One of these mornings the chain is gonna breakYesterday 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 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
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!