Northern Tier 2010

August 5, 2010

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Books

Filed under: Minnesota, Section 05 — Henry Scott @ 9:00 pm

I stole this title from a sign in Bemidji’s public library. Well, actually, Seth noticed the sign first, so I guess I stole the idea of stealing it from him. Anyway, the sign got me thinking about how amazing the public libraries have been on this trip. Even in the smallest of the towns with public libraries, they provide free Internet access in addition to excellent reference materials and, of course, books. The staff are always friendly and helpful, even when we must look filthy. That said, I am glad they require shirts and shoes!

Today our longest stop was in Bemidji, the “first town on the Mississippi,” and the home of gigantic statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. You can see us towering over them in the photo.

We were here early so we went out for breakfast. Seth broke his own pancake record, but I continue to shy away from eating so much so quickly — I have to sneak in an extra meal to keep up with him in terms of caloric intake. Today that came from an under-construction Subway. I must’ve looked hungry with my loaded bicycle, because a worker asked if I’d be willing to test the drive-up window on my bike in exchange for a free sandwich. Ya betcha!

We repeatedly crossed the nascent Mississippi today, and we got to see how quickly it grows in volume along its course. Near Itasca one could easily jump over it, but by Bemidji it starts to look more like the mighty river it will become.

We’re camped in Bena for the night, back along Highway 2, and we’ll head into Grand Rapids fairly early tomorrow. At that point Seth plans to head north up and over the Great Lakes, but I’ll stay on the Northern Tier. It has been great to have such a good riding partner for the past two weeks.


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