Monday, August 26, 2013

Minnesota.. to Rochester

So, another week.. time for another blog post.. I'd best get this done quickly, as I need to get to sleep ASAP.

On Monday, after taking forever to finally get ready, Duane Forde, my host, gave me a 35 mile ride down the road to get me started, after which I rode another 18 miles. 
A descriptive sign
So far I've gotten about 460 miles cut off the distance of my trip from rides from people, while the time allotment remains constant. I know, it seems heretical to some for me to say that I'm riding across the US, and yet accept rides from people, in a couple cases longer than I could go in a day or two. Well, if someone else wants to ride across the US, and ride every single mile, good for them. That just doesn't seem relevant to me. And at any rate, I'll end up crossing this country twice before the trip is over (West-East, North-South), so who's complaining about mileage?

I must say, the ability to fold up my bike and stick it in the trunk of someone's car or something certainly has been a plus..
Corn.
So people out here are definitely nice.. One day I had camped in the park for the night, and in the morning as I was about to eat breakfast, I got into a conversation with a grandpa there with his grandson, who had lived his whole live within half an hour of the town. He spent longer in college than I did, but never got a degree either (becoming a heavy equipment operator), and went on telling me about how I could make a decent wage even without college, through various vocations, and also about how good it was that I was getting to see the country, and do something different. 

For the most part, nothing extremely noteworthy happened this week, but a few things stand out. Tuesday, the heat and humidity were up enough that suddenly allergies were running wild. It was a downright miserable day for me, as my nose was running faster than I could peddle. I ended up spending a couple hours in a city park, using up all the tissue I had with me. A bunch of young kids came by towards the end, fascinated by my bike.. Apparently school out here started up this last week..
Not exactly sure where the town is, that this town hall belongs to...
That evening was one of few times that I was really hoping for a shower. Alas, showers are not always something easy to come by in the middle of nowhere, and I couldn't bear to ask anyone directly. Ah, well, I've survived alright for the most part thus far with only a shower a week.. 

I made it to a small town of Darfur, with around 100 residents, two churches, two cemeteries, a bank, a store, and... nothing opened at 7:30 in the afternoon. Well, I saw a group of people out in front of their garage, so stopped in and asked for water, as I was running low. Instead of just giving me water, I was sent to the shower, then given a meal, and finally a place to sleep in their RV/ice fishing house. They'd have let me sleep in the house, but both were leaving before I'd even be up in the morning.
The lady on the right, Diane Reed, was the one who fed me and gave me a place to sleep.
Wednesday I had the first tail wind in a month, meaning I was finally able to reverse the trend of a steadily dropping average speed, cruise at 18 miles an hour for an extended time and hit 30 miles per hour for the first time in a while, and tie for the second longest ride of the month so far. It was a little warm and humid, but I had to take advantage of the tail wind as much as I could. 
I've been trying to figure out significant number sequences to take pictures of when they come around. By the way, this is 1333.33 miles. Right now I've ridden over 1400.
One thing I find interesting is how hard it can be to find water at city parks in some towns. Two nights in a row I virtually or almost slept under the shadow of the city water tower, and yet had to go to the nearest gas station for water. 
Some river.
By the way, Claremont, Minnesota, is giving away housing development lots to qualifying buyers, in case you were looking for somewhere... it's about half an hour from Rochester.

While I was in Claremont, Thursday night, I was awoken at 4 am by rain. Heavy rain. And thunder. I wasn't in my sleeping bag - too warm. I couldn't get back to sleep, so I just laid there, as close to sleeping as I could get. A puddle formed in a dip in my bivy, between my legs. Humidity was high inside as well. 
The only dry spot in my shelter..
My gear all got wetter than I realized. The cardboard case for my mandolin, though under cover, still got damp enough to now have a few more bulges and wrinkles than when I started.. My clothes, that I wasn't wearing, became completely soaked, and, as I discovered today, my spare pair of shoes developed a layer of mold. Little damage was done though.. In the future I'll be better prepared..

On Friday I rode 30 miles into Rochester, in under 4 hours - a bit of an accomplishment, really, especially for the end of the week. I was hoping to pick up a package at the Post Office, but, after checking both main post offices, determined that it must not have arrived yet. My next stop was at the Olive Garden. Having otherwise made it a week on $20, I thought I could splurge a little and spend $7 on unlimited bread and soup (and nothing else). I purposefully ate less that morning so I'd be more hungry.

My next stop was at Salvation Army, looking for colder weather pants - something I decided won't be needed for a while yet.. I failed to find any, but I met some interesting guys outside when I came out. As with most people I've met, they found my trip fascinating, and warned me to be careful of less safe people.

My last stop was at the Rochester Adventist Church. There was a Friday evening program, so I went there, in hopes of being invited to someone's house for the night/weekend. It worked. I've spent the last couple days with Sheldon Seemann, at 23 one of the youngest guys I've had prolonged interactions with, and truly an interesting person - a tall, gentle, easy going nurse, living in his own house, who drives a purple mini-van, uses a simple flip phone, has a land line home phone, and owns no hand held personal electronics.
The evening talk was by Justin McNeilus, former president of GYC, on leadership. 
More food than I've seen in one place for a while..
The Rochester Adventist Church was the largest church I've been in since leaving Walla Walla. After potluck, I went out and helped distribute copies of "The Great Controversy" to people in a few neighborhoods - a project done by Sheldon, his friend Eric, and whoever else happens to join them.
An experiment showing that, with a little fire, an egg (boiled, peeled) can be put into a jar with a mouth smaller than the egg.
The idea was that one candle would be lit, then everyone would light the candle next to them around the circle. With the wind, the process was slightly complicated.
Sheldon
I had some definitely worthwhile conversations with several people over the weekend, but really that's all the more I can say, which leaves me at the end of the post for this week.
Someone's dog, who simply would not sit still long enough to let me take a better picture.
Until next time. :)
A fire

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Great Midwest

This (last) week started in Pierre, South Dakota. By the way, since entering South Dakota, I've only once heard the disyllabic ("pe-AIR") pronunciation of the capital, and that was from the newspaper reporter, providing an example of something unexpected I could have learned (that no one says it that way out here..)

Speaking of newspaper... the lady who took me on the tour of the capital building, and got me up to the governors mansion in Pierre set up an interview with an editor of the Capital Journal. Click This Link if you want to see the article (and haven't already).

Just as I was about to head out from the home of my hosts for the weekend, Dr. Johnson heard that my last name was Hendrickson, so he asked if I was related to Earl Hendrickson. I said that he is my grandpa's brother, and learned that they went to dentist school together.
I'd never seen this many cows before in a single pasture, that also was not over grazed.
As it turned out, at the same time I was in Pierre, another young man was taking a stand up paddle board down the Missouri river, and got into the same newspaper. We tried to meet up, but he was already where the road and river parted ways.. It's nice being able to talk to someone who's doing something so different from what you are, yet facing the same sort of physical, mental, and environmental factors you are (exhaustion, being alone, wind..). You can read his article  Here.
Round bales are the trademark of the midwest it seems.. The hill on the far left side of the image is a mile of steep riding from bottom to top.
Everyone seems amazed at how little rain I've encountered. Well, on Monday I finally got rained on. I'd stopped for lunch, and a farmer bailing the grass alongside the road let me climb up into the cab of his tractor. When it let up, I headed on down the road 'till he caught up in his pickup and gave me a ride into the next town, as there was more rain on the horizon. (And around here they might get a couple inches in a day when it decides to rain).
Often cows ignore me, sometimes they run along side the fence, occasionally they stare.
That night I cooked up a big meal, but hadn't eaten everything when I felt I could not fit another bite. I calculated that I had attempted to eat close to 3500 calories in a single evening! (Besides the two bowls of cereal for breakfast, and 3 sandwiches for lunch that day.) I'd eaten most of it, but saved the rest for morning.

I stopped by the store in Fort Thompson, a town of 1300 people on the Crow Creek Reservation, and a couple young boys came up to me and asked if I'd ridden my bike around the world. On telling them that I had been traveling over a month, had covered close to 1500 miles, and was from Oregon, they asked, "is that far?"
Obviously this puppy belonged to someone, as he was covered in flea spray, but he seemed hungry and forlorn, so I shared some of my food - inspiring a couple other people to do the same.
On Wednesday, the hills finally flattened out, and corn fields, pastures, and a constant 1 mile grid became the new norm. Houses this way become more frequent, and while there's definitely more people closer together than on the western side of South Dakota, or Wyoming, or really most any rural place I've been, towns are still small, with a "large" town being anything over a couple thousand, and small going all the way to 21 people. On the roads, people are very polite when passing. Honestly, the Midwest is my favorite place in the US so far.. in spite of the fact that there's nothing to see..
One of the last major hills.
As I've been cooking more lately, I finally had to get a refuel for my stove. It's amazing how little fuel I actually use. It cost $0.44 to fill up my bottle with premium unleaded, and this will probably last me a couple weeks at least.

More so than other places I've been, it seems, people out here seem to have difficulty understanding why a person would want to travel across the country.. and by bike no less.. Yet I've not had the slightest indication of anyone disapproving of my doing so. (Something I can't say for other regions I've been through...).
Lots of corn fields out here.. and like this picture, lots of ag test lots. 

On Thursday evening I stopped in at Pizza Ranch, a midwestern Pizza/buffet chain restaurant. It was getting late, as is typical, and I got in just before the buffet bar closed. Because I only had time for one pass, I loaded up a plate high with pizza and bread sticks, and another with salad, and sat in a corner where I could plug in my laptop - as every battery I had, phone included, were dead.
Outside they advertised 24 flavors of soft serve ice cream, inside they had 48 flavors listed. I had blackberry.
By the time I was done eating, it had become dark outside, and I didn't have somewhere to sleep. Looking at the map I found a likely spot about a mile from where I was, so I set off for the cemetery.
How many people do you need to have a sign? Roswell, South Dakota - 21 people.
The moon was out, not full, but between the fog and the trees, it wasn't very bright. As I laid in bed, cold and damp, I heard an owl screeching, in the trees, and footsteps coming up behind me, but I saw no one.. I had a fitful night, afraid that any moment I would be attacked by who knows wha...

..actually.. I slept quite soundly in the cemetery, much better than I had in other places. It was foggy, but the only noise was from the light traffic on the road, and from all the crickets that don't care where they are, they still make the same noise. And my sleeping bag is still too warm for this weather..

Friday morning it was particularly cold. At noon the temperature was 58 degrees, humidity was close to 100%, and I had a 10 mile head wind. Just a little on the cold side.. a few locals commented on the fact..
Cold and foggy
Having failed to make contact with anyone in Pipestone (the pastor, as it turns out, is with his family in Venezuela at the moment), I ended up camping on the church lawn that night, after eating raspberry pancakes.

I was surprised at church, by the fact that, here in the Midwest, a majority of the church members are Filipino. Also, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that, for almost the first time since my trip started, there were guys almost my age! Well, I think they were all in high school. The kids, all cousins apparently, invited me to eat at their table, and included me well in their conversation. They were surprised at how light skinned I am in the areas that have not gotten tanned yet.

Well, the Midwest, particularly Minnesota, is not actually known to have a high South Pacific ethnic population, but rather a lot of Scandinavians. My grandfather, of Norwegian decent, was born a ways north of where I am now. At any rate, when it came time for everyone to leave church, I was invited to the home of the head elder and his wife, who's grandfather was a Henrickson. Also Norwegian, but from a different area of Norway. She showed me a block of very dry cheese over 100 years old that some immigrants brought from Norway, as well as a wooden cup and bowl over 300 years old, and other memorabilia.

Sunday was taken up by lack of motivation, and also a seam repair and patching job, which lead to everything I have being unpacked, and my panniers being partially disassembled, and then washed, for probably the last time before they are honorably discharged from service, and put into permanent retirement. I doubt they could survive many more cycles in the wash..
Everything except my repair project, spread out on the bedroom floor..
Well, my habit of leaving places slowly is definitely evident this weekend. I saved up everything to do till "just before" leaving.. Pipestone has been nice to me. I'll have to try to come back again some time, to visit all the nice church members here. While we all (me and them) joke about how we'll be glad to get rid of each other, I honestly don't think anyone is tired of anyone..

Everywhere I go, every group of people I interact with seems to think they are the craziest people I'll ever meet, and that I must just be waiting to leave and return to normalcy. What, do they think I'm traveling across the US, voluntarily going places where people congregate, so I can meet the most boring people in the world?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bikers vs. Cyclists, and Pierre, SD

There are so many stories to tell, and no way I can tell them all, in the detail I'd want to..

Really, there are just four stories:  1) bikers vs. cyclists - my experiences as the later interacting and cohabiting with the former,  2) my stay in Union Center (a short story, relatively),  3) my visit to the White Owl Post Office, and  4) Pierre, the capital (the people and the place). Any of them could make for a 1000 word post if I were to write freely, but I don't have enough time to write it all, and most of you wouldn't have the time to read it.

Oh, I've ridden over 1000 miles as of Friday.
The rainbow after a big hail storm, which I avoided by stepping inside a gun shop.
Well, I've been fighting a head wind for the last couple weeks, and it looks like I've got another couple weeks of the same. Oh, and South Dakota is Not Flat!! In fact, the hills here rival any hills I've had to ride over to date as far as steepness and frequency (I'm in the exact center of the state as I write this). The only difference is that roads here go over the top of hills instead of between them, and the next hill comes up to the same altitude as the last one (vs. progressively climbing, or progressively losing altitude). Combining a head wind (no real coasting down hills) with the exhaustion that comes from insufficient sleep and, well, poor conditioning beforehand, it can be slightly demoralizing at times.
A pit into which, in ages past, Bison were chased to their impending death, for the sustenance of the tribes in this region.
As it turns out, I was headed straight to Sturgis, South Dakota, one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world (as if large motorcycle rallies existed outside the US). This rally brings in somewhere around half a million people, to a town of 7,000, effectively doubling the population of the state around the first full week of August.

Yup, I went right through the middle of it.
The best picture I got of motorcycles. I was too busy getting through Sturgis to take any pictures.
Yes, I went right through the middle of town, at sundown, at the peak of traffic flow...

In spite of the fact that they have almost the same name, there's a world of difference between bikers and cyclists - as I'm sure you already know. Speaking of names.. why is it that people who ride motorcycles are called bikers, not.. cyclers..?

Most of my interactions with bikers have been quite pleasant. For the most part, the vast majority of bikers (and people generally), seem to ignore me. About one or two per dozen headed the opposite direction waves as they pass. When they pass coming from behind, as with the rest of traffic, when possible they often move into the oncoming lane to give me room (I guess it makes sense.. they are so loud a little extra distance is appreciated).

When I have the opportunity of talking to bikers, I generally get reactions ranging from the highly enthusiastic "Man, that's **** Awesome!!", or "Good for you!", to the more reserved, "You're tougher than me..", or just some variation on just, "Wow.. I can't imagine". Not only am I traveling for 6 months solid (something very few people ever do), for nearly 6000 miles in one trip (something few bikers would even want to do - many hauled their motorcycles here with RV's *rolleyes*), I'm doing so on a bicycle (which has every discomfort of riding a motorcycle, magnified by 5, and most comforts of the same removed), alone (even most bikers are in groups of 2-5), and am barely out of high school (where the majority of people I've spoken to on motorcycles are old enough to be my parents at least).

Riding into Sturgis was one of the most unique experiences of my life. Traffic was so heavy I actually was able to move faster than most vehicles - going beside them. In Sturgis, Main Street is where all the motorcycles are parked, on both sides and in the middle, leaving about 5 feet on each side for motorcycle (only) traffic. I was riding beside the bikes, and a couple people stopped to take my picture. Then a security person told me bikes weren't allowed on Main...

On my second day out of Sturgis, I met up with a couple who had gone on a half our ride out of town, then decided to turn around. They were from West Virginia, and invited me to visit them when I get there.


There are no real towns between Sturgis and Pierre - a distance of nearly 180 miles, taking highways 34 and 14. However, there are houses everywhere, and communities here and there. It was in a little place called Union Center, which wasn't even on my map, that I stopped on Thursday evening. I saw a few places of business, a house or two, a young child on a bike, and what turned out to be her grandfather, a man named Gary - owner of the local feed store. He had three sons, a veterinarian, who lives and works in Sturgis 51 weeks out of the year, a wood worker, and a taxidermist, who have businesses on the same property. To make a long story much shorter, I ended up eating dinner with their family - son, daughter, two daughters-in-law, 5 grand kids, then sleeping in the Union Center Community Baptist Church, where I also got a shower. This was the first time someone had randomly given me a meal.
The church I slept in. It was quite a large building, really..
I mentioned White Owl above. In brief, I found a set of keys (as well as, at different times, a cell phone, and a credit card), along the road, and stopped in at the Post Office (which doubles as a store, art gallery, and residence), as they had a tag that said to drop them at any post office, and postage would be guaranteed. I ended up getting a history lesson on the region, and some brownies to send me on my way.

For some reason or another I decided I didn't want to be in the middle of nowhere when I stopped on Sabbath, so I ended up negotiating a ride the last few miles (ok, it would have taken me a day or two to ride it on my bike..) into Pierre. The switch from Mountain to Central time is right as you are entering Pierre (said "PEER", apparently), so I arrived in town at 9:00, and stayed with a couple who are sufficiently old enough to be my grandparents.
There was a car show in front of the Capital.

Me in front of the governor's mansion.
The World War II memorial.
After sleeping in a bit more than I'd intended, I got dressed and walked barefooted the block and a half to church. (I try to avoid wearing my shoes when I don't have to). After potluck, at which everyone was old enough to be my grandparent, and curious about my trip, I got a tour of the town, and the Capital building, by a church member who used to work there as a cleaning lady. Luz, an immigrant from Colombia also cleaned at the governors mansion (for somewhere around 30 years), and actually got married in the capital building - she said she was the only person to have done so.
Marble everywhere in the capital building.
The South Dakota state house of representatives.



Most of the floors were this hand laid tile.
This drinking fountain was almost too high for me to reach. I guess politicians area all tall people?
 Not a particularly eloquent piece, but I made the mistake of trying to finish this up first thing in the morning. I can't write in the morning.
A pike eating a bald eagle, in the Oahe Dam Visitor's Center.
So, abrupt ending.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Butte, Montana to Gillette, Wyoming

As I write this I'm in Gillette, Wyoming. By tomorrow, if all goes well, I will be in South Dakota. It's hard to believe that only a week ago I was in Butte, Montana, almost 500 miles away...

It's hard to believe that, as of yesterday, I'm a month into my trip. It's hard to believe that I've already ridden my bike 808 miles..

After the Montana Youth Conference, I stayed an extra day to do some sewing on my panniers, then got a 225 mile ride to Billings with Benjamin Waymire

Having a folding bike has been quite an asset on this trip so far. I've folded it now three times to put into one vehicle or another.

In Billings I recovered my bike, and was sent off by Benjamin and his father (who had brought my bike over the day before) to Harden, approximately 47 miles away, with a key to the fellowship hall of the SDA church there. I thought I could make it in the 7 hours of daylight I had with no problem, but with a little over an hour of sunlight left, I was only half way there. Suddenly, a pickup pulled up behind me, and.. surprise! Mr. Waymire was offering me a ride into town. He was going out to his son's place, and thought he'd take the road I was on to see how I was doing. Before he left me that night, we made a washer out of a quarter, as one of the hooks on my panniers had torn out.
A burned out cove on the way to Hardin
Tuesday I was busy catching up my blog, and didn't get going till mid afternoon, making only 18 miles. I stopped at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (seriously, they need to add a few words to their name), planing to stay only half an hour, but turning into about an hour and a half. But I got an invitation to New Jersey when I get there!
I never realized before just how spread out the battlefield is. This concentration is around Custer, who's marker is the one with black outlining. You can't tell without zooming in, but there are little grave markers all over the hill below.
On the back side of the ridge. More people died here. Off in the distance, towards the middle of the picture, there's another heavy concentration of graves (the soldiers were buried where they fell), and scattered sites here and there...
The Custer National Cemetery. Not sure the exact range of dates of people buried here, but it includes people from Indian wars, and I think into the early 1900's, but I could be wrong.
It was getting late, and not being able to find anywhere to sleep, and darkness falling fast, I finally "crashed" in the ditch next to the frontage road, next to the interstate, next to the (busy) railroad. There was a thunder storm going on, so all in all, I didn't sleep too wonderfully.
Taken with my phone. Not sure what the deal is, but this is the second time I've seen a load of these airplane fuselages.
Riding through the Crow reservation, a part of me felt at home, in a way.. Having lived on a reservation most of my life, I've gotten quite used to things such as drums, visual signs of poverty (GDP per capita is 1/6th that of the rest of the US), and native Americans everywhere. And it was beautiful as well.
I've never seen a combination horse trailer/flatbed before. The peaks far off in the distance (you can almost see them), at another point I was able to see what looked like snow patches. 
I stopped in Ranchester, Wyoming for the night. I stopped at a convenience store, and while I was there an older gentleman, who sounded like he was from somewhere further south, asked about my trip, told me to be wary of people, asked if I believed in God, and told me to be safe.

That night, again putting off finding a place to sleep till the last minute (I really hoped someone would just invite me to their house or something), I ended up sleeping behind a school building. As it turned out, there was a crew doing work on the roof, then some people came to play in the school yard. But, while I was seen by several people, most people didn't seem to know what to think about my presence.

Riding through Sheridan really wasn't bad. The road downtown was busy, but everyone gave me plenty of space. I felt much safer than I had in some towns smaller. At a left hand yield turn I had to make, I ended up shadowing a vehicle through the intersection. Sheridan's a place I'd visit again. One the way through I stopped at two places - at the first a local rancher came up and talked to me. Said he'd passed me twice on the road the day before. Inside was the same Pepsi driver who I'd talked to about routing that morning. At the next place I stopped, on the other side of town, the guy who'd spoken to me the night before was there, and again wished me luck.

If you zoom in, you can see that the field is full of prairie dogs, and there's an antelope to the right of center. Wide angle lenses tend to obscure wildlife...
All week long I'd had grand plans of how far I was going each day, and failed to meet them each time. Where I'd been hoping to make it past Clearmont by night fall, I ended up camping in a park next to the only store in town. There was another bicycle tourer there, so I thought I'd have no problem.

Robert, 71, said he's been cycle touring most of his live, and has over 120,000 miles logged since the mid 90's when he started keeping track. He was on his way to Whitefish, Montana, though Yellowstone. He's the first bike traveler I've actually had the opportunity to talk to, who I met "on the road" (as the last one I talked to had been stopped for a few days). He also said leaving at 7:30 was a late start for him.
Some people say my bike is heavily loaded...
I've never seen "Dry Weather Road" signs before.. 
Friday was interesting. I started out, with what I thought was plenty of time - over 10 hours. But after 7.5 hours on the road, I had only made 33 miles. I stopped in at the only business between Clearmont and Gillette - a bar. I stepped back out, but I was so hot, and not wanting to go right then, so I stepped back in. The bar tender, a woman who looked 60 something, gave me a cup of ice, then asked about my ride. She'd seen me the day before, and had wondered if I'd stop in. After a while three bikers stopped in. (I'm in route to Sturgis, which is going on right this moment, I've been passed by dozens of motorcycles, many of them more than once). We talked about my ride, and they told me how brave I was doing this trip - that they wouldn't do that long distance on a motorcycle.

After resting half an hour, I finally got back on my bike - with two hours till sundown. Somehow I caught a remarkable second wind, and was making record time! I ended up riding another 19 miles in the remaining 2 hours of daylight. Part way along the bikers I'd met at the bar honked and waved..
Coal mines are common in this area. Apparently they have a moving pit type system - they have to fill in and reclaim the land behind where they've already mined. Oh, and those dump trucks are huge. I got passed by a truck carrying just the bed of one - it took up both lanes. 
Sabbath morning I had 15 miles to ride to church. I was quite looking forward to church, for fellowship, and the opportunity to get invited to someone's house more than anything.. I was so excited I had difficulty sleeping. I skipped breakfast in order to get there as early as possible, setting off at 8 am - the earliest I've started from anywhere.

After church, and potluck, and the talk after church, I was invited to the home of Lyle and Raelyn Wortman, a blended family, who also run a daycare. Only two of the many children that at times live in the house were at church. On the way to their house we first had to stop at the fairgrounds where Lyle's daughter Hayley had a couple cows she was showing. She wanted to be sure I mentioned that, though I imagine she wanted a more glamorous portrayal of the experience. It was a barn, filled with animals. Hundreds of cows, pigs, chickens... that was all I saw, besides hundreds of people.

After the fair I was informed that there aren't many vegetarians in Wyoming, but they were quite accommodating.
Blake, always ready to have his picture taken.
Brady, one of the babysitting charges.
Glow in the dark bubbles. The glow in the dark part proved to be more entertaining than the bubbles, which had difficulty not popping, but also glowed quite dimly.  
The one time when putting handprints on the house is considered quite acceptable.
On Sunday I rested up, patched my tires (no flats, but losing pressure faster than I'd like), fixed another seam, processed the above (and below) pictures, caught up with a few friends..

Ok, I should get this post finished. As difficult as it is for me to believe, I should still ride 45 miles this afternoon..