I had a nice long weekend from work over the 4th of July, 4 days off. Beth wasn't as fortunate, she had to work Monday, so we broke the long weekend into 2 mini-weekends of sorts. Friday-Sunday we headed up to my folks cabin with friends Mark & Amy. The weather was great and we had a really nice, relaxing weekend right up until Sunday afternoon.
Mark and I had decided earlier that we'd ride part of the way home from the cabin Sunday afternoon. On the way up, we left a car at Royalton so that we would only have a 75 mile ride instead of a 150+ mile ride all the way home. Seemed like a fine plan.
Sunday came around and we made a last minute decision to boat to Crosslake for one last ice-cream stop before we hit the road. So we all piled in the boat and headed to the local ice-cream shop. Now some of you may remember that I wrote about another trip up to my folks cabin a few weeks ago with a big group of friends. During that trip we visited this same ice-cream shop with the intentions of gorging on ice-cream by all getting Doozies: supposedly nearly a quart of ice-cream on a cone, you even get your picture taken if you get one. Well, out of the whole group of about a dozen people last time, I was the only one to get a doozie. The group was weak.
This time Mark wanted to make up for his poor showing as part of the group a few weeks earlier, so he ordered a doozie, and naturally so did I. The key to eating these things is speed. If you take your time and lick away on the surface, it'll just melt and you'll be left with a cone full of liquid and that's no fun. So you have to take big bites and never slow down, which both of us did. We polished them off with style, then headed back to the cabin to pack up and hit the road.
By the time we got back it was about 4pm, which was later than I wanted, but what can you do. We hit the road figuring it would be 4 hours max to ride to the car we had left in Royalton, so we'd still have plenty of daylight. Keep in mind that at this time all Mark and I had eaten were Blueberry pancakes for breakfast, and then a huge serving of ice-cream for lunch.
I felt really sluggish all the way to Brainerd, but I chalked it up to my laziness and not riding much lately. Mark seemed fine and my stomach was doing alright with that ice-cream.
Unfortunately we both knew that there would be nowhere to stop for food or water between Brainerd and Little Falls. This meant some dinner now even though I wasn't all that hungry, or wait 2 hours at which time I knew I'd be out of gas. Mark was a little hungry, so we decided to stop now. It was Sunday night in Brainerd and we were well on the other side of town from all the chain restaurants, so we had to scour the old downtown section for an open establishment. Finally after riding around more than we needed we found Giovanni's pizza. Not my first choice, but it was the only choice! We ate in moderation knowing it was really hot and that it might not sit very well while riding. Not to mention we had really maxed out on dairy food already for the day.
Hit the road again and again it was getting later than I wanted. It was after 7 now and we still had about 50 miles to go. About an hour down the road both of us started to feel bad. Really bad. The pizza was working it's magic in the wrong way and we both just really felt sick. Standing up was terrible so we sat as much as possible. When we came to the split in the road where we had to decide between a closer town, but overall longer route thru Little Falls, or the overall shorter route through Pierz but a longer time to a bathroom, we headed to Little Falls. The ride had become about the most uncomfortable ride of my life by the time we got to the city limits and I've never been happier to see a gas-station. relief.
After a brief stop and some rest, we got back on the bikes and tried to figure out the best route from here to Royalton. I had been planning on riding through Pierz, so I didn't have a route from this direction. Unfortunately there was an airport between where we were and where we wanted to be and no thru roads. So we headed down through the otherside of town, hoping to pick up a county road south of the airport. The sun was rapidly sinking.
It seemed like we had found a good route riding county road 76 south, it had a big shoulder and very few cars, perfect. Well perfect until it dumped us onto Hwy 10. Yup, it merged right in, so now we were riding on the shoulder of a major highway with cars flying by at 70 mph and it's pretty much dark out. We got off that as soon as possible about a mile down. Got on a county road that could have taken us right where we wanted to be, but instead we turned one road too soon and ended up back at hwy 10 a few miles down. crap. It was ride 10 a little longer or back track quite a bit to try and find another road in the dark. We opted to ride down 10 a little further, facing traffic so we would be able to see if anyone was going to plow into us. After what felt like an eternity but was probably about a mile, we hit another county road and headed off into the darkness. It was really dark now, thankfully there was nobody out on these back roads at all, so we had room, but the bugs were awful. At least we were going the right direction. We rode for what seemed like a long time until we started seeing signs of what appeared to be a town. Houses with mail-boxes at the road instead of fire-road signs, garbage cans out for city collection. So we turned east and headed out towards 10 thinking we were at Royalton (the city is right on 10). Nope, we got to 10 and there was a wood working shop and nothing else. I knew we had to be really close to town, but I couldn't see it in either direction looking up and down 10 and honestly we didn't know if it was just north of us or just south. Not to mention it was after 10pm now and we're really getting tired. So we broke out the cell phone and called Amy to ask her to mapquest this woodworking shop that we were sitting in the parking lot of. Finally after a few minutes of being eaten alive by mosquito's she found it and informed us were were about a mile away from the car! thank God. We turned around, rode to the real to and quickly found the car. Thankfully by this time my stomach was feeling better, but my legs and butt were shot.
Next time, leave earlier, less ice-cream, no pizza. I'm still trying to recover.