Saturday, November 03, 2007

St. John's

Well, it's now November and the Bicycle Rehabilitation Project is over. I finished up at the RCA Gallery about two weeks ago, and I just finished uploading the final photos to my website tonight. So that's it.

Returning to St. John's was a good idea. I've been having a really great time and the show at the Hall was a fantastic experience with tons of people coming in to take part. It's been 3 years since I've spent any time in St. John's, and I've happily discovered that there are many more cyclists here now than there were back then.

I just want to throw out a thank-you to everyone who made the show at RCA so great:

Craig, Corey and Jay - nothing could've happened without you. Thanks for working so hard to bring me here and taking care of me so well!

Cara and Kevin - thanks for adopting this poor homeless orphan boy into your lives (again)!

Bryhanna and Angela - thanks for bringing my work to the masses!

Isabella, Mark, Ya Ling, Molly, Holly, Shane, Dan, Emily, Obadah, Bjorn, Hannah, Anu, Alain, Ron and everyone else who came into the gallery - thank-you thank-you thank-you!!! Keep riding your bikes and one day we will change the world!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Statistics - Final

As of October 14, 2007

Kilometres traveled - 8268
In Canada - 4941
In USA - 3327
Days spent biking - 77
Provinces visited - 7
States visited - 9
Flat tires - 5
Thunderstorms I was out in - 4
Wipeouts/accidents - 0
Breakdowns (bicycle, not nervous) - 2
Metric centuries - 46
Centuries - 8
Double metric centuries - 1
Most kilometres in a single ride (Mountain to Marinette) - 71
Most kilometres in a single day (Saskatoon to Bethune) - 201
Days off (no riding or repairing) - 17
Ferry rides - 8

Black bears encountered - 5
Grizzly bears encountered - 0
Coyotes encountered - 1
Moose encountered - 0
Elk encountered - 2
Touring cyclists encountered - 32

Nights spent camping - 55
Nights I paid to camp - 4
Hotels/motels/hostels slept in - 4
Showers I paid for - 3
Floors, spare beds, and couches surfed on - 18

Days repairing bikes - 52
Exhibitions finished - 8
Galleries slept in - 2
Interviews done - 10
Interviews and articles printed or aired - 9

Kilograms of peanut butter eaten - 5
Bowls of pho eaten - 10


I promised several curious people that I'd list everything that I carried with me on my trip. It will be a little complicated, since I changed gear regularly and chose to ship certain things on certain segments rather than carry them. I think the way to do it is to start by listing everything I arrived in St. John's with - these would be the essential things that I had from beginning to end - and then list the things that I ditched along the way and the reasons why I didn't want those things anymore. Ok? Here we go:

2005 Miele San Remo 16" touring bike - basically as I bought it off the shelf in 2005, but with the following alterations/replacements:
- I replaced the entire drivetrain (cranks, chainrings, cassette, chain) immediately before the tour began because the old parts were badly worn.
- I also did a complete cable and housing overhaul immediately before leaving Vancouver.
- My left 8-speed Sora STI shifter (which was broken) was replaced in 2006 by some other 8-speed Shimano shifter
- I replaced the factory pedals (plastic with toe clips) in Minneapolis with metal, one-sided clipless pedals. These pedals have clip-ins on one side and a regular platform on the other. Really nice for touring!
- I replaced the factory tires with a Conti Top Touring (front) and a Schwalbe (rear) before the tour began. I had to replace the Schwalbe in Minneapolis and chose to go with a Vittoria Zaffiro on the recommendation of Derek, the vegan fixie.

Bike Gear:
My set up was a very simple rear rack with two panniers - very light for more than 8000km, but I was easily able to fit everything listed below.
- Rear rack - Bor Yueh
- Rear panniers - Axiom, 3-compartment, capacity
- 1 red MEC turtle blinkie
- 1 white MEC turtle blinkie
- 2 generic bottle cages
- 4 bungee cords

Camping Gear:
- Tent - North Face Canyonlands
- Sleeping bag - MEC Raven -7C mummy sack (size small)
- Mattress - Thermarest Prolite 3 small self-inflating
- 75cm compression strap for the mattress
- Pillow - handmade by Jenelle Jakobsen and given to me in a spirit of tremendous irony on my 27th birthday in 2005.
- 1 tube of tent seam sealer
- 1 roll of tent seam tape

- Computer - 12" Apple iBook G4
- Computer power cable
- Discs - OSX installation disc, 4 other discs containing Microsoft Office 2004, Photoshop 7, Adobe Acrobat, Macromedia, Coreldraw, backups of my files and photographs
- Flash memory - 1Gb Transcend
- Flash memory - 1Gb Sandisk Cruzer
- Neoprene sleeves - Tucano, large one for the computer and small one for the accessories
- Camera - Panasonic Lumix 4.1 megapixel
- SD memory - Sandisk 256Mb
- SD memory - Sandisk 1Gb
- SD case for the extra card
- Camera case
- Camera USB cable
- Battery charger - Energizer Ni-MH 4 battery charger
- Batteries - 4 Energizer AA Ni-MH
- Cell phone
- Cell phone power cable

- Bike shorts - 1 pair
- Tights - 1 pair
- Shoes - Adidas touring shoes with Shimano cleats
- Jacket - Orange MEC waterproof bicycle coat
- Helmet
- Gloves - Musto Performance leather fingerless
- Toque
- Mitts - the type where the tops flip back to reveal the finger tips
- Pajama pants - 1 pair
- Shorts - 1 pair
- Socks - 4 pairs
- Heavy wool socks - 1 pair
- Underwear - 4 pairs
- T-shirts - 4
- Long sleeve shirt - 1
- Cords - 1 pair - picked them up near the end of the trip when the weather was cooling down (otherwise I had spent most of the summer without a pair of pants). Doubled as second pillow at night.

Maintenance Kit:
- Pedal wrench - 15mm
- Cable clipper - Park CN-10
- Screwdriver - with 11 various driver bits
- Chain whip
- Metric allan key set - 1.5mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 3.5mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm
- Cone wrenches - 13mm by 14mm, 15mm by 16mm, 17mm by 18mm
- Crescent wrenches - 9mm by 11mm, 8mm by 10mm
- Adjustable crescent wrench
- 6" vice grip
- Crank multi-tool from Filzer - includes crank puller, 15mm crescent/box combo wrench, 15mm socket, 6mm allan key, 8mm allan key (a very nice compact tool!)
- Cassette remover
- Bell chain tool
- Universal spoke wrench
- Mini multi-tool (acquired at O'Hanlon's pub trivia in 2006) - includes needle-nose pliers, large knife, small knife, Phillips driver, bottle opener, multiple flat screwdrivers
- 4 spare spokes (1 front wheel, 1 rear wheel non-drive side, 2 rear wheel drive side)
- 2 spare tubes
- 1 spare folding tire
- 1 shifter cable
- 1 brake cable
- 1 set of replacement cleats
- 1 set of cleat place keepers (I know this is not the name, but they are the things that screw into the cleat nuts but they have shoe tread on them)
- 1 set of replacement brake shoes (Kool Stop)
- Spare Kevlar rim liner - useful in many situations for its elasticity and strength
- 1 Spare derailleur pulley with bolt, washers, and sleeve
- 1 bottle of Phil's Tenacious Oil
- 1 pill bottle containing various nuts and bolts, ferules, cable ends, washers, etc. basically look at all the tiny pieces that might fall of your bike and get a spare one of each.

Personal Effects:
- Toothbrush
- Toothpaste
- Dental floss
- Anti-itch cream - necessary for those mosquito bites!
- Benadryl tablets - when I woke up one morning near the beginning of the trip almost unable to breathe because of allergies I decided to keep these with me the rest of the way, athough I didn't use them once after I got over the Rockies.
- Nail clippers - useful in so many situations!
- Spoon
- Fork
- Tissues/toilet paper

Money, ID, Travel Documents, Contracts, etc.:
- Ziploc bag for change
- Royal Bank card
- Scotia Bank card
- Royal Bank Visa card
- Sask Health card
- Sask "This is not a driver's license" ID card
- Phone card
- Paper cash
- All held together with a bulldog clip
- And inside of a Ziploc bag
- Ziploc bag for receipts
- Another Ziploc bag containing:
- SIN card
- Newfoundland health card
- NSCAD faculty ID card
- U of R student ID card
- Canadian passport
- Irish passport
- A copy of each contract from each gallery - 7 in total
- A copy of my Sask Arts grant letter

Obviously this changed daily, and what I arrived in St. John's with was not representative of what I might have carried on any given day, so I will list what I might have carried on a typical day.
- Peanut butter - 500g, or one pound jar, depending on which country I bought it in
- 6 pack of multigrain bagels
- Apple
- Granola bars
- 2 bottles of water, about 1.5L altogether
- A 1L spare water bottle that I would occasionally fill before those long, lonely stretches where refills might be hard to come by

Odds and Ends:
- Notebook
- "Relational Aesthetics" by Nicolas Bourriaud
- 2 pens
- The applicable maps - on certain segments I carried as many as five maps at a time
- Ziploc bags
- Plastic garbage bags - always at least three
- Plastic shopping bags - always at least three
- 1 roll of 500 Bicycle Rehabilitation Project stickers

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Corner Brook

While I was in Sackville my friend Steph in Corner Brook suggested I stop at Grenfell College to show my project. To tell you the truth, I'd been thinking about it for a while, but had lacked the initiative at this late date to actually make it happen. Well, I mentioned the idea to John Murchie at Struts, and within the day he had talked with his contacts there and everything was set up. So I was stopping in for a day and a half to do a talk and a quick workshop.

Talk about your serendipity - I got to hang out with friends Steph and Hope for a day, my mom and dad decided to come for a visit, I had an awesome response from my audience, and I even managed to pick up a nice (and much needed) pay cheque from the event.

Many thanks to Les and the rest of the faculty at the college for a great day!

Best Day Yet?

I've spent most of the summer looking forward to today. Last night I finally slipped across the Nova Scotia - Newfoundland border and arrived in Port-Aux-Basques. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive - after everywhere I've been and everything I've seen on this trip how would Newfoundland stack up? I remembered it - especially this southwest corner - as one if the most spectacular places I've ever been.

Well I have to say that I was not the least but disappointed. We arrived in the harbour just as the sun was creeping above the ocean into a perfectly clear sky. The weather was amazing providing gentle tailwinds all day long to help me enjoy the magnificent panoramas of the west coast.

I met this great guy Carl, a cyclist from Nova Scotia who is riding from Victoria to St. John's. We spent the day riding together, and I think with a little less bias than I, he put it perfectly: "There hasn't been a day better than this."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Worst Day Yet?

Leave it to good ol' Nova scotia to provide me with the wildest weather I have seen in months and months. While yesterday was nothing short of glorious, and even this morning was fine by any standard, this afternoon saw everything turn against me. Passing Pictou on the way to New Glasgow is where the rain first started. It wasn't bad to begin with - just light drizzle blowing around in all directions - but it got darker, harder and heavier as the day wore on. I was determined to make it to Antogonish, so I pedalled onwards. The wind came up, directly in my face of course, and made the going so slow that befiore long I was looking for a place to camp. But Highway 104 is not exactly the most hospitable area, being as it is lined with dense brush, so I had little choice but to keep going forward.

I can't imagine how horrible it would be to have to change a flat in this kind of weather, but the gods of irony endeavoured to help me find out. My front tube popped, but I may have the last laugh, as it happened directly in front of Gerard and Ethel's Star Lite Campground in Marshy Hope. I pushed my bike down the drive, put my tent up as quickly as I could, and now I'm sitting here listening to the pounding rain and howling wind. I'm just gonna take care of everything tomorrow when Environment Canada has promised me sun. It better arrive early and bring some heat.


I need to thank a whole bunch of people this time. The show at Struts was amazing and I had just the best time.

John, Jess and Paul: thank-you for running one of the finest galleries I have ever visited. You put up with all my demands and like real pros!

Lianne and Ange: you two are awesome roommates - thanks for feeding, housing and just basically taking care of me. I'd love to return the hospitality someday so you are welcome to visit me wherever I might be.

Tara, Leah, Kip and the rest of the board - Thanks for inviting me to town and making me feel at home. You rock!

David, Elizabeth and family - thank you for the amazing dinner, it was lovely meeting you. I hope the trailer works out for you!

Nick - thanks for inviting me to your party - soon we will lead a great socialist nation!

Naoko - The sushi was great, but the visit was even better! It was terrific to see you!

Bucky Buckler - thanks for the tools and the junkers - without your grinder Tara would still be after me to fix that pedal!

Ove - I think the show wouldn't have been possible in quite the same way without your contribution. Thanks so much!

John - thanks for the help and of course for being that guy who brings in the "project" bike :)

Chris - thanks for the beer. Next time I pass through I will take care of that bike for you.

Jesse - the tomatoes and cukes were dee-lish! Thanks so much!

Kat, Vanessa, Seamus, Nick, Amelia, Julia, Lorne, Amanda, Jason and everyone else who brought in a bike, or came to the talk, or just came to hang out - thank-you so much!!! You made my stay in Sackville great, and you make the world a little bit better every time you ride your bike!


I must first apologize for neglecting my blogging duties - it has been two weeks since my last update. But I swear I have a good excuse. I blame it upon the mountain of bicycles that arrived in Sackville at the same time as I did. Sackville is a university town, without a bike shop now for more than five years, where I just happened to arrive during frosh week. So I was kept busy keeping people on their bikes - not unpleasant by any means, but definitely exhausting.

And not just that. Sackville seems to have a social scene disproportionately large for such a small town. There were art shows, music shows, cinema, softball games, ultimate games, and a great pub named Ducky's where they sell an awesome blueberry ale topped off with a spoonful of wild blueberries.

And even that was not the end of my distractions. Perhaps because I'm getting so close to my one-time homes people from my past kept trickling through the gallery. First Nick Carmichael, a friend from the Split Crow in Halifax invited me to his nearby cottage for his birthday party. We ate and drank and swam and played tennis on his grandfather-in-law's amazing clay tennis court. I've played a lot of tennis in my life but never on clay before and I like it. Then Naoko Ando, a classmate of mine from the Stephenville days walked into the gallery completely without warning. Apparently she and her husband have been living in Sackville and running a book store since the last time I saw her in about 2001. Next Meghan Harding, my roommate from Vancouver, showed up. She was in town on business at the university and of course we went for a few bkueberry ales before she had to leave. And last in the parade was Craig Francis Power. I know Craig a little bit from my days in St. John's, where he is now ironically the coordinator of the gallery I'm showing at there. He's in town for the Struts 25th Anniversary exhibition (he was an artist in residence here a few years ago) which is opening tonight. I couldn't take anymore though so I hit the road this morning and this blog post is coming to you from the woods near Tatamagouche (try saying it out loud for the full comedic affect).

So again I apologize for neglecting my duties, but, as you can see, I had some other things to do.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


I knew it had to happen sooner or later - that I would eventually be the victim of some sort of animal attack. Tonight while carrying my gear through the forest looking for somewhere to camp I stepped on an old log and was swarmed by flying stinging insects. I have no idea what they were as I was in no mood to stop to perform a proper scientific analysis. They were small and black and many.

In all I think I've been stung about seventeen times - eight on the ankles, six on the thighs and ass, and three times on the back. For some reason they didn't sting my bare skin, they ignored my face, arms and knees, and opted to sting through my shirt, shorts and socks - weird! The sting kind of felt like a tiny burning needle being inserted into my flesh, quite painful and distressing at the time, but now (an hour later) they're just itchy and sore. I bet they'll be gone tomorrow.

Incidentally, when I've had the time I've been playing a little old school NES role-playing game on my computer by the name of Dragon Warrior II. I can't help but think how much it parallels my life. Just like the characters in the game I travel from town to town, collect experience, acquire resources, upgrade my gear, learn new skills, and build some muscle. Tonight I battled hideous monsters in the hinterlands (if they were part of a Dragon Warrior game they'd be called "Sting-Bees" or "Wasp Wings") and came out victorious, though down a few hit points.

The TurboGraphix 16 had a couple of cool RPGs based almost entirely on the Dragon Warrior model. But they weren't about killing monsters and saving the world - one was a tennis game and the other was about racing. In the tennis game the character wanders an overworld of mountains, forests, plains, and of course towns. The "enemies" are hostile tennis opponents who challenge you to a one game match. If you win you live to enjoy strawberries and cream another day - if not your career is over. "Bosses" require you to win a whole set, but by the time you get to them you've hopefully upgraded to a new racket and a decent pair of shoes. The racing RPG was basically identical, except replace shoes with tires, games with laps, and Martina Navratilova with Danica Patrick.

Which all made me think - why isn't there a bicycle touring video game? Let me toss out a few random ideas. You start with a character and a budget, both of which are entirely customizable. You can set off in any direction and go anywhere. You are then subject to all the contingencies, risks and rewards of a real bicycle traveler. Can you ride from Moscow to Irkutsk before the weather turns bad? Can you find enlightenment while traveling the subcontinent? If you leave New York with just $1000 will you ever get to see the sunset over Malibu? We already have the entire world in virtual form courtesy of Google. How hard could it be to make a realistic, fun and exciting bike tour simulator? Are there any software designers out there looking for a project? Here is the first problem to work on: How do we simulate my itchy swollen ankles???

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Weekend

People crawled out of bed slowly over the course of Saturday morning. For my part, I actually did fairly well. I was up and showered by 9:30. Adrienne had gotten the worst out of the night before (it was her good-bye party - she left for Brooklyn in the afternoon), nevertheless I found her in the kitchen cooking up some vegan pancakes when I got there.
I was really looking forward to having a slow day. After breakfast I went back to bed to play some video games and listen to Fur Packed Action for a while. I thought I'd try to look at all the bikes that had mysteriously appeared during the past couple days.

Several bikes in various states of disrepair that had been discovered on the Watershed property had been brought to the front lawn and left for me to look at. Over the course of the afternoon each of the residents and staff brought along his/her own bike to add to the list. I think just about everyone there had one - Karin, Monica, Stephen, Adrienne and Sarah. So basically we lounged around on the lawn all day. While I worked on the bikes Monica, Jeffrey and Tom played whiffle ball or frisbee, Paige and Janine spun poi, and Stephen brought along some pots to glaze. By the end of the day I was pretty bushed. We had supper and afterwards half of us, including me, crashed while the other half went for a late night swim and campfire at Peter's Pond. I wish I could've gone, but it would've just been too much.

Sunday was also pretty relaxed, with most people not putting in appearances until noon or even later. I was actually pretty busy - I threw together a disk of the slide presentations we did on Friday so that everyone would have some images of everyone else's work, I had a bunch of bike tour "business" to attend to, and I finished up my job application. But I was done by suppertime, just in time to enjoy spring rolls, salad, and noodles with delicious peanut sauce. We finished the day off with an ice cream run, followed by a short group bike ride around the backroads of the 'shed.

Monday morning came way too early and I unenthusiastically packed up my gear. It took until lunchtime, so I got to have one last great meal before I left - green salad, pasta salad, veggie burgers and sweet potato fries. After a round of hugs and handshakes I pushed my bike to the top of the driveway and rolled away fattened and rested. Watershed was great - thanks for the fun week, folks.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bike Blogs

Here are the blogs of some other cyclists that I've met along the way this summer. They are a little more of the conventional variety (at least they are not interrupted by ranting and raving about this and that like mine occasionally is), but are full of good traveling stories and lots of what it feels like to travel via bicycle.

First, the story of Jerry, Roy and Michelle, three folks from California who are riding the Adventure Cycling trail from Anacortes, Washington to Boston. I believe they've recently finished, so you can read about their complete trip:

Coast 2 Coast Ride

And next, the story of Reuben, an intrepid traveler from New Zealand attempting to cross Canada by trail rather than road (for the most part). This one comes highly recommended by me - it is full of lots of good stories with hardships and victories and adventure:

Victoria to St. John's - The Scenic Route

Two excellent reads for anyone seriously thinking about doing something like this.


The last day of the week, and my last working day. Things have been going really well around here, so I think we're pretty far ahead of schedule. We got off to a little bit of a late start, but I drew a good job - removing lights from the summer studio and installing them in the winter studio. This occupied most of my morning, as I was pretty interested in doing my best to make the winter studio look a little better. Lunch was the usual amazing feast of healthy and delicious food, after which I helped clean the kitchen. Most of us weren't exactly in the mood to work too hard at the end of the week so we had an easy afternoon.

Quitting time was 3pm, and we planned slide talks for 3:30. We went through about ten people in three hours - there was some really great work:

All week long people have been talking about going out on the town on Friday night. I thought this meant that I'd get dragged to a club somewhere or other. But this is Maine, so what we actually did was drive to a seaside restaurant and bar, eat lobster and drink beer. What a relief!!! We actually had quite the fiasco getting there - after several wrong turns in a row we found ourselves in the completely wrong place. An odd gentleman wearing suspenders with his shorts and earmuffs as he was mowing the post office lawn got us back on track. Having spent an hour and a half to do a twenty minute drive we ordered as soon as we got there. The place closed at 9pm (as, I'm told, EVERYTHING around here does) so we got kicked out and headed home.

Karin and Stephen had spent the afternoon repairing the fire pit. We loaded it full of wood from the kiln pad and lit it up. What followed was a party that could easily compete with any of those I'd been a part of at the Bray a couple years ago. It's impossible for me to not compare everything at Watershed with Archie Bray, though I'm not sure it's fair for me to do so.


Another day, another early morning. I got up at about 8am and joined the others for the standard breakfast fare - granola, yogurt, and fruit. Brandon - the mastermind behind the post-session studio shift - wandered in a little late feeling kinda sick. He handed out our assignments for the day and disappeared into the shadows. We moved clay first, then went on to some individual projects. I cleaned the bathroom in the summer studio, packed up some slip, and picked up some wood. After another phenomenal lunch and a little frisbee, I got to work outdoors on the lawn for a while. Incidentally, I was asked three separate times to drive the Ass-Licker somewhere to do something or other, and three separate times I had to explain that I don't have a license and that I don't drive. Everyone was pretty cool with that.
Brandon reappeared around 2:30 and let us off the hook for the rest of the afternoon. Hooray!!

Everyone else seemed mostly interested in taking a nap, but I was pretty stoked about spending some time with my bike. My chain had been grinding pretty bad since I picked up some sand from a beach I visited in Portland, and it was definitely time for an all around tune-up, since I hadn't really done a proper one since leaving Edmonton (more than 4000km ago!!!). I took off my entire drive train (cranks, chain wheel, chain, cassette, rear derailleur) and soaked and scrubbed the parts really well. I'm not sure my bike has ever had such a treatment before. I think it would sparkle if it were silver. Monica, Jeff and Steve eventually joined me and brought me a couple bike to have a look at. Monica has a sweet little matte black single speed that was pretty well maintained. We took off her chain and soaked it, and she did a really great job of scrubbing the grime off her sprockets. Steve's bike is a nice Cannondale mountain bike that will need a bit more attention. Unfortunately, our little workshop was called on account of darkness so I will have to finish his up tomorrow.

In the meantime, most of the crowd headed down to the studio to spend the night working. I contemplated joining them just for the sake of getting my hands dirty, but I'm a little more concerned about a job I found posted at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. The deadline for applications is September 1st, so I don't have much time to get a package together and send it all the way across the ocean. One of the downsides of being nomadic is that even menial tasks can become monumental. Take my current problem: I have to figure out where my student evaluations are, find a way to print 30 pages of application and teaching dossier, find a post office in rural Maine that can deliver this shit to Dublin in eight days, and do it all from the comfort of the couch in the common room of the studio. At least it's going to be easier than trying to do it from my tent.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Day Two Of My Impromptu "Residency"

I unexpectedly woke up just before 7am and peeked out the window to see this:

There was this amazing fog settled all over the compound that I just had to jump out of bed and photograph.

Breakfast was served at 8am, and we had our daily strategy meeting at 9am. Jeff and I got the job of refilling a trench where they had just recently laid a gas line to the new kiln pad. It didn't take too long (actually we ran out of gravel before we got very far) so we moved on to some other tasks. We were charged with filling the truck - which they so affectionately call the "Ass-Licker" - with items bound for the winter studio. We made about six trips back and forth in the Ass-Licker carrying shop glazes, kilns, tools, building materials and other odds and ends. In the meantime Tom and Brandon were working on a new shelter for the recycling centre, Sarah and Monica were sponging down the summer studio, and Stephen, Paige and Amanda were setting up the winter studio.

Lunch was served none to early at 12:30, and famished I wolfed down three plates of rice, pasta salad, stir-fry, green salad, and various other goodies. (One of the benefits of cycling 6 hours a day is that I can enjoy food in a way that few other people ever have the opportunity to.) We lounged on the grass for a little before being handed our afternoon assignments. The luck of the draw provided me with a pretty sweet deal - weeding some of the grounds with Monica for a couple hours.
By 3:30pm everyone was packing it in for the day and getting ready to go swimming at Peter's Pond. We drove out there for a quick swim to the far side and back, interrupted only by some leaping from the rocks into the water at the halfway point. I've never been much of a leaper myself, so I was happy to watch as the others somersaulted through the air and splashed into the surface. We returned to find our supper waiting for us - an amazing meal of chili, macaroni, salad, bread and mint juleps.

I spent the early evening catching up on some computing before joining the others in the studio for beer pong. Sarah and Damien handed Stephen and Paige a loss, and and then went for a second round against challengers Amanda and Jeff. After a close match the champions came through with a sweet win. We ran out of beer after that, but perhaps it was for the best. Most of us trundled off to bed exhausted around midnight.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Beehive Collective

What's the Beehive Collective? They are a group of artists who make and distribute anti-copyright imagery largely about Northern dealings in the economy, politics and millitary of Latin America. Their work takes the form of elaborate large scale black-and-white ink drawings (easily reproducible) filled with images, text and symbols. The works show, in a very didactic and easily readable way, both terrible and hopeful stories having to do with globalization and environmental destruction, as well as their local effects.

After their slide show I went to talk to them, to thank them for the amazing presentation and to compliment them on their fantastic research and work. I also told them about my project and they invited me to visit them when I get a little further up the coast in Machias.

You should visit their website right here:
Beehive Collective
I will write a little more about them after my visit.

Why Ceramics Is So Much Better Than All Those Other Craft Forms

Well, I can hardly believe my luck. I'm riding north from Portland knowing that there are a couple of ceramics places that I should visit, but not having really figured out where they are or what I should do if I find them. So I see a sign on the the road saying "Watershed Ceramic Arts Center" and I veer off into the woods.

I pull into a parking lot that unsurprisingly reminds me a lot of the Archie Bray and immediately run into Paige and Amanda. I explain that I'm a ceramic artist and I want to check the place out. They tell me that if I want I could probably stay for a few days, do some work, and hang out. Ummm....OK!

So they give me a cabin to myself, with my own bathroom, and promise me meals cooked by a couple of resident chefs. Nice! It is what they call "post-session" here right now, and they are shifting over from the summer set up to the winter set up, hence the need for some extra labour. I got settled away and invited to go to an artist talk. Karin and Tyler took me up to Rockland to see the Beehive Collective (more on that in the next post, it was awesome!), so I got a bit of a preview of my ride to the north.

After that we headed home and the current residents, volunteers and staff are sitting around a campfire shooting the breeze and drinking some beers. Perfect! We have a great night, but I am warned of the price we have to pay for this treatment. Apparently they spent all day today moving fridges from the summer studio into the winter studio. On the bill for tomorrow - moving kilns into the winter studio! Oh well, I've never been averse to a bit of hard work! But since I am crossing the continent by bicycle for the sake of art Karin gave me the option of having the morning off. I'll set my alarm, though, and when I wake up I'll decide whether I want to show them some work ethic or not.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The last few days have been full of signs that I'm nearing my final destination. First, I saw this in New Hampshire:

Then today I reached the Atlantic Ocean, exactly 11 weeks (77 days!) since I left the Pacific behind in Vancouver. I went down to Willard Beach in Portland, skipped some rocks, and shot some photos.

It's not much, and I still have a long way to go, but I feel happy.


Hi folks,

Here are a couple more articles that made it into the local newspapers in the Perth area. I have to thank Jackie for tipping off the press to my activities. He should be a publicist!

Perth Courier

Note the really hilarious typo in the second one where they mistakenly printed "art auctions" instead of "art actions"!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Where's The Beef?

I know what many of you are angrily thinking - "This is not a travel blog, this is an art blog! Get your priorities straight Mr. Flaherty!" I will be the first to lament the lack of art writing on this URL in recent weeks. But the fact of the matter is that I haven't actually seen any art for a very long time. My schedule simply has not allowed it. And I haven't been writing about my own piece for a while because, I suppose, I'm not quite so self-conscious about it anymore. It's here, I do it, and that's the way it is. I certainly don't feel a need to justify it anymore.

But I will promise this - I am collecting anecdotes of a few of the more profound moments of this trip and will be committing them to electrons soon, so you could expect to find that here in the next couple weeks. And I also promise this - I will be posting less of the "I pedaled XX kilometres in X hours so that I could reach Xville by X o'clock" posts. I've had my fill of those types of details and I'm sure you have too.

Karen and Joe

I just want to thank Karen and Joe for the amazing couple of days I spent at their house in Lake Bomoseen, Vermont. Karen was a resident at Archie Bray while I was there in 2005, and Joe (her husband) was the unofficial resident barbecue chef. I spent two nights at Lake Bomoseen and took one day entirely off - I didn't even see my bike!

We barbecued, drank beer, went out for breakfast twice, scrabbled, watched movies, gossiped, talked art, and spied on the neighbours. It was great to see you again, and it was just what I needed!

I Love Yew Nork

Well, I skipped out on the Wolfe Island Music Festival. Turned out that it was twice as expensive as I was told, there were no camping spaces left, and I couldn't find the friend I was supposed to meet. So I kept on pedaling and crossed over to New York that very night.

My route took me through the Adirondacks. The second night, August 12 I reached Cranberry Lake, just the point where the land turns from typical Great Lakes Basin agriculture and industry to amazing forest, lakes and hills. I timed it so I would be there for the Perseid Meteor Shower, best shower of the year. I remember once when we were kids Jason and I sat on the top of Drake's Head in Shoal Harbour and counted hundreds of meteors per hour during this shower. So I went all out in my preparations for a good show. I paid for a really nice campsite beside a lake that had a pier with a horizon to horizon view. I got there a little early and got everything set up so I wouldn't miss anything. Then I made a trip into town and got snacks - doritos, twizzlers, bananas - and a flask of whiskey so I could have a little nip to keep the chill of the lake off me.

I cruised back to the campsite and watched the sun go down over the horizon. As soon as that happened a huge dark cloud came up over the horizon and blotted out the entire sky. My light show was a bust, so I sat on the pier and got shitfaced on the bottle of whiskey until the rain started. What else was there to do?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Statistics - Take 2

As of August 10, 2007

Kilometres traveled - 5433
Days spent biking - 48
Provinces visited - 4
States visited - 5
Ferry Rides - 4
Flat tires - 4
Thunderstorms I was out in - 3
Wipeouts/accidents - 0
Metric centuries - 29
Centuries - 8
Double metric centuries - 1
Most kilometres in a single ride (Mountain to Marinette) - 71
Most kilometres in a single day (Saskatoon to Bethune) - 201
Days off (no riding or repairing) - 4

Black bears encountered - 5
Grizzly bears encountered - 0
Coyotes encountered - 1
Moose encountered - 0
Elk encountered - 2
Touring cyclists encountered - 16

Nights spent camping - 35
Nights I left the fly open - 21
Nights I paid to camp - 2
Hotels/motels/hostels slept in - 4
Showers I paid for - 3
Couches surfed on - 8

Days repairing bikes - 25
Exhibitions finished - 5
Galleries slept in - 2
Interviews done - 6
Interviews and articles printed or aired - 5

Kilograms of peanut butter eaten - 4
Bowls of pho eaten - 7

Thank-You! Thank-You! Thank-You!

I can't leave without giving a big thanks to everyone who made my stay in Kingston possible.

Jocelyn and Morgan at Union Gallery - Thanks for all your prep work and help while I was in town. None of this could have happened without you!

Mike and Brad at Yellow Bike Action - Thanks for the awesome deals, the encouragement, the advice, and for doing all the awesome things you do!

Cyclepath - Thanks for lending me your repair stand. I can't imagine how I would've coped without it.

Christian - Thanks for letting me stay with you. You are a couchsurfing god!

Peggy - Thanks for the company and tasty treats!!!

Emma - Thanks for the bread, grapes and cheese (mmmmmm...cheese...*mike drools*). I ate it all in one go.

Kristin, Karla, Moon, Sergio, Jan, Anna, Matt, Alex, Edward, Genna and everyone else who's name I've forgotten (I need to get better at that!) - Thanks for taking part, for riding your bikes, and making everything just a little bit better!


Have you ever been to Kingston? I have to say that I love it here. It is such a perfectly beautiful city - just the right mix of history, population, and climate. Although they tell me winters are long and dreary.

The show here was incredible. I really didn't know what to expect, since I was showing on campus during the summer in a gallery with minimal access to the street (there was also a big construction project happening in the neighbourhood, so all the local streets were torn up). But participants showed up in droves nonetheless which made for a really busy week. If I had to guess I'd say I went through about thirty bikes altogether, doing things ranging from simple check-ups to complete cable and lever overhauls.

There are a lot of bikes in Kingston, and what I like about it is that it's a really casual biking city much like Victoria - I haven't seen a single fixed gear bike here :) people don't bike to be cool, they bike because it works, and in Kingston it works well.

I'm on my way out of here now. I'm going to Wolfe Island today for a music festival, and then on to New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine on my way to New Brunswick. It's going to be a very relaxed ride (1300km in 20 days) which will be a welcomed change of pace. I'm really planning on enjoying myself!

Monday, August 06, 2007

I Did It!!!

I made it! All the way from Minneapolis to Kingston - 1700km - in just 12 days! I arrived in town around 8pm today, tired but happy. Nothing a good sleep and a few days rest can't take care of.

I enjoyed the last blog entry, so I'm gonna give you the play by play from this past week as well. I think these two posts will really communicate what life is like on the road when I'm riding under a tight schedule. Here we go...

July 31
Woke up early, and a little hung over. The hostel had a nice little bar in the basement where I sat and sorted through my photos while drinking cheap ($2.50) pints all night. I went and took care of my errands (laundry, banking, etc.) while I left my bike at a local shop. My headset had been making an annoying clunking noise for a while which I wanted a professional to look at. Turns out it was nothing serious, but it took them til 4:30 to deal with it. So I didn't actually get out of town until about 6pm. Arrrgh! Behind schedule again! Rode until the sun went down, but couldn't make it past Bruce Mines, a full 20km from where I had wanted to stop.

August 1
Had a really good night of sleep and got up super early - maybe around 7am? I got on the road and really pushed myself all day long to catch up. By night I had made it as far as Nairn Centre, 191km. Nairn Centre is the first town since the Rockies where they have those bear-proof garbage cans actually in the town - not a good sign. I looked around for a place to camp, and the most inviting spot seemed to be a park smack dab in the middle of town. But just to be sure I dropped in on barbecue that some people were having nearby. They told me there was a "perfect" campsite just north of town on the river. I went to check it out, and I have to admit, it was beautiful. But after an exhausting day I just didn't have the energy to bushwack it that night. I hopped on my bike and headed back to the park. Unfortunately I knew I was gonna have to pass by those people again, and probably endure a good dose of ribbing about being afraid of bears. Sure enough they waved me over and the first thing they said was "See any bears down there?" But to their credit they didn't laugh at me - they just nodded their heads. Then one guy says: "I don't blame you. You shoulda seen the size of the one that was here on my lawn last week - and in the middle of the day, too!" So that night, despite the fact I was sleeping in a public park in the middle of a town of 400 people, I hung my food from a tree on the edge of town. I must've been tired, cause I slept like a log.

August 2
Got up early again and rode through Sudbury and on to North Bay. Not much to report here but that the riding was infuriating on account of the terrible road conditions and the hideous amounts of traffic. Would it hurt to have any sort of shoulder whatsoever on the road? You're gonna laugh here, but North Bay kinda reminds me of California. Lake Nipissing could pass for the Pacific where all the beach houses have yards that run right down to the water, and the carnivalesque California atmosphere is provided by, well, a carnival that runs along the shoreline about 100 metres back from the beach. I found a sheltered, secluded spot right on the beach to pitch my tent and bunkered down for the night. By midnight a serious storm had blown in and knocked out power to most of the city. But the brunt of it passed just a kilometre or two north of me, so I was out of harm's way for the most part.

August 3
Having slept only intermittently because of the thunder the previous night, I got off to a slow start. I didn't leave town til about 11am. There's just some invisible force in cities that sucks me in and keeps me there - on second thought, it might just be the bacon. The road conditions continued to be miserable, however I forced myself to do 170km to Deep River. But I think things started to shift in my favour when I stopped for the night. I was thinking of camping in some cover near the tennis courts when an older gentleman came and asked if I was looking for a place to camp for the night. He introduced himself as Alex, the commodore of the yacht club, and told me he had just the place for me. A few minutes earlier he had offered the yacht club lawn to another cyclist, and said I could share the space with him. Alex introduced me to Reuben, a guy from New Zealand who is riding from Victoria to St. John's, much of the way off-road, and gave us access to bathrooms, a shower, and perfect little patch of grass next to the Ottawa River. I even got a beer out of the deal since there was a function happening there that night. Reuben and I stayed up chatting for a while until the mosquitoes drove us into our respective tents. We determined that our trails overlapped long enough to ride together most of the next day.

August 4
Most of my riding has been a very solitary exercise, so I was happy to have Reuben for company most of the day. He was pleasant conversation, and I think we have a really similar philosophy on our activities. We rode on some quiet country roads - yes, there are alternatives to the highways once you get out of the north - and stopped for at least two breakfasts and lunch by about 1pm. Reuben sets a pretty good pace for a guy on a mountain bike, so we made great time. But he was heading to Ottawa, and I to Kingston so before the day was over we had to split up. Too bad, but there is a slight chance we may meet up again in Newfoundland. I rode on to Renfrew and Calabogie where I found a sweet camp site in an overgrown baseball field. Overall, one of the most pleasant days of the whole summer.

August 5
70km to Harper Village where, in 2001, I did an apprenticeship with a salt-glaze potter named Jackie. I pulled into the driveway around 2pm and found him and his wife Joanie out in the garden. I've wanted to visit them for a long time, but haven't been anywhere close to nearby. We hung out for most of the day, picked some veggies, cooked supper and cleaned up, and watched a movie. I was thankful for the shower and the nice soft bed to sleep in. They visited Newfoundland last summer and brought back lots of stories to tell, so we each had our travel diaries out. A great, relaxing evening, to say the least.

August 6
I got up early the next morning and joined Jackie in the studio, just for old times sake. All my bowls turned out terrible, but Jackie assured me that he'd be able to salvage some of them. He is always so positive. He does a huge fundraiser every year called Empty Bowls where he makes hundreds or thousands of bowls and sells them to support local charities. It's a really big event, and still growing. I didn't get to contribute much this time around - as quick as I arrived I had to leave again to plunge the final 85km into Kingston. I got on the road around 1pm and rode towards Westport. I stopped at a pub for lunch and a pint, where I lucked into an impromptu music show. Some dude just showed up at the bar with his guitar, played about three Johnny Cash songs, then quietly put his guitar away to enjoy a pint himself. It was really cool - the pub was just about full, and everyone really got into it. Best Monday afternoon show ever! I finally got into Kingston at about 8pm, found the house where I'm staying and got cleaned up. My show begins 11 hours from now...gotta get some sleep!

Monday, July 30, 2007


It has been a while since I've done a blog entry. That's because I'm in the middle of the most arduous leg of the journey - Minneapolis to Kingston, 1700km, in 12 days. I have had no time for anything but pedaling, sleeping, and an occasional meal. Tonight I reached Sault Ste Marie, the halfway point, and re-entered Canada. I'm gonna try to fill you in on all the details of the past few days:

July 25
I was supposed to be ready to leave Minneapolis early in the morning. Of course I am slow as shit, so I didn't get out of town until 6pm. It wasn't really my fault, I suppose. As I was trying to clean up at the gallery people kept bringing bikes in. I couldn't say no, so I got stuck there way longer than I hoped. I had a bowl of pho on my way out of town and made it as far as Somerset (just across the Wisconsin border) before setting up camp. I rode until about 11pm, mostly out of panic about losing time, which was my first night ride of the whole trip.

July 26
The day started off fine - I got up early (OK - 10am is early for some people) and had a decent ride. It soon got hot - really hot. By 1pm it was about 36 celcius and 60% humidity. I stripped down to just my shorts, gloves, helmet and shoes, and enjoyed the strong crosswind coming from the north as best I could. Early in the afternoon, around 2pm, I ran into Shawn and Matt at a rest stop. They are biking from Anacortes, Washington to Boston. We rode together as far as Bloomer where they planned to stay the night.

It was only 4pm when we got there and I couldn't afford to stop so early so I carried on without them as far as Cornell. All the while a hideous thunderstorm was right on my tail (though not nearly as bad as the ones I encountered on the prairies) so when I stopped I got a motel for the night and rode out the weather. I only made 80 miles (sorry for the antiquated American units) but the lightning and wind prohibited me from making any more progress.

July 27
Knowing I was way behind where I should be I determined to ride all the way to Antigo - 110 miles!!! Needless to say, this day was mostly a blur to me. I rode from 10am until about 11pm into a slight headwind. I didn't stop long anywhere, but can attest to the amazing beauty of Wisconsin State Highway 64. There were forests thick and tall, hills and twists and turns, and corn as high as an elephant's eye. Shawn and Matt caught up with me at one point while I was stopping for water, and although I wanted to ride with them I felt I couldn't afford to wait while they watered and ate. They were taking a different route after Antigo anyways, so that's the last I'll see of them. It would be nice to have a biking buddy or two, but impossible at this point due to my schedule.
I arrived in Antigo well after dark in the midst of some sort of weird Americana coincidence. There were stock car races which were audible from about 10 miles outside of town, a baseball tournament which ended in a huge fireworks show (never been a fan of fireworks - blowing stuff up just isn't my cup of tea), and a powwow attended by Indians from all over the midwest. I found a place to camp and set my alarm for early.

July 28
Again I had to have a massive day of riding. Marinette, on the Wisconsin/Michigan border was 78 miles away, and I wanted to get past that. At that point anything less than 85 miles a day was losing ground. I got up earlier than I ever have (8am) and rode all day again. Part way through the day I began to notice a serious tenderness and burning sensation all over my back and shoulders. Apparently, riding shirtless two days before (for the first time all summer) was a bad idea because I've got a major sunburn. By sunset my back is so itchy I can't help but scratch it, but so sore that when I do scratch I only replace itch with pain. Argh! I've NEVER in my life had a sunburn anything like this. But the ride was excellent - no wind to speak of and cooler temperatures than the previous days. I did my longest single, uninterrupted ride of the tour on this day - 71km from Mountain to Marinette nonstop. But my determination faltered after I reached Lake Michigan.

I followed Highway 35 north along the lakeshore and stopped several times to dip my feet in the water and take some pictures. It astonishes me how this lake persists. What keeps all the water from spilling out? It's just sand keeping it all in!
I camped within earshot of the lake - I was able to hear waves lapping the shore all night long. But I didn't sleep well, because a large mammal kept me awake most of the night. I thought it was a bear going for my food, as I heard something thrashing around where I had hung my Lucky Charms and Twizzlers. But when the sun came up in morning my stash was still there. Must have been another deer masquerading as a black bear.

July 29
The path north and east of Marinette hugs the shore of Lake Michigan. For most of this day I was distracted and tempted by sandy beaches and beautiful vistas. Aside from that, not much of note happened until I reached Gulliver, my camp site for the night. I got the low down from some locals about an abandoned resort near tiny Lake Gulliver. I was able to camp within 10 metres of the shore on a perfect little piece of grass. The spot was so ideal that I found it hard to sleep - the reflection of the full moon on the water was astonishing, to say the least. I set my alarm for 7am.

July 30
I got up at 9:30, tired and sore, with 107 miles to go to the border. I had a little splash around in the lake before I left and discovered these frighteningly large bird tracks in the sand.

Again, most of this day was a blur. I rode through two big sections of Hiawatha National Forest where I was sure a bear was gonna jump out of the bushes and take me down (incidentally, I've taken to sleeping with either my chain whip or my pedal wrench by my side, in the event of unwanted visitors of any species) but nothing of note happened. I made really good time - must've had an imperceptible tailwind with me the whole time. Got to the Sault by 7pm, found my way across the International Bridge and got hooked up at the hostel in town. Have to stay in the city tonight because I've got a bunch of errands to run in the morning.
That's halfway to Kingston, and, I am proud to say, 500 miles in the past five days!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I'm out of Minneapolis this afternoon. The show was a huge success at Art Of This, and I had a fantastic time.

I want to give a massive thanks to everyone who made this a week to remember:

John, Kristin, JoAnn, Daniel, David, Pete and Jamie from Art Of This - thanks for inviting me and for all the hard work you put in on this end of things. You run a first-class establishment!

The Hub Bicycle Co-op and all your staff (I'm sorry I don't know your names!) - thanks for the sponsorship and for all the assistance with everything this week. I'd have been lost without you!

Derek - thanks for the yummy tamales and for bringing your toolbelt to the gallery that night. It was fun wrenching together!

Steven - thanks for entertaining me with your music. I'm still waiting to see the eagles fly off your shirt!

Lauren - thanks for taking me into your house, feeding me, staying up all night watching movies with me, showing me your awesome lighter collection, the tour of the uni, and sharing your cats. I look forward to the day we meet again!

Becky - thanks for being my first customer, and for the amazing smoothie!

Craig - thanks for the tunes, they will keep me company on my ride!

Jason - thanks for the stories. Good luck on your trip!

Mike, Kristin, Ethan, Larry, Travis, Randy, Erik, Tatiana, Hazel, and the many other people whose names I've rudely forgotten, or never got in the first place - thank-you so much for bringing in your bikes, taking part in the project, and keeping me company in the gallery!

And of course to everyone who I've forgotten (my apologies, this week has been a whirlwind to say the least) thanks so much!!!

Keep riding those bikes!

Monday, July 23, 2007


Minneapolis has been non-stop fun and art. I can barely believe that I have to leave tomorrow.

I arrived in town Thursday afternoon and got to the gallery a little early. My lucky day - there was a bar next door. As I was finishing my pint John, one of the gallery people, arrived to meet me. We got the space set up and some other people showed up. I spent most of the evening preparing the gallery, since I wouldn't meet the woman that I was staying with until 10:30pm.

So I went to meet her, and it turns out that we have a crazy random connection. I met Lauren through and we new absolutely nothing about each other except that I was staying on her couch while in town. But it turns out that she's a grad student in the ceramics program at U of Minnesota. We have many mutual friends and acquaintances from our respective times at NSCAD, Bowling Green, Archie Bray, and U of Nebraska. So we played the name game and talked shop for a couple hours. Turns out Lauren has Pete Voulkos's last lighter, the one he had with him when he passed away while teaching a workshop at Bowling Green. The bottom of it is all scratched up from opening beer bottles.

Friday the show opened, and all my apprehensions disappeared as people showed up in droves with their hideously deformed bikes. Well, I was pretty busy, but found time to accompany Lauren and her friend Steven to a rock show downtown later in the evening.

Saturday was more of the same, but we had the opening in the evening. It was pretty mellow, and we had a good time in the brand new Art Of This lounge, telling stories, talking art and debating politics. A few of us stayed until about 2am. Good times, good times.

Sunday I went for breakfast with Lauren and some other grad students and then I got my tour of U of M. They have a really amazing facility, like every American school I've ever seen. Sigh. I made it back to the gallery a few minutes late but had about a dozen bikes waiting there for me. I had to make a few trips to The Hub, which is the local bike co-op. It's a really awesome place, and they graciously sponsored me and my project while I'm here in town. Later on Lauren and I went to see Steven's band play at a bar just across the river in St. Paul, and then came back over to Minneapolis to go to John's 30th birthday party. Krystal had made some really awesome cake with basil and some other stuff that I can't even remember. But it was awesome.

This morning when I arrived at the gallery there were actually people sitting on the sidewalk waiting for me to get there. Sheeesh! I had to cut off new jobs early in the afternoon, as I know I'll never get through them all tomorrow. Fortunately, a guy named Derek showed up with some tamales for me, and when he saw how backed up i was offered to come and wrench with me for a bit later tomorrow afternoon.

Alright, I know that's a lot, but a lot has happened. Everything here is great and Minneapolis is a really impressive city. I'll have to make it back here some day soon, and next time I'll have to make sure I do it at a slower pace.

Almost There

OK - I know i've been neglecting my blogging duties lately, but it's been REALLY busy. I've been having a great time since I left Staples. I had one particularly fun day of riding - from Little Falls to Cloquet Island. I ran into some other cyclists, Roy, Michelle, and Jerry, who are riding from Oregon to Massachusetts. We stopped and had lunch together at the local pub in Royalton, where, as we ate, two more coast-to-coast cyclists happened by. We enjoyed our meal while we traded stories and strategies, and an hour later we all headed our separate ways again.

Later that afternoon I found a quiet road that followed the Mississippi really closely for the rest of the way into Minneapolis. As the sun was setting I looked for a place to camp near the river - the romantic in me had wanted to camp near the river ever since I passed into Minnesota. I found a park, Cloquet Island Park, where there wasn't much traffic and decided to camp there. I left my bike by the road and scouted around for a spot where I'd be out of sight and comfortable. One place stood out - the island itself. The river was very low at that point, so I waded in and ferried all my gear across. It was perfect - I had it all to myself the whole night. I was not just camping near the Mississipi, but actually in the Mississippi!

Next morning I packed up, got back on the road and made it into Art Of This by 2pm.