Getting back to Winnipeg from Riding Mountain Park had that sense of coming home you feel when you go to a place you’ve been before, it is a sensation I relish as it is so rare in my day to day life, might have to do something about that. It is only for a night but I manage to make some friends and also see the famous Forks. Not much to write home about but at least now I know.
In the morning I’m off to get the new tyre, the gremlins with the electrics turn out just to be a loose cable and, well, still no signs of the insurance paperwork. I’m, by this point, been stewing for more than a week worrying about entering in the US without the insurance paperwork. I leave the loving people of Heddingley Sport £420 lighter, but with a new tyre, no electric gremlins and a nice kryptonite chain that will protect my possession in the US.
The road to the border is rather uneventful, apart from the fact that the car passing me could probably hear my heart beat getting louder as I was approaching the checkpoint. In the end it was the most comprehensive non event of my life, they not only ask me anything about the bike or driving, but they did not even check what I was carrying with me, I could have smuggled in a portable nuclear device and they would have not known anything about it. It just goes to show that often we, or I should say I, over worry.
Once across it was just the case of unwind and get going. Aside from the fact that the welcome to Minnesota was in the shape of a bee sting, the road to the first stop was fine. The first thing to do, when entering a new country is always to get wired up and good research brought me straight to the AT&T shop where I got a SIM card and a contract that will cover me in the US and also in the three weeks I’ll be back in Canada in September.
To make arrival easy I choose to stay in the only HI hostel between the US east coast and west coast, the Mississippi Headwater HI in Itasca State park in Minnesota. Before getting there I had not appreciated the importance of the site. It’s actually the place where the mighty Mississippi river starts. The hostel is great and before nightfall I take a walk to the actual Headwater spot, impressive.
After that I spend the night with my hostess and Michael, a philosophy Ph.D. student in the process of relocating to Austin. We have a few drinks, roast some marshmallows on a campfire and talk about politics, religion and life until the night comes. Might see Michael again when I get to Austin, if not, it will have been a good night closing a day started with a lot of worries.