls, WI the next day and can give me a ride. Perfect. I take him up on the offer and hope for the best. The only weird thing was that he asked me if I had a problem with Christians. I said no and meant it for the most part. I’m not religious but good people are good people and more importantly a ride and a safe place is just that. I was in absolutely no position to get into a situation that could possibly land me in an argument.
The drive to Minneapplis was about 4 hours long, maybe more. He tried saving me the whole time. I should’ve just told him I was christian. He also gave me advice on my romantic life and how to “keep a woman”. And how to avoid terrorists. He definitely asked me if I was muslim. Alright, well whatever.
When we arrived at his house I met his wife who was really nice and we all kind of ate together. He had a guitar and drumset in the basement because his 14 year old is learning to play. I ended up hanging out with his son most of the night and left him with a good list of bands to check out. As I was handing the list of bands to his kid, Sargent Steve comes down the stairs and I swear I felt like I’d just been caught giving the kid drugs or something. It was weird and he looked angry. I took an advil PM and passed out.
We were supposed to drive south to Chippewah Falls early in the morning, but that’s not how it went down. His friend wasn’t there to help unload the van so we began unloading it ourselves. You ever help someone move who has to look through every single box they put their hands on? That was this guy. So basically I unloaded the whole UHAUL by myself in an attempt to expedite the process of getting a ride south. He had over 500 pint glasses from the hardrock cafe. Why. The whole time I was doing this he was trying to convince to convert to christianity and I wasn’t arguing with him so he thought he was making headway. I just wanted to get back on my bike and on my way. Whatever it takes ya konw?
Just as I finish unloading the truck his friend shows up. They start talking about how I’m interested in being born again and I’m losing my shit at this point, but keeping it together on the surface. We’re finally going to be on the road so I’m just riding out the storm at this point. We had to pray before leaving. This was a 15 minute prayer.
On the way to Chippewah Falls, Sargent Steve tells me more about the terrorists moving to Minneapolis and how it’s not safe to walk around at night in the town. He also tells me about the dangers of the native americans and giving your woman too much freedom. I’m ready to tell him to piss off, but I just want to get south. We go 30 minutes out of the way by car to find a book store that sells The Prodigal God and Mere Christianity. He want’s to make sure that I go on my journey with the lord on my side. If I had asked him to baptize me he would’ve driven me to the Mississippi River and dunked my ass on the spot.
Anyway, we finally got to Chippewah Falls and said our goodbyes. I was too tired to tell him to get bent. I left the books he gave me in the street.
6/17 The side of the road in Chippewah Falls to Tomah, WI
After unload the UHAUL and avoiding getting saved, the day really picked up. I put on almost a hundred miles and didn’t see any rain that day. I met some awesome people on the road and enjoyed the hills and humidity of Wisconsin. At the end of the day I found myself in Tomah, WI and decided to get a motel room since there was another chance of a tornado. Before getting the motel room I went by the local equivalent of Applebees and looked for someone that might let me camp in their backyard. No such luck so I got the cheapest motel room I could find in the city. It was across the street from a Walmart. I got dinner there and microwaved it in my room. Fell asleep while watching cable television in a big comfortable bed. So nice. That night 5 tornados touched down in southern Wisconsin. I didn’t wake up once in the night. Cool.
Tomah, WI to Madison, WI
Another very solid day. 100 miles through rolling hills with no rain and only a slight headwind. Stopped at a water park along the way. Feeling good.
That night I stayed with two very awesome people off of Warmshowers.org. Kris had cooked fish and vegetables. We ate dinner and went out. We ended up staying out until 2 in the morning and by the time I was in bed it was closer to 3:30. Good thing I had almost a 100 mile ride to Chicago the next day. haha. Things are looking up!