Day 51 – To Van Riper State Park (Total Miles = 851.65)

We said goodbye to Sam, who was hanging back a bit to enjoy a swim, and headed to our next destination, Van Riper State Park.

Right out of the gate we saw two bald eagles hunting.  Of course we stopped, and gaped, and oohed and awed, over the wonder of another eagle.

Then…uhm…we…okay…

You all are going to be so disappointed in us!  We did it again.  We followed the tour route and it lead us to Herman Rd.  The route guide warned us, but we decided to do it anyway.  We thought, since this road is in the middle of nowhere, we might see some wildlife…a moose, a deer, wolf, bear, a chipmunk?  Nothing.  I think we saw one bird!!  We endured a wretched 8.5 mile gravel road for nothing.  No reward at all!!  Why?  Why did we do it again?  Why, oh why??  Let me just say again, it was wretched.  I swear!!!…we won’t do it again!

It was probably the stupid Herman Road that caused my flat tire.  We had finally come out to the highway, the one that was smooth, flat, and had a roomy shoulder…that we could have been riding aaalll this time, but nooo…we wanted to see the non-existent wildlife…forgive me…I was saying, I had a flat.  No problem, we prepared and expected this would happen eventually.  We pulled into a small parking lot across from a convience store to change the tire.  We unloaded Honey Badger and turned her upside down, then removed the old tube and pulled the new one from our repair kit.  Except the new one had the wrong valve.  It was a valve for a mountain bike and was too big to fit in Honey Badger’s rim.  Okay, backup plan, repair the tube.  We looked, we listened, we could not find the hole in the tube.  Ken walked over to the store to see if he could fill a sink with water to find the hole by the bubbles, but the sink did not hold water.  Second backup plan…new road angels to the rescue!  Well, no, it wasn’t planned, but God came through again!!  He sent Ken and Maryann to our aid.

These two knew something wasn’t going according to the plan.  They had stopped at their local convenience store for…wait for it…Ice Cream Cones!, when they noticed our situation.  They graciously offered to take us and all of our gear to their house so that we could fix the flat.  We packed their truck full of our stuff, our bikes, and ourselves, and were ferried to their home to make repairs.  Ken and Ken were able to find, not one, but two holes in the tube, and repaired it in short order.  Maryann and I talked family, work, and retirement.  Maryann is a math teacher and plans to retire in a few years.  They both mountain bike for pleasure and enjoy a wide variety of local trails.  To us, they were our rescuers, our road angels, and we know that their hometown has 2 special people in their midst.  They opened their hearts and home to two strangers needing help, and we so appreciated it.  We decided to take Ken up on his offer to drive us to the campground which was about 4 miles away.  Once there, I cooked dinner and we promptly went to bed.

Two Bald Eagles.

One Eagle On The Lookout Post

While The Other Gets Ready To Fish

The Only Wildlife I Saw On Herman Road!

Honey Badger Waiting For A New Tire

Ken And Maryann Our Road Angels.  They Have A Beautiful View Don’t They?

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