Enter the flats…

Enter the flats…

Day 79, July 17th – Puposky to Park Rapids, MN 

After saying goodbye to Grandma, Grandpa, and my Uncle Randy I turned south and started pedaling.  I took a quick break in Bemidji for lunch and continue west out of town.  Lots of large forests ands several crossings of the not so mighty (anymore) Mississippi today.  I was headed to Park Rapids where my uncle Steve has a beautiful cabin.  I talked to my uncle Bob who live in Bemidji and let him know I was headed there.  The day was passing faster than I imagined so the last 20 miles I hammered down.  Cruising through Itasca Park was the highlight of todays ride.  I didn’t know this at the time, but my uncle Bob mentioned that it is one of the few remaining “old-growth” forest left in Minnesota.  The tall pines were awesome… it’s sad to think that such great trees used to cover the state but now are isolated to only a few locations.

Shortly after I got to my uncle Steve’s cabin, Bob arrived with a sampler pack of beer by Third Street Brewhouse, a MN brewery.  Thank you Bob!  We hung out playing cribbage and grilled some burgers.  We also got to take a look at the progress garage under construction for Steve to store his boat on an classified lake… A project that just so happened to take place shortly after catching the biggest walleye we’ve ever seen.  It was a great evening, glad that he was able to come visit.


IMG_7074Still one of my favorite roads in America!

IMG_7079Paul… I’m a little disappointed with your lack of a lumberjack beard.

IMG_7081Grandma Jeans previous business… I didn’t actually go in.  Regretting that now that I’m back on the road and hungry.

IMG_7082Mississippi is getting smaller!

IMG_7093Snacking on a bee.

IMG_7098R.I.P. hand pump


IMG_7102Crazy to think that I used to have to ride across HUGE bridges to cross this river.



IMG_7110The mighty Mississippi just down stream from it’s origins, Lake Itasca.  This is pretty much the river at its smallest.

IMG_7113Lake Itasca


IMG_7203I love these trees.






Miles: 68
Acts of Kindness:  3 – Breakfast at the Grandparents; Bob visited me at the cabin… and brought beer!; Steve let me stay at his cabin even though he wasn’t around.

Day 80, July 18th – Park Rapids…

Overslept!!!  Big time… I wasn’t sleeping very well up stairs last night so I went down to the basement around 4 AM and slept in the “dungeon”.  The room without any light or sound.  I woke up at 1 PM!  I never sleep this much!  Well when I got upstairs and looked outside the trees were bent nearly 30 degrees from the crazy wind.  It wasn’t to hard to convince myself to hang out another day.  So instead of riding I spent the day (what was left of it anyways) trying to create some alcohol burning stove.  These stoves are more compact and lighter weight than the Jetboil system I have.  Unfortunately I wasn’t getting as good of results as I wanted from the stoves I build.  I see some room for improvement though – I didn’t get a good enough seal between the burner top and stove bottom.







IMG_7153Left with coffee, returned with raspberries.







IMG_7173Bob left me a tasty brew by Leech Lake Brewing Company


IMG_7165This one worked ok…  Needs a wind screen.


IMG_7164It boils water though!

IMG_7181Trying with the windscreen.  Steve I owe you a coat hanger 😉

IMG_7183Penny stove started out looking promising.

IMG_7184But quickly got a bit out of control.

IMG_7189The graveyard… need to try again.

IMG_7188Got some jam sessions in during my stay.

Miles:  0

Day 81, July 19th – Park Rapids to West Fargo

After getting some breakfast, coffee, and my healthcare application submitted this morning I headed out.  Thanks Steve for letting me stay!  It didn’t take long into my ride before the woods thinned out and things started to flatten out.  Soon the only trees left were those scattered about near farm homes or river beds.  I kept pushing on after arriving at several potential camping locations mainly because the weather was so good.  The idea of 20-30 mph headwinds was haunting me so I decided I better push on while the wind was pretty much dead.  I actually made it through Fargo into West Fargo before calling it quits.  I didn’t even know that I crossed into North Dakota, so no cool welcome sign shots.

I need to keep an eye out for a place to buy a pump.  My last one disappeared after fixing the latest flat.  My guess is it’s sitting right where I repaired it 🙁




IMG_7207Detouring for my dirt road fix… It was a shortcut too!

IMG_7219Western MN prepping me for ND.


Miles: 108

Day 82, July 20th – West Fargo to …

It’s going to be a hot one!!  Not really sure how far I’ll get… wasn’t expecting to update the blog this morning but decided I’d do it while I have wifi.  I heard there’s another bunkhouse in Gackle, but that’s quite a haul.

IMG_7220Getting stealthy again.

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14 Responses

  1. brad martin

    Grain belt beer, that stuffs pretty tasty! awesome cabin too!

    • Haha unfortunately it was just one I fished out of the recycling 😉

  2. Only three states to go. You are FLYING! Those Tour De France riders have nothing on you. You’re now riding through the last remaining part of the USA that I’ve not yet visited. I’m jealous.

    • Haha pretty sure I couldn’t keep up with a tour rider for 30 seconds!! North Dakota is pretty sweet!

  3. Tom Jakab

    It looks like it its getting harder for you to hide your tent with those flat lands. By the way, I have created several of those stoves with a former neighbor and your hole sizes for the burner make a world of difference between a good one and one that sucks. Lol.

    • Tom Jakab

      To be more specific we bought a drill set with micro sizes and drilled the holes in the can. Allowed for very consistent flame.

      • Yep I’ve heard the smaller the holes, the better the performance. I’ll have to give it another shot!

  4. Erik Lewinski

    You’re making huge progress! I like the idea of a smaller lighter stove. I hope you get one to work.

    • Me too! Working my way. How’s your airplane coming along these days?

  5. jean Ryan

    I left you a post about ND relatives who would love to see you (and they have beds!) but then realized that I’d left it on an old post and you might not see it. Nancy (my sis in law) lives in Bismark 701 223-6566 and her daughter Terri Thiel lives in Dickinson. Don’t know her # but she works for the dept. of Tourism. Nancy might be visiting her. Good luck

  6. jean Ryan

    I have a phone # for you. 701 225-7809 or C# 701 290-0304. Good to talk to you. Hope you’ve recovered from ND weather.

  7. loving all those tree photos!!! i’ve totally been to that stop with the giant lumberjack man too 🙂
    keep pedaling!!!

  8. Jeff Makulec

    Still enjoying the great photos. I got a kick out of the Mississippi River sign at the Mississippi creek. My SS150 mini-ride for charity was great last weekend. A girl on the ride had previously done Baltimore to San Diego ride with a group of people. She said the Appalachians, which they hit about the third day in were pretty tough, but by the time they got to the Rockies everyone was so much stronger that they were easier than the Appalachians. Maybe it will work that way for you, too. (I hope…)

    • Haha it is pretty wild how small of a “river” it becomes. Oh cool I’m glad the charity ride went well! Glad that I might have a chance tackling the Rockies. Thanks for the inspiration (or false hope) 😀

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