Third Day (Friday, May 23rd)
And my Grandma Rachel would have said “how do you let the kinder out like this without a warm jacket?”
I wake up…barely. It’s the first time in a long time that I actually slept until 8:00am. Immediately I start working on the web-site and arrange pictures for you to see. And it takes time. At 11:00 am I start packing and only then do I pay attention to the weather. Cloudy sky and strong winds that blow flags that you can hear in the distance. I go outside to fold the bike cover alone in the wind. I want to thank my father and Tel Aviv Sea Scouts for years of sail folding practice (wait, there is more to come on this). It appears that I am getting into a routine because each day packing takes less time and even my runners have learned that there is no use in fighting with me as I will indeed close the side bag on them, like it or not. Ready for take off and I decide that despite the weather I am staying with my t-shirt uniform with the campaign logos. Go figure, maybe Jesse Ventura will be interested in donating some funds. I start sailing against the wind.
A story about a GPS and a moron.
The motel parking lot is huge. The motel is comprised of a few buildings; some of them connected and is on the intersection of a highway and a main street. It has many exits and if you take the wrong one you can find yourself riding miles and miles until the next exit. We, men, Israelis and especially the ones of the Bader clan, do not ask strangers such stupid questions. Try to picture it – I sit on this big motorcycle, trying to make the impression of this ‘know it all’ macho type of person, dressed for success (complete with my special Jesse Ventura uniform). Does it really seem logical to you that I would stop someone? And what exactly would I ask? “Excuse me, how exactly do I exit the parkade?”??? I can imagine the person looking at me and giving me instructions: “sit on the seat, put the key in the ignition switch, start the engine, first gear, signal….. etc.”. you get the picture? And here comes the daily miracle. The GPS gives me an exact picture of the parking lot and exact directions of where to exit! If I were born 20 years earlier, I would still be looking for my exit. And so, merry and cheerful, music on the headset and thinking of Gili’s birthday celebrations, I am on the highway. I have an interchange 100 meters away. I take the wrong exit. I drive 17 km to the next exit. I turn back. And…. Wait! Not so fast. In recent years, I had the opportunity to travel around the world and I visited many places. On each trip, I had to collect something so that when I returned and was much older I could look back with nostalgia and remember. So I thought maybe baseball caps with the place’s name on top. But Gili asked me to bring him some baseball caps to cover the hair he had lost from the cancer treatment. Although I did purchase some rare ones for him from very exotic places, he decided to leave us too soon and never had the opportunity to use the caps. So I stopped the baseball cap collecting habit and returned to an old collection – small stones. For a long time I used to pick up a small stone from each new place I visited and keep it, just for the hell of it. My mom probably would have said, “Stones you are collecting? Collect rocks! If you are going to collect rocks, collect the 20 Karat ones”. So on this journey, I picked up two of them in each Province/State/Country and I keep one for Gili in Israel (there is a Jewish tradition that I will not get into it right now). A stranger would not understand (unless the stranger gets $140 an hour while I lay on his sofa and he asks me about my childhood). Now, back to the story. I am on my route. I regain the lost 17 km. I reach a sign saying Minnesota (too high for the stickers); I stop, take a picture and continue. Continue. Remember I didn’t pick up stones from North Dakota? So, I return. 19 km. I reach a sign in North Dakota (remember yesterday?), I stop, take a picture, continue for a few meters, pick up two stones, and arrive at the interchange I missed before. Now I am familiar with it so I miss it again, this time with no problems, continue 17 km…. are we there yet? I really won’t have mercy on you because if I can do it on the bike you too should suffer with me. I reach a bigger sign of Minnesota, stop, take a picture, and I know, I just know that tonight I will write about this story and everyone will remind me of this every day until the day I’ll die. Moron, did I already say it? I did (look at the title). In my defense I must add that an hour later I realized that I have a high fever and a confused feeling…. must be the reason.
I saw a raccoon for the first time in my life. Not in a cartoon. A real one. A nice one. With a brown striped tail, just like in the pictures. I wish he were alive. More road kill..what a shame.
It’s cold. Cloudy. I have a headache, my muscles are sore, my back, legs even my eye brows. What’s wrong? I start shivering and still refuse to read the signs. It will come later.
Web Site Updates
It’s nothing to do with the journey but I don’t feel good about it so read and that’s it. I really care about the site. I really want to update it every evening. I want to tell you about my riding experiences, before and after. But then reality sets in. I arrive at night, tired, hungry, thirsty and sore. I try connecting to the internet. It doesn’t always work for me. I talk to my wife and kids on the phone. This doesn’t always work for me either. I start typing. Well, I don’t know how to break the news to you, but I am more comfortable typing in Hebrew. But I don’t have Hebrew characters printed on the keys so I am guessing. It takes a long time and then come the mistakes. Then I have to download the pictures, edit them and link them to the right places and pictures. Then I have to publish them and then to fix errors. It takes hours and hours and there has not yet been a night that I have finished working before 1:00 am and usually later. So I know I am behind and do ask your forgiveness. I am working as hard as I can on it and I promise to do so in the future as well.
Here, I said it. I know I’m whining..be patient.
I am not feeling ‘like new’ and decide to take it easy. So, I try to stop as often as possible in small towns. OK, the truth. Again I didn’t pay attention to the fuel gauge. I have no idea why but this is the second time. Next town (Falls something). Was it the right distance, I ask myself? And another truth. I said town? Maybe a tow. No room for the n ‘cause it's so small. I fill gas and step in for breakfast. One of the benefits of this ride is the opportunity to stop and eat in small diners/restaurants where people still cook from the heart. I order an omlette (one of the best I’ve had) and in the meantime I work on the maps, mark them and relax. Relax? Dreaming. Dreaming? Hallucinating. And in my hallucination I am… (OK, it’s private). But it ends with a feeling of a foreign hand on my forehead. I just fell asleep with my head on the table! The waitress/cook/owner, stands beside me with the coffee pot in one hand and the other one on my forehead (An American that dares to touch a complete stranger can only be found in a place like this where they don’t have TVs and are not afraid of being sued). She says, “sweetie, you are hot”. She did not mean in the sexy way you sick people. Now I recognize the symptoms; shaking, cold feeling (and for my self esteem the reason for some of the mistakes today). I take a pill and eat something. While stepping out, there are two couples beside the bike. One couple is older and the other is 19-20 years old’ and they like it. The older couple likes the bike while the young ones like the fact that it came all the way from Canada. Well, they (the young ones) give me a hard time about the weather as they say it comes from Canada. We argue and come to an understanding, if they give us back the goose liver that flies south each year in fall, our national sport the hockey (including the finest Canadian hockey players) and Jim Carey; we will take back the weather. I was willing to give up Jim. Otherwise – no exchange. We had a deal.
Minnesota. Capital – St. Paul. Ex-governor – Jessie Ventura. The state still looks like southern Canada and the cow smell hits you hard according to the wind direction. In my opinion, the raccoon either ran from Jessie or committed suicide from the smell of the cow shit. And until St. Paul everything is straight roads and quite boring. I stop at a rest area, check my pets and continue. The city is nothing special but it’s the first serious one I’ve been to in the last 2,000 km or so. In the past I often had stop-overs here for work or flight connections. On a “vacation” trip I did not find a good reason to stop (even though I am sure there is much to do here). But what I did forget is that it is the beginning of a long weekend and everyone and their wives are on the roads. An hour and a half (!) I was in traffic on the high way. All I wanted was to get to a gas station and buy something for my fever. At least I reached the Hudson in time for the sunset on the river which is beautiful. Riding my German beast, Hazel (it sounds bad, doesn’t?), the wind whips in my face, the sun reflects on the water – life is great!
982 km. OSSEO. Four hours to Chicago. The town population – 1669 and in my opinion – all of them “closely” related. Tomorrow will be a better day.