Saturday, June 19 Rugby, ND is the geographic center of north america. I felt so centered for a short time. They also have a fun museum complete with prairie village, of original buildings that were moved there.
The cafe in front of the museum is no smoking and they don't even have a deep fryer. And there with a big smile as ever was Dave Webb, the biology professor. I've run into him every day or two. What's unusual about this meeting is the Rugby is a town of 3,000 with lots of restaurants, and his bike was out of sight in his motel room. We had a great conversation again, so much so that between the museum and lunch, I left Rugby at 4:30pm.
I've come down with the worst cold in memory. A sneezing, hacking, drooling, snotty, aching, stuffy cold. Riding in bittercold high winds was probably not the best treatment, so I had another early day, only 51 miles. I decided to get to a quiet county park in an wildlife preserve on a lake, even though there was no restaurant, and the park was at the end of a hilly gravel road.. The plan was to get 12 hours sleep. It looked deserted from the road. I didn't notice that it was Saturday night. As I descended the last gravely hill, I found party central, with residents who are so used to peace and quiet that they feel the need to drown out the bird songs with thumpa-thumpa music. The air and ground vibrated so much that the bike alarm went off. There were bonfires. Much alcohol was consumed, and much merryment was made. It wasn't so much that I wanted to sleep as much as I wish I could party. With shadows of flames flickering on the rain fly, I had a party with my vitamin C and handkerchiefs. Now I'm glad I brought three.
Yet there was a silver lining. They had a playground of the era from my childhood, from the time before attack-dog lawyers sued every time a kid skinned his knee. A tall slide, with "American" embossed in every step. This is the same design as the high dive at our old town pool. A tall swing that let's you touch the tree branches. With a flat board so you can jump off in mid-air. See-saws. A big spinning platform, designed so you can hook your legs on the braces to go really fast with your head flailing along the outside. I almost horfed. It was great fun.
Travel notes: Buffalo Lake Recreation Area, west of Esmond 4 miles. Boat launch, picnic shelters, old-fashioned playground, only water is from hand pump, quality is unknown. Nice setting; party central on weekends.
Esmond: for a town of under 200, Sodbellies is a great (and busy) cafe. They have excellent homemade sausage. The lunch buffet looks good.