We stopped for gas and breakfast in the morning.
I'm not a cruiser rider, but I had to admit that I really like Zack's setup. Very clean lines on his bike, and it wasn't obnoxiously loud. And he'd come prepared with tent and sleeping bag and a change of clothes. According to Zack, this was in case he couldn't find me.
I wanted to suggest to him that we switch bikes for a while, but at breakfast he looked out the window and saw someone park close to his bike. He growled, "They better watch it." I decided not to tell him my idea.
I led the way as we continued to follow the Mississippi River Trail, a bicycle route which leads from the headwaters of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. We crossed the Mississippi many times and it was getting bigger and bigger.
And there were more signs of the "Blowdown Incident."
To my surprise, the MRT (and the Great River Road, as the sign shows) turned onto a gravel road. I pulled over and looked at Zack. "I don't mind riding on gravel," he claimed. Despite his assurance, I thought it would be better to stick to the pavement.
This gave us an idea. We were hot and a little hungry.
We stopped for a snack in the small town of Aitkin, Minnesota, where my friend Amanda is from. I was looking forward to seeing her in a few days. I met her when she used to work in this cafe.
The desserts were terrible. I didn't want to say anything, but then Zack looked at me with a grimace and asked, "Does yours taste like sugary syrup?" I nodded.
We posed outside for a photo.
Zack doesn't wear any riding gear, and in the heat and sun, he was getting pretty burned and worn out. He never complained other than to ask if I had any sunscreen, which I did.
Another shot of the river.
And this "art" car.
Zack and I stopped for gas in St. Cloud, Minnesota in the evening. Zack needed to be home tonight and still had an hour or two ride back to his house. We'd had a great time together, and I was happy to see him again after almost 25 years. It's still hard to believe that I could have someone in my life who I haven't seen for that long.
After Zack left I made a call to another friend who lives in a northern Minneapolis suburb. Eric and I have been friends since I was about 13 or 14, and the last time I saw him was in 2000. He's now married and has a small daughter. He invited me over and asked if I'd eaten dinner yet.
Once more, Jägermeister.
His wife had purchased this special bottle while in Amsterdam, and it did taste better than Jäger I've had in the US. According to her, they use a different formula.
Eric brought me out to his garage and showed me his motorcycle. "I didn't know you had a bike!" I suggested we go for a ride before I leave. He shrugged. He hadn't had his bike out for a few months and had only ridden it a few times all year.
They put me up in the guest room for the night and I tried to lay flat on my back to keep my ribs from aching.