WanderlustBy Sam Lepore

Subject: Finishers Wander 16 - Baudette, Minnesota
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2004 19:02:33 -0700

    Arrgh! Enough with the adversity already!
    Settling into the warmth of my motel room in Michigan, I thought I had circumvented the storm, or at least circumcised it. :) Unfortunately the weather channel had another idea. Marquette would start the morning with showers, turing to snow by noon. Unless I wanted to ride at night (not a good idea with temps in the low 20's and many deer seeking a front fender) I had a small window of opportunity between sunrise and snowfall. So, up at 6 am, temp at 34 degrees, don all gear again, and go for the gold - that is, the sun at the other end of the clouds 400 miles away.
    About 85 miles of moderate showers and pounding gusts of wind later, the rain began moving slower as it fell. I started seeing the drops in the air ... wait, those aren't drops, they are flakes. Big, huge, silver dollar sized flakes that splat when they hit. It surprised me to see on the GPS I had been climbing and was now at over 1600 feet elevation. This band of snow was predicted to stay on Da Yoo Pee for the next three or more days. The window of opportunity was swinging shut, but I had leveraged the time fulcrum correctly, and less than 20 miles later the flake size and density diminished as the dark gray clouds gave way, but the temperature was still only around 36.
    Sure do get some strange looks when you walk into a convenience store wearing motorcycle gear in a snowstorm. Always do get the question about cold. But one wild eyed small boy asked about the electric cord hanging out of the pocket of my orange Toggs. In the most metallic voice I could muster I said "I am robot. Must plug in. Drink electricity." He shrieked. Everyone else laughed.
    The snow turned back to showers. This was not a good time to find out the waterproof boots aren't. A quick check showed everything was still covered and sealed but the left foot definitely felt wet. Either there is a weakness in the folded flex point in front of the ankle, or my feet were sweating so much that moisture was collecting. At least with the electric socks it was a warm wet. By the time I got to look later, there was nothing to be seen. As I do not plan to ride in any more rain, I will have to set up a test when I get home. Prolonged exposure to a garden hose may tell the truth.
    As promised the clouds broke and the sun appeared shortly before Grand Rapids. Sun, oh glorious sun! How nice it is after so long without. Beyond the weather front the temperatures were in the 50s. What was "a bit chilly" when I left California now felt like the warm hug of a long lost friend. I stopped at Squaw Lake for a rest and some rays. A local Minnesoooootan approached and complimented my fine loooooking scooooter. When he saw the miiiiiiilage, he said youuuuuuu suuuure like to riiiiide, but youuuuuuu are a braaaaave oooone to be this far noooorth sooooo earrrrrly! An old homily came to mind: never ascribe to malfeasance what can be explained by mere stupidity. Same goes for brave. Then he asked which way ya headed? North. He wouldn't understand this adversity thing.
    Two days of hard riding were taking their toll. Baudette looked like a good stop. But the first motel had a sign: office closed until 5:30. It was 3:30. I didn't feel like waiting. At least it didn't say 15 min. And just down the road is the Walleye Inn. Ok, I've felt like a fish in the rain for a couple days. If that's not inviting, what is ...

The Baudette welcome sign says
Walleye Capital of the World

Walleyes have their own government?

461 miles
Marquette MI28 US2 MN46 MN1 MN72 MN11 Walleye Inn
Sam Lepore, San Francisco

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