Day 44: Bismark, North Dakota to Hazelton, North Dakota

With nothing to see for miles and miles, the mind wanders.

“Housekeeping!” Bang! Bang! Bang! “Housekeeping!!

My dreamy state was very confused. Why would I be hearing people yelling “Housekeeping,” in my tent? Then, gradually my mind kicked into gear and I realized I was in a bed, in a motel. After that 105-mile ride yesterday, I was dead to the world. It was 09:00 AM and housekeeping was already going around knocking on doors. Most places don’t do that until ten, but I suppose they were busy. Add to that the timezone change (my body thought it was 08:00 AM) and it all came together.

I packed up and headed out the door. It was cold outside, very cold. I put on all my long sleeve gear and heavy gloves that Jane had just shipped to me. It was time for breakfast and I couldn’t face another Egg/ham/bacon/home fries/gravy breakfast.

Riding around the neighborhood I spotted a bagel shop, a chain that we have near where we live. They shall go un-named but they have the same name as the guy who came up with the theory of Relativity, and it doesn’t take an Einstein to figure that one out. I love their poppy seed bagels. I tied up the bike and rushed in.

The server was cheery and asked me what I would like. I ordered a poppy seed bagel, toasted with cream cheese. The I ordered a cup of hot tea, preferably a black tea, such as English Breakfast. (if you’ve been following along on this blog, you already knew this). Then came that puzzled look that I have come to know so well on this ride. He said, “Wait a minute, I’ll check.” He scurried off and a few moments later returned and told me they don’t have that tea, but I should check out what they do have and pointed up to a menu board.

The choices were things such as Pomegranate, Mint something-or-other, Rose Hip (I’m guessing here) and a few others that don’t go with a bagel at breakfast.

I was waiting for my server and his bubbly attitude to inform me that they have a new tea I should try. It would be named something like, “Proboscis surprise.” He would tell me, “The tea is made from dried, endangered species monkey gonads from Borneo. For every cup we sell, we have a tree planted in Borneo so the species has a place to survive.” Of course, I’m thinking, “Without their gonads, I don’t see them surviving anyway.”

This is what happens to your mind when you have copious amounts of time to think about nothing in particular as you ride across the open prairie.

Disappointed I couldn’t get a real tea, I ordered an orange juice and returned to my table, defeated. I peered out the store window and there directly across the street was the solution: Starbucks! Leaving my helmet, sunglasses, bagel and orange juice on the table, I made it appear I had gone to the restroom and disappeared out the door.

I scrambled across the street and marched past dozens of cars in the drive-thru lane and into Starbucks. It was busy outside, but not too bad inside. There was one couple in line and a woman behind them. This was going to be quick and easy.

The couple quickly moved to the pickup counter. The woman then ordered several things. I heard the server mention they didn’t have one item. The woman turned and called out, “Sarin, Sarin, come here.” A young boy of about four bounced over. Who calls their kid “Sarin?” I thought she was yelling about the Sarin poisonous gas, I was ready to run.

She looked down at Sarin and told him that they were out of cinnamon buns. Sarin responded by taking a yoga position on the floor and then going into a full-fledged tantrum. After a minute or two of this, I was convinced that all this could have been prevented if a few years before somebody had used a condom.

Finally, Sarin came back to earth and chose a blueberry muffin. Mom tells Sarin that he doesn’t like blueberries or muffins. Still, Sarin insists. Finally, after what seems like fifteen minutes or so, I might get my turn to order.

The server came over to ring up my order. I put a ten dollar bill on the counter since I didn’t have any change. She looked at it and rang up my bill, $7.46 for my cup of tea. My Pavlovian response was to go for the penny (see previous rants about pennies in Day 39). Then I actually looked at the amount and started to ask about the price. “Hey, that is an awful lot of money for…” and the server noticed her error. It was a modern cash register that shows the change, she had already seen the ten and entered the amount. I took my penny back.

While all of this is going on, there were more customers coming in the door. The line was now out the door and, I assumed, went all the way over to the bagel shop. I figured they must all be customers coming to get a tea to go with their bagels.

Finally! I have my hot tea and I stride back to the bagel shop, victorious. I smuggle the tea in, sit with my bagel and thoroughly enjoy my breakfast. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.

Things don’t happen like this in our routine lives because we are in comfortable surroundings. A trip like this allows me to stand back and see my world from another perspective, and riding along all day gives me an opportunity to think about such things and then share them with you. Sorry.

I only rode about 49 miles today (79 km), but that is because I slept in. The ride wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. I did have one dog chase me, it looked like Winston Churchill’s head stuck on a chihuahua body. It came out of a yard across the highway, charged after me for at least a quarter mile and finally gave up. I couldn’t believe that little bugger could run as fast as I was going for such a distance.

I didn’t see Coner or Aidan from yesterday’s ride, I can only assume that have gone on, way ahead of me.

The park at Hazelton, ND. Hot showers and soft grass.

Arriving at the Hazelton, ND campground and set up camp. I went to the Road Hawg Grill and had yet another burger. Out here on the road, it can be a challenge to find anything but burgers. I’ll be glad to get back to real food.


Author: Dennis Blanchard

Dennis Blanchard was born in Bristol, Connecticut. He and his wife Jane moved to New Hampshire in 1980 where he has climbed thirty 4000-foot mountains, biked the trails and enjoyed the wilderness. Never living very far from the Appalachian Trail, Dennis was always aware of the seductive siren’s call to hike it. Dennis is an electronics engineer who has freelanced for amateur radio, technical and motorcycle adventure magazines. He now lives in Sarasota, Florida.

1 thought on “Day 44: Bismark, North Dakota to Hazelton, North Dakota”

  1. you should have gone to bagels r us.
    not really, i made that up.
    on the tea stump=
    tazo have a great tea named wild sweet orange
    that was a funny story about sarin
    i think there was a weird wizard named sauron in
    lord of the rings .

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