12 August 2009

Tour de Valli: Stage 7 to Hunter

The following is the continuing narrative of my North Dakotan bike tour in early July.
I stuck around the Sibley Crossing Campground long enough to shower. It was Sunday. A slow day for some. The beach was littered with debris from last night's fun. You could have made a bonfire from it.
After the cleaning ritual and packing I set out across Ashtabula.
A paper handbill stuck out to me at the campground office the other night. It was for a restaurant that offered a Sunday brunch. The establishment, Kelly's Crossing, was on the other side of the lake at the east crossing. Hunger drove me to take the shortest route on gravel through the wind farm in the late morning heat.
The wind turbines seemed to go on for miles. That morning only a few the giants were turning. Because of the emptiness of the range, the wind farm resembled something from a post apocalyptic novel. I was peering upon the last energy reserves of a once great society. Alas, that's not true.
The jaunt through the wind farm really worked up an appetite.
The Mom and Pop type restaurant and lounge on the east shore of Lake Ashtabula put out a good spread- fruit, scrambled eggs, toast, bacon, fried chicken, potatoes, salads. The place was packed so I took it as good sign and ate my fill of grub. What amazed me the most were these giant size slices of cantaloupe.
Before returning to my route I took a peak at the Corps of Engineer's campground. It was subperb. They had a new bathhouse! But $16 for a single person didn't really appeal to my sense of thrift. I reloaded on water, ascended from the valley, and found myself on the eastboad road still surrounded by wind turbines. I pedaled for a good man hours with the same rural field scenery around me in a near blistering heat.
I stopped in Page to find respite and met up with another long distance biker. He said he was from Louisiana and had biked all over the place. I believe he said he was coming from Canada. He sort of startled me because I hadn't met up with any on the routes that I take. However I think the route through Page east was an alternate route on the Northern Tier route that Adventure Cycling puts out. We talked a bit. I mentioned the services in Fargo since he said he needed a new rim (ironically I would buy one days later.) He said he'd rest for a while since he planned to go no further than Arthur. I bid him well and decided to continue down the road.
Only I got out on the road I thought I saw another biker behind me. I decided I wouldn't stop and sped on ahead. It may have been an illusion.
2 hours later I was at a decision point. I could go south to Arthur or north to Hunter. Both approximately the same distance away. At this point I felt Arthur may be a bit busy if the Northern Tier suggested camping there. I turned north and pedaled into the wind towards Hunter.
Hunter appeared to be a generally quiet town. I saw hardly anyone enroute to the city park.
Surprisingly the city park is about the same size as the entire town. It had toilets, water, trash, and lots of space.
Seeing it was earlier than I usually stop to camp, I sat around, read Outside magazine, and took a nap. Later I set up camp, made a small dinner, brewed some tea, and went to bed listening to old radio shows from the 1940's. I was very impressed with Hunter.

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