20 September 2010

A bike ride and a very good burger

Experienced the 2nd Streets Alive (http://www.fmstreetsalive.org/) event this weekend. I rode the entire route with my friend. I wasn't sure what to expect for an event of this type. However, I was surprised. The only drawback was the few kids who got in the way on Broadway otherwise Streets Alive was like a leisurely tour around the community.
Afterward, Cindy, my roommate, and I made the most delicious hamburgers I have ever made. They were the most delicious morsels we had ever had. The memory of them lingers on as does the roasted corn on the cob, guacamole, and beer.
So far on the blog, I am right in the beginning stages of detailing my annual bike trek. I just left off as I went to sleep in a park in Walhalla, ND. A real street party had been going on with a live band and it made trying to sleep a little harder. The next morning we would hit a remarkable natural feature that would prove challenging. But I'll leave that for the actual post about the trip.
However, if you want to read about bike trips, like one's across the United States, check out http://www.bikeacrosstheus.blogspot.com. My friend, Julie, actually caught up with the author while on her mountain hiking adventure in Colorado. She is actually alluded to in the blog ever so slightly. From what I've read I am hooked. 

17 September 2010

Twice is nice- RedHawks win back to back Northern League titles

It was a cool and slightly wet night in Fargo. But it didn't matter much to the home team. The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks again won the Northern League title defeating the Kansas City T-Bones 3-0 in the a 3 game sweep. Pitcher TJ Stanton (he has no beard in that linkage) had a 1 hit shutout and struck out the first 8 batters he faced.
The game was sort of unbelievable considering the last time I was at Newman Field. The RedHawks were also facing the T-Bones about a month ago and they got rocked big time. Nothing was clicking for the RedHawks that night. Tonight, however, was a pitcher's duel. The T-Bone's offense was cold and the RedHawks were not much better. Thankfully a few errors and masterful placed hits put Fargo on the scoreboard. Later Eric Campbell hit a solo home run.
It was chilly but fun to be with friends and also see The Champ. This was the only RedHawks game he's been to all season. At least he chose a good one.
After the game and a whole bunch of champagne being poured out upon the players,  fans were invited down onto the field. I was a bit hesitant but went with my roommate and friend Cindy. My roommate gave the winning pitcher, TJ Stanton, a pen to sign autographs. Not to be outdone, Cindy goes up to TJ and gives him a retractable Sharpie pen. We were all excited about that brush with fame.
Oh, yeah, TJ you can keep the Sharpie. I'm sure Cindy won't mind.

14 September 2010

Journey to the Center of North America: Part 3

The heat did not dissipate after leaving Hoople. Fortunately, I found a water spigot in Tatertown to refill my reservoir.
The 18 miles of long straight road into Cavalier was generally uneventful. It was mostly fields of potatoes and an occasional farm house and barn. The Man of 3 Names and I arrived in Cavalier pretty exhausted. 3 Names sat a spell in a gazebo on the edge of downtown while I sought out a grocery store. I couldn't find it and it may also be closed. Unfortunately, I have found small town North Dakota generally closes up around 5 or 6 with the exception of bars and maybe a convenience store. We found nourishment at a convenience store. I supplemented my 20 oz Mountain Dew Voltage with a burger from the nearby Pit Stop Diner. The Pit Stop appeared to be a locally owned eatery featuring burgers, dogs, fries, and ice cream that operated out of a property that may have been a Dairy Queen in the past. After a long day of biking anything tastes good and I gobbled down the burger.
The song for Cavalier- Duke of Earl by the O'Jays.
Re-energized, we biked out of town towards our final destination for the day- Walhalla, 23 miles North and West. Heat disappeared as we pedaled north. The traffic was fairly light on Pembina County Road 1. Further along we encountered our first hills of the trip.
As the 9 o' clock hour approached we got to the Walhalla turn where it was literally all downhill from there. The song for Walhalla- Ride of the Valkyries
by Richard Wagner.
A light rain welcomed us as we descended into town at speeds nearing 30 mph. The town was jumping and jiving at a street dance while random fireworks were exploding throughout the neighborhoods. We found our way to the city campground (Riverside Park), paid our fees, found a piece of ground and set up camp along the banks of the Pembina River as the sun set. After showering, I went to bed even though the street dance band played until 1 in the morning, which I could hear clearly. They played a pretty good selection. Still I was exhausted enough and fell asleep despite the music, exploding fireworks and four wheelers riding around the campgrounds.

13 September 2010

Journey to the center of North America: Part 2

Prairie Chicken WMA wasn't much to crow about. It just provided us with a small spot to camp. Not recommended but for the most hard core of bike tours. After eating one of the many oatmeal creme pies that the Man of 3 Names brought, I eagerly loaded up the bike to blow this WMA. It was almost blistering hot last night and the bugs were very thick. It was a pioneer experience.
We discovered just before we left that a majority of the flatland grass good to camp upon was on the other side of a "moat." that surrounded most of this land. We were on a slice of land a few feet from the "moat." At night the discovery of unexpected water makes one stop. For all we knew it was one large wetland. Tip: Do not camp on wetlands, you will regret it.
We hopped back on US 81 and pedaled north going through Ardoch, Minto and stopping in Grafton to eat and seek out the means to fix 3 Names' rack.
While traveling I thought of some songs to go with the towns and places we were going. For the Prairie Chicken WMA it was the "Chicken Dance." I had no inspiration for Ardoch or Minto. Perhaps Take Me Out to the Ball Game for Minto since they had quite a swell ball park (and city park for that matter.) You can see it on the left. We took a short break in Minto to eat a little more. It was mid-morning by this time and the sun was beginning to exert its radiant power. It would be a hot one for the rest of the day.
For Grafton, the Johnny Cash/ June Carter Cash duet "Jackson" kept going through my head. However I replaced Jackson with Grafton.
Grafton is the largest town in the area between the Canadian border and Grand Forks. I stopped at the market for some fresh fruit and then we were on our way to the hardware store downtown.
We did not need to go into the store because the Man with 3 Names developed a system using the available bungie cords we had. This greatly improved the rack's ability to hold the pannier bags secure. It also relieved 3 Names from carrying a large backpack in the heat of the day.
From Grafton we struck out toward Park River with the belief there was a missile silo museum there. Unfortunately I had mixed up Park River with Cooperstown, so we abandoned that plan and re-routed to Tater Town USA- a.k.a. Hoople. Just as we were turning north we were blessed by a cup of ice given to use by a passing vehicle. It's not was you may think. The car slowed down and handed me a glass filled with ice. 3 Names and I shared this unexpected and refreshing gift then continued on State Route 18.
It was along this road I finally saw fields of potatoes. We had seen plenty of potato business along US 81. I even recall seeing a few potatoes on the road that fell from trucks but I never encountered a field of taters. Since I was a kid, I remember being told in school that the Red River Valley was a fertile area that grew lots of potatoes. I moved to the Valley later in life and saw mostly sugar beets.
I am not sure why Hoople adopted the moniker- Tater-Town. True, Hoople is the heart of the potato belt of North Dakota but there was not much to endure me to Hoople except the sign calling it Tatertown USA. We stopped looking for place to get away from the scorching sun and found only the back side of the school gymnasium. I was expecting a potato themed city park. Nothing of the sort in Hoople. I'm not even sure there is much more to Hoople than a school, a few barns, some ball fields and about 50 homes. Later I discovered there was a park deeper inside of town. We stuck near the state road so didn't see it.
Oh and the song for Hoople- "Man on the Moon" by R.E.M.

11 September 2010

Patriot Day 2010

This day is not be confused with Patriots' Day, the day the Boston Marathon in run. No, today is Patriot Day. And a moment of silence will be observed at 8:46 AM EST. You probably know the rest of the story.
When the events of 9/11 transpired I was not even in the U.S.
Nope. I was in the safety of the Great North- Canada. Far removed from the actual events.
We were tenting at a KOA in next to the Olympic Park in Calgary. Early that morning we began to hear reports of a conflagration in New York. Later in the morning it got worse.
We ended up leaving that afternoon for home and kept hearing reports of border crossing security tightened and surges in gas prices. It was a long ride home.
From then on security would never be the same.

10 September 2010

Smoldering flames

More editorial stuff. Although this story continues to smolder and I suppose the news will look to other fires to talk about
Nonetheless, the burning of religious texts has been put on hold only after some deal to move a religious structure near Ground Zero was allegedly made. And get this, Donald Trump is also involved in some way!
Sounds like mis-information will be we everywhere. Even this religious structure isn't as close to Ground Zero or as religious oriented as media make it out to be. In fact I think no one is sure what happened. Maybe the texts will be burning in private. (Personally, I would have called for Snooki to be thrown in jail.)
Still, the huge reaction to the burn/not to burn debate has me wonder exactly what is important to those religions involved in the fray. So much value and emotion is placed in things which ultimately will fade away ( and even burn)- buildings and books. I thought religion would value the intangible- charity, perseverance in the the midst of difficulty or persecution, goodwill, character. Are these not the things that will stand the test of time?  I guess I am too idealistic.
Oh, here's some Johnny Cash.

09 September 2010

To burn or not to burn

A bit of an editorial slant today.
Did you know someone plans to burn a particular holy book in of all places, Florida? And get this: a certain government official wants to stop it.
To me the whole burning issue is a red herring. In particular how such an act by a few citizens could jeopardize foreign policy, really has me wondering how our government is picking its talking points. Thanks to the media attention this thing got (thanks CNN), it has turned into something bigger than it should have been. I guess it is just part of the time we live in.
Will it anger folks? Sure.
Will it lead to further killings and extremist recruitment ? Possibly but that's giving one event too much influence. Those things would probably have continued. There is ignorance on both sides. Altough I like the speech writer's choice of words- "recruitment bonanza." Which reminds me- the son of Laden apparently likes the television show. Too bad all the cast is dead. Pernell Roberts died earlier this year.
So what could can the government legitmately do? Declare a fire ban.
Of the course that action could have many undue repercussions- like suggest the government is overarching to control the speech of Americans.
Free speech lawyers are going to have a hay day with this one.
Speaking of fire, I've been on a Johnny Cash spree as of late. Picked up a CD of his songs, then I won the DVD Walk the Line, and now I scour the 'net at night for Cash interviews. And by the way Cash also burned down part of Los Padres National Forest in California. His Tennessee home burned down in 2007.
Something else I found last night. Before there was Bear Grylls there was Survival in the Bush. Made in the 50s this film even shows how to kill a bear. Thanks to the Canadian Film Board, there are lots of interesting documentaries from the past online about the wild lands in the Great North.