Checked into the motel.
Sunday, September 24
Checked into the motel.
Trying to save some money, I backtracked south to a state park with camping. I found it before it got dark, picked a campsite and was about to set up my tent when the park ranger came over. Usually the offices in state parks are closed so you don't have to pay, but no luck this time. It was $22 for the campsite plus $7 for a park pass, so I wouldn't be saving much compared to the Super8 motel I had looked up online earlier. I decided to stay anyway, if I could connect to the internet, because I wanted to do some work, but there was no signal out there. So I packed the bike back up and headed back to the twin cities, meandering around county roads not marked on the map until I found 35N. All said, I lost a few hours for nothing. I'm on my way to the Super8 now, but I decided to stop at an Applebee's off the highway to get dinner, then I'll continue on, check in late, and see some sites in the twin cities in the morning.
At a Dairy Queen off route 52 heading north towards St Paul. I think I might camp somewhere before the cities tonight and see them in the morning; otherwise I'll have to pay for an expensive motel in the city.
A bunch of Harley's and pickups are parked outside what looks like a local watering hole, so I pull over and park. I walk in, the only light is from three Coors lamps over the bar. Three tv's are showing NASCAR, football and baseball. A dozen rough looking faces turn as I walk in, seeming to say, "you're not from these parts, what do you want?" At first everyone seems to be in one group, but they're not; just watching the football game together, the Vikings against some other team.
I put my stuff down in a booth and sit down. No menu or waitress in sight. Touchdown: the crowd whoops and cheers. I wait a few minutes for a waitress and then walk up to the bar, asking a fellow there with his daughter if they're serving lunch. They sure are. I'm not sitting at the bar so the bartender ignores me. Then the waitress comes out - she's the chef too - and I ask for a good local beer. Local? She laughs. She gives the fellow with the daughter a funny look and asks him what local beers they might have. He looks at me funny and says, "there's Michelob lite and Miller lite." Sam Adams? I ask, figuring if I can't get something local, I might as well get something good. The waitress chuckles again. I order a Miller lite and a cheeseburger and sit back down.
The burger is a juicy quarter pounder with Ruffles on the side, for $2.75. In Boston the chips alone would cost $2.75.
The waitress, seeing my helmet, asks where I'm headed. To the Twin Cities, I say. From where? From Iowa. Coming from Boston, cross-country. She looks at me funny again. "Just for something to do?" she asks. "For fun" I answer. Ahh. All these funny travellers.
I leave a $3 tip on a $5 check and walk out, as the crowd whoops at another touchdown. As I walk to my bike I hear some people walking past, saying they had never seen the place so crowded, must be a game today.
Back to the road.
Got lunch at Woody's, off state route 56 in Minnesota. Continuing north towards the Twin Cities.
The rider: Ben Buckman, 21