DAY TWENTY: WEDNESDAY, JULY 01
Another night passed with the discomfort of trying to sleep with the throbbing rib cage that wasn’t feeling any better yet. Not being able to sleep for more than thirty minutes at a time, it was very easy to get moving around by 6 AM. Taking gear out to the bike, I ran into Jeffrey who was already completely loaded and ready to go. He had already eaten, taken his bike to top off for fuel, and was getting very anxious to leave as soon as possible so he could get to his work buddies by their lunch time that he kept talking about the night before at dinner. Eventually I got loaded up and rode to the gas station down the street to fill up. My traveling companion sat behind me by the curb, bike running which was not normal, and flipping the throttle repeatedly in between sending out messages to his friends on the phone that he was going to meet with them on time. I pulled around to chat with him after fueling and he was very eager to get to get going to his planned lunch stop.
The ride south out of Grand Forks was uneventful. During the hour ride down to Fargo, we got separated repeatedly by passing traffic. I had told Jeffrey previously that if I was not able to safely stop at the Minnesota state line for my standard picture, that I’d take the exit into the first rest area. Sure enough, the Fargo traffic near the MN state line was loaded with morning commuters by the time we had arrived there about 8 AM. I backed off the speed allowing lots of traffic to pass me as I continued to watch my rear view mirror for signs of Jeffrey who had disappeared from view. As the rest area exit ramp appeared, I could clearly see Jeffrey…which means I knew he could clearly see me.
I took the exit ramp…slowed down…and looked over my shoulder. Jeffrey simply looked at me, and gunned it down the interstate. This is how our three weeks of traveling together ended. Thinking he may have missed the exit ramp due to traffic, I sat there for forty-five minutes waiting for him to turn around and work his way back…something that would have taken no more than fifteen minutes with the next exit a quarter mile away. I sat there; he just kept going to meet his workmates. A text message later in the day showed he knew I had taken the exit ramp and chose to leave me there. An offering to come to his place was given by him but when I asked for the address, I didn’t get a response back. Guess he was busy showing off his bike’s street cred to his buddies before it was to be washed.
There were lots of issues on this trip I didn’t cover regarding my riding partner; I learned my lesson and no way I’ll ever make a promise to lead somebody for the entire trip like this ever again. It all ended with no handshake, no thank you, no words or notice; no nothing for seven months of helping him get ready for the trip, answering many very generic questions with much detail so he could choose the right gear, and being his guide for three weeks as he simply followed and provided almost no input when asked. I lived up to my promise to lead him on this adventure and get him back to Minnesota; and I didn’t separate when a few instances came up that very much warranted it. Hope you had a nice trip Jeffrey; good luck to you in the future. I do appreciate your assistance in Wasilla helping me get the bike temporarily repaired and getting me into a room after the accident.
It is what it is. In my last main entry into this ride report, I will list a number of things I learned on this trip and will cover some info you should consider about selecting riding partners you just don’t know very well beforehand. I saw what I now consider to be many red flags before even meeting and I disregarded them all. Won’t happen again.
Anyways, I did get my proof that I made it to Minnesota:
Sitting there at the rest area, I started text messaging Rob. He wasn’t too surprised at the way this had ended, as Jeffrey barely acknowledged Rob’s leaving back in Tok, Alaska when he had to head home. I was about three and a half hours away from Rob’s house to meet him as he had invited me to stop by, but he was just starting his work day; I would need to find a much longer route to the Minneapolis area or just forget about sharing a cold beverage with my other trip cohort and just head for home. I wasn’t in a very big hurry and figured I’d at least stop by and say hello. Rob suggested riding US-10 instead of the interstate which would greatly increase the travel time and give me a little better scenery that would be seen from I-94.
The next exit off the interstate allowed an easy route to get onto US-10. No photos for the rest of the day though; nothing really stood out as exceptional to capture. I easily doubled the time needed to transit the distance to Minneapolis by taking my time. I found a Subway for breakfast and a McDonald’s for lunch. I’d ride about thirty minutes and find some place shaded to go sit down in the hot day and update my travel notes for the trip. I tried to time my arrival to the Minneapolis area so I’d beat rush hour traffic and not have to sit waiting at a nearby coffee shop for Rob to get home.
I timed my arrival to Minneapolis badly. I got to the edge of the city at about 3:15 PM, and traffic on I-694 was already horrendous. After an hour of doing a lot of duck walking the bike on a five lane highway, I found the interstate exit closest to Rob’s home, fueled up again, and found a coffee shop to enjoy a iced coffee in the air conditioned business. It had gotten to around ninety degrees by the afternoon, and I was once more exhausted. Anybody sitting and barely moving in interstate traffic for an hour knows what I mean.
Time came to head to Rob’s, where I was able to pull into his garage and enjoy hours of good conversation about the overall trip including the accident and issues I had encountered. Rob’s wife Greta had made up an awesome spread of slow-cooked ribs, homemade potato salad, and other fixings. Definitely one of the best meals of the trip; we sat on the back deck for a couple of hours and the three of us talked as if we were life-long friends. Getting late, I excused myself to retire to an offered bed and slept better than I had in the past week and a half.
Tomorrow, I make the bee-line for home. Back to windy roads to ride. I get close to home and run into rush-hour traffic problems like Minneapolis. And I finally get Faith and myself back to our happy abode as I had promised my wife that I would.
Mileage: 360 miles
Areas traversed: Fargo, Detroit Lakes, St. Cloud, Minneapolis