From the desk of Dan...
It was a nice day for a ride. Albert, Charles and myself left town at at the leisurely time of 10:00 AM. We hit US customs and not only did they check our ID, the guy that checks the trunk came out and checked our packs. We thought better of taking a picture of a man in uniform with latex gloves standing behind Charles (the only one in tights) asking him to open up .... his pack. After that experience, Charles set a blistering pace and with the wind mostly on our back, we got into Cavalier in just over an hour. As we pulled into the Bjornson's Gas and Convince we heard from some good old boys in a pickup "What you pulln' into here fo' - your on bicycle - you don't need gas." Albert was just about to give 'em the old Trudeau Salute but then thought better as the wheels on the 4by were as tall as he was. After some light refreshments it was back on the road west to the Icelandic State Park. Weren't we the lucky ones when there was a paved trail from town all the way to the west side of the park. This was a leisurely pace as we enjoyed the scenic river lots and greenery. After a picture to show the beauty the trail has to offer it was back onto HWY 5 for a rolling up hill ride of 16 km. Just as we were beginning to anticipate the climb up the escarpment, the turn north to Walhalla forced us to abandon the winding uphill climb to Langdon. This was a Walhalla ride after all. But we were not disappointed. With Charles and his tree trunks in the lead we pushed for another 18 km on a gradual rolling rise along the scenic 'foot hills' of the escarpment - wind in our face the whole time. Some of us tried to be Lance Armstrong and power up the hills out of the seat. While this method worked for the smaller rises, the larger ones proved to conquer the lungs and the smooth spinners came out ahead. Just as the Masonic Temple symbol (or was that the MCI Logo) appeared on the horizon, signaling out arrival at the top of the escapement it was a 2 km down hill race into Walhalla. Charles took the lead reaching speeds of 57 km/h while I was close behind. All the spinning at the front had taken its toll and I passed him on the last curve into town. Albert had some shifting issues and could only enjoy the hill in his small chain ring. (I'm sure the he will be on the door step of Back Ally when it opens Tuesday) Charles would go on to say of the long down hill "The ride was worth it even if just for that hill." After nearly 3 and a half hours of peddling, it was time to meet the locals. A preacher took interest in us as asked us if we knew about bicycle tours is Ireland. He said the Lilly Endowment Fund was offering $50,000 for Priests to take a sabbatical. He wanted to spend his cycling around Ireland. (And I picked preaching in a Mennonite Church - PK if you are reading this take note!) Lets hope his preaching skills are better than his photography. He took the picture of the three of us in front of the Moose. As it turned out it was a picture of our legs and front wheels. After a few more pics of the local's it was off to the Walhalla Inn for refreshment. There was a nice amber ale on tap but the prize found as I tipped back to enjoy - my eyes caught the sign offering Killian's Irish Red. It was as good as it was red - and it was red! (not as good from a bottle as from the tap at the Blue Moose in GFK) As we were to early for burgers it was down the street to the HWY 32 Drive In for grub. I don't think I have seen so many Betty Boop posters in my life. To bad the burger was as small as Betty's Boop is big. A rain shower wet the pavement as we said farewell to Betty, the Moose, the Irish Priest and the friendly bar tender and headed back into the Nor'wester. The border guard at Hasket was friendly but she was not impressed with our little jaunt as someone had crossed there last week that had rode all the way form California. Anyone know who that might be? Once back on CDN roads we were reminded how much we suffer in the south when the NDP is in power. The 243 from 32 to 14 is much longer after 100 km and the wind gods didn't smile on us - that Nor'wester was at times more a Nor'easter and it was a slog back into town. Albert - always the adventurer took the TC trail from 243 to Altona while Charles and I stayed on the hard stuff all the way home and arrived back in town at 5:30 PM My GPS gave me the following figures. Average pace 27.1 km/h; fastest speed 50.6 km/h; total riding time 5:01:33 total distance 136.2 km. It was agreed that we would do this again soon - maybe even make it a 200 km route and head into Langdon - but maybe on a day that offered lighter winds and some sun. Thanks for a great ride.
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