Monday, 7 September 2009

Day 2: Madison, WI – Fergus Falls, MN

Oh what a lovely day to go upon pilgrimages, as Geoffrey Chaucer might have said, only spelled differently. Roof down all day, so I now have a stiff neck and a sunburned ear’ole. A long drag up a rather non-scenic stretch of Interstate to St. Paul, MN and the former residence of Mr Pirsig. The address can readily be determined by searching teh Intarwebs, and I’m not entirely comfortable with taking photographs of someone else’s house without their permission, so you’ll have to take my word for it that it exists. Then across the Mighty Mississippi – which isn’t all that mighty this far upstream – into Minneapolis and thence to the former Sutherland residence.  The address of this one is in the book, so you can look it up yourself.

Common consensus suggests that the riders took MN-55 north-west from the Twin Cities. So that’s what I did too. This bit of the US lacks forests, mountains, deserts and so forth, but it’s got lakes of all shapes and sizes, most of which you can’t see because there’s a tree in the way. It has been suggested that the picnic area mentioned on page 16 (of the Vintage 25th Anniversary edition) is on the left of route 55 – it certainly has the cast-iron pump. A few miles further on is the infamous missed signpost (p30) - it's only as big as a very small barn door This was followed shortly by my own navigational error when trying to get through Fergus Falls. In the end I had to cheat and use a mile of I-94. As, I just discovered, did Mark Richardson.  
Because tomorrow is Labor Day, I decided to stop here in Fergus Falls to be sure of finding a room, food and an open “gas” station prior to setting out into the wilds of the Dakotas tomorrow.

Thought for the day: on a cycle you don’t notice sunburn until you stop and then it’s too late. Likewise in a convertible.

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