Monday, July 7, 2008

Chain of Fools

One of these mornings the chain is gonna break
But up until then, yeah, I'm gonna take all I can take
Chain, chain, chain, chain, chain, chain
Chain, chain, chain, chain of fools

~ Aretha Franklin

Yesterday while in Crookston, MN we started having trouble with Alison's chain. There was a lot of slack in it and the chain would easily pop off the chain-ring when pedaling. We tried all possible adjustments with no luck. To make a long story short, we had to replace a link of chain (which we didn't have in our repair kit). A man driving by stopped to ask if we needed help. He gave me a lift to Wal-Mart (OK, for once I found shopping there a necessary experience!) and I was able to buy a chain. After cannibalizing the links I needed we were back on the road.

But before leaving Crookston, we stopped by the Irishman's Shanty pub to see the "world's largest shamrock". You will just have to wait until I can post a picture of it to see it with your own eyes.

The chain delay, however, kept us from leaving town until about 5 PM. Unfortunately, we were not able to make it to Fosston, MN where a friend in Walla Walla had arranged for a house for us to stay in. We battled headwinds the whole way and were only averaging about 9.5 MPH. We called our would-be host, Vanessa, and explained our situation. If we kept riding we wouldn't have made it until about 10:30, well after dark. We camped in the city park in Mentor, MN, about 25 short of our destination. That would make today about a 67 mile day!

Today stared off with the same strong headwind. We were out of camp by 6:30 AM hoping to beat the heat. The wind, however, was another story. Again only averaging about 9 MPH we didn't get into Fosston until about 9 AM. As we sat eating our donuts (another biker staple; no self-respecting bicyclist would go more than a day without either donuts or pancakes)
outside the Fosston Dairy Queen we saw a storm approaching from the west. Just then we saw the flags across the street go slack and then shift toward the east. A tailwind! We jumped on the bikes and took off for Bemidji!

Alas, the afternoon brought pelting, cascading, water-falling rain, but we didn't care. The temperature was still relatively warm and we were cruising. Gus and I arrived at the motel first and could not have been more wet! Alison and Sonia rolled (or should I say "paddled") in about a half an hour later.

A great day of riding was rescued by a change in the wind and a change in attitude. What could have been an abysmal day turned into a sweet, if wet, ride!

~ Dan


wombat064 said...

Hey Dan,
I spoke with Alison's Mum today via email. In that email I gave you a knickname and you are already living up to it.

Captain Kaos and the Cross Continent Cruisers

Keep pedalling My friend, wish I was there !!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! So glad that you could get the chain fixed. I can't imagine pedalling against that kind of wind! I am glad it changed directions and could be used to your advantage! (Also, I think I might like to try that bikers diet of ice cream, donuts, and pancakes!) Keep safe. Chandra and family

klawbaugh said...

Loved the chain photo! Again, I am having fun periodically checking in on your adventures. If I end up having Sonia this year in Science, it'll be fun to hear some of her stories. I'm always impressed how you and Alison turn what could be negative experiences into positive stories and reflections.

I've also noticed you all have lost weight and are looking fit and trim in your photos!

Happy traveling, Kim Lawbaugh