Here We Go

Today is the official start of our tour. We are scheduled for an orientation meeting tonight, Jim and I decided to take a gravel grinder warm-up ride around several lakes. The weather forecast was for rain staying at 10:00 and continuing all day. We headed out at 8:00 with grey skies and 64 degrees, very nice for riding. The scenery and smells are very much like northern Minnesota. The lakes could be Boundary Waters. We stopped at Dollar Lake and Jim spotted some Huckleberries, they’re a local blueberry-like delicacy, and they’re ripening! We took a chance and ate a few. The weather forecast turned out to be wrong, it only rained briefly around ,11:00 while I helped The Kid from Austin, Scott, put up his brand new version of my tent.  Then we helped him attach his brand new handlebar bag. It takes a village.

We jumped on the trail system back to the Retreat. The Fargo is looking and feeling super.

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Throughout the day, all of the other riders filtered in and we started with our introductions and backgrounds. Turns out, I’m not the oldest rider. One older, but several geezers in their 50’s and 60’s. The youngest may be Scott who is probably early 40’s. Two of the guys had this ride given to them as a gift from their wives… just saying. One guy won the trip from a drawing the ACA had of tour participants from last year.

The bad news for the Adventure is that one of our team,  Chris, whom I’ve had considerable pre-ride communication, stopped to stretch his bike legs in Bozeman on his drive here, swerved to avoid a car, fell and broke his wrist. He’s on his way home to his wife in Kansas City with his tail between his legs.

We had our orientation meeting with our leader, Nikkel, who seems great and has an unending smile. He brought pizza for us to eat while he gave us the ACA doctrine and maps.

This is the pizza box they use in Montana. Are you sensing a trend?

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We jump in the van at 8:30 tomorrow for a six hour ride to Banff. Zzzz. I’m hoping I can sleep but expect there will be a lot of socializing. Calling shotgun seems like a good strategy.

I will have very limited connectivity in Canada after we leave Banff so don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear from me for a couple days.

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