My Route

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Day 44: Tuesday, 14th August. Destination: Prairie View Lodge, Pekin, North Dakota

Am I in the middle of nowhere yet? Skirting the T-storms and (so far) avoiding the worst of the headwinds - even getting some nice winds from the SE pushing me along - I'm learning the art of measuring distance when all around you is flat, and the road is straight as far as the eye can see. Cars between a half-mile and a mile away just seem to hover in space, not getting any larger or smaller as they get closer or further away. Then suddenly they whiz past or vanish into the distance. Very weird. The mind has a way of wandering when there's not much visual stimulation to latch on to. I'll start thinking about something, then something else (forgetting the previous thing), and at the end of the day have no memory of thinking about anything at all. It's a bit like scribbling in a notebook then, every so often, ripping the page out and starting a fresh one. My route is littered with discarded thoughts. All of them genius, of course! Or, if not, there's no way of telling.

Today, Page to Pekin via Colgate, Hope, Coopstown and Binford. Light NE wind with some rain in the afternoon, but OK for cycling. Sioux country, of old. Eggs in Page, pancakes in Hope, internet & library in Cooperstown were I found a place that served great veg soup with dumplings for lunch. Pekin, another town with a crossroads and a railway, and a large grain elevator looming over the town. A few trees hid the place from view, but amongst them a small square, a pub and a hunter’s lodge, where I was staying. The place was empty so I had a suite all to myself, including kitchen and dining/living room. Quite cosy, in a plaid and vinyl kind of way.

Dined out at the Peek-In Pub (get it?!). On the menu: 8 kinds of frozen pizza, all of them meat. The place was full of loud ladies who could have out-laughed Roseanne Barr at her lairiest. Not quite in the mood, so headed back to the lodge for an early night with the ‘local on the eights’. And what does that mean? Simply, local weather forecast every 10 minutes on the '8's - i.e. 8, 18, 28 etc after the hour. Weather channel turns to teletext with 70s jazz-lite soundtrack as the local weather conditions (including wind direction and speed; things I’m starting to take an interest in) scroll down the screen. Hypnotic, and – as I’ve discovered – generally pretty accurate.