13,14/06/2011 Sydney-International Falls MN and Fort Fances, CA.
Arrived in International Falls,MN last night after 25 hrs in transit. Had all sorts of problems clearing customs in LA. A point to remember is what ever you do just name some address for your 1st night in the US. I got knocked back and the girl at the information desk even said Motel 6 will do.
Thankfully the bike box proved to be a bit of an express ticket to the front of queues. Even then a 4 hour lay over between at LA and departing for Minneapolis was not littered with spare time.
I must mention how quickly the 15hr flight with V Australia was. Firstly it was a new plane with bucket loasds of leg room, for me anyway. Nice food and fortunately I sat next to a really nice young girl named Janine Foster from NZ who was on her way to New York to record a couple of songs she has written. We talked for a large part of the trip. Sure helps time fly. She has a strong,distinctive singing voice and great potential. Really good company. Google her at Janine and the mixtape. I wish her all the best.
It cost $64 to get 58kg all this way on 3 flights, mighty fine value I feel. Upon arrival at IF a lady with a van offered to take me to the motel, how kind of her.
People are so friendly here in Northern Minnesota. By 9 am at least 8 coffees were inside me having spent and hour with the motel owner and his mate then similar time in a cafe for breaky with 4 guys talking about logging, ever so gently about politics and importantly fishing.
International Falls is famous for its lake fishing on Rainy Lake which has a 225,000 acre area. With 1600 islands. Walleye is the fish most sought after for the table.
Many people I met today had never met an Aussie, the motel owner had not had an Australian book in all the 7 years he has owned it.
I told him that he kind of hit the jackpot,an Aussie and a kiwi in one hit.
A good mate on skype today said trust me to be the first aussie he met , what will he think!!
The motel is 10 minutes from the Canadian border so that formality was in todays itineary. I was in Ontario at Fort Frances for all of half an hour, not much to see.
The huge paper mill is on both sides of the Rainy River that is the border. Tidy little bit of international cooperation had here.
The mosquitos here are legendary to the point where one landed on the tarmac at IF and it took 100 litres of fuel for it to take off.
While riding 50k along the shores of Rainy Lake one can't help but see how busy summer is for flora and fauna. You could feel the urgency of nature as you rode. The grasses are so lush and sweet you can smell them, new growth on the larchs was so delicate and all number of insects especially dragonflies were flitting about in this time of plenty.
Squirells were busy collecting winters’ food. I bougtht some peanuts in their shells at the Sha Sha resort on the lake. The flightly little creatures ate the shelled nuts but hurriedly headed to an unknown destination in the trees with any unshelled nuts.The winters nest I guessed. Funny its summer and they have to think about winter.
A local told me that Rainy Lake freezes 13 inches thick. They drive trucks on it in winter. No wonder nature is busy with these kind of conditions ahead.
Ice fishing is big here. Handled one of Clints past pleasures today, a .44 magnum. I would’nt like to be even firing it let alone recieving it’s surprise from the barrel. The guy in the shop showed me his permit to carry a pistol anywhere at anytime, not an uncommon liscence here.
My journey begins tomorrow leaving the comfort of a motel and spending the night somewhere between IF and Bemidji, this trip will take 2 days, its 100 miles.
There's moose and black bear in this northern area. I have been told that bears will leave you alone if you dont leave food about. (bloody hope so)
Pancetta and pasta laced with beans and broccilli will be combined for tea and porridge for breaky while camping. (not a bear favorite I hope)
It is light here very early so will take advantage of that.
This morning packed gear in panniers with gear as assigned for the whole trip. As I guessed, there is already a package of excess clothes on its way back home. Excess shirts and shorts, reality has revealed them unecessary.
An android phone with GPS capacity costs $200 and $73/mth for 2 years on the smallest plan you can get. Thats nearly 2 grand for the phone assuming you dont use more than your plan. A super budget prepaid will have to do.
My tiredness was revealed tonight after tea in an empty garden with a beer studying a map. I feel asleep, (big 2 days out!!). The bar woman had to wake me up. I guess the bod is not quite synched yet.
If this town with its’ friendly and ever so helpful people are an indication of the rest of this journey through this part United States of America, it will be so enjoyable.