It's so nice to have a break. We had been looking forward to it for quite a while, and probably would have taken a day off sooner if we didn't have a destination already planned. We rested our biking muscles, and also just took it easy in general.
Brett woke up early both off days, but he felt more rested. The first morning at Lowell and Audrey's we got to try teff for breakfast. Lowell cooks it up for a hot cereal, and then adds all kinds of stuff to it, like nuts, fruit, flax seed and spirulina. In the afternoon, we went with Selena and Audrey the 8 miles into town (where we had mistakenly biked to last night!) to meet Selena's brother Forest and his family.
Aurora, Forest, baby Gabriel, and Michael. We didn't get to meet Heidi because she wasn't feeling well and was resting inside, but we caught a glimpse of her through her children. Aurora and Michael were so smart and happy.
We had so much fun visiting with the kids and meeting Forest! Everyone was so comfortable and fun to be around. We played and talked and ate watermelon and quinoa salad for lunch. Aurora and Michael had such great senses of humor and we laughed together so much. Brett juggled, Aurora tickled everyone, and Jenny was unable to recognize any of the animals that Aurora made the sounds of. Aurora: “Quack! Quack!” Jenny: “Donkey!” Aurora: “Noooo! That's a duck, silly!” Everyone: uncontrollable laughter.
After our visit with Forest and the kids, Selena drove us to the bigger city near there, Alexandria (aka Alex). Audrey was looking for some clothes and things, Selena was looking to buy some shoes, and we were looking for gas for our stove. After two failed tries at Target and then Fleet Farm, we found our gas (a blend of butane and propane) at Walmart. Brett found some good biking shorts at the thrift shop, and we bought some food for the next few days of travel at the grocery store.
Once we got back to the house, we were all tired. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and resting until we shared another yummy dinner out on the porch together. All three nights we stayed with the Dittberner's, Selena made wild blueberry pie for dessert! Yum!
Another delicious meal! Grilled chicken, tempeh, pineapple, and greens from the garden.
Lowell and Audrey's beautiful garden.
Lowell and Audrey's beautiful garden.
We got some sorting and repacking done on Friday. It was refreshing to send a few items home that we felt we hadn't been using (mostly seldom used or unused clothing). It also felt good to clean and reorganize the bags. Some time was also spent working on the bike. We did some cleaning and lubed the chain. We took off the kickstand that was no longer supporting the bike. (We forgot to mention that the kickstand we bought back in Bay City, MI didn't last more than a few days. We were sad, but it wasn't a great expense, and it may still be useful on a lighter bike.)
A bunch of time was also spent poring over maps! Kathy sent us state maps of North Dakota/South Dakota, Montana/Idaho, Oregon/Washington and California (a brilliant idea!) and we were excited to use them to plan our route out more carefully. Brett even called the North Dakota Department of Transportation to ask if bicycles are allowed on the interstate highways (they are).
It was fun to take a ride in the back of Lowell's truck to see the rice lake on Selena's parents' property. The rice wasn't ripe yet, and there were a LOT of deer flies, but we are glad we went for the ride. We also got a tour of the Christmas tree shop on the way back. It was neat to see all those things for the first time that we've heard so much about from Selena over the years.
The lake with lots of wild rice is just past those cattails in front of Selena. We love the rice from that lake, so it was fun to see where it comes from!
Having two days off from biking was relaxing, but also felt a bit strange. We hadn't taken a single day off since our first two days of rest in Ithaca, NY. We biked every day for four weeks straight! By the end of our stay in Parkers Prairie, we felt the strong pull back to the road.
On our last day at Selena's parent's house, our camera decided to stop working. We think it is something wrong with the sensors inside. All of our pictures started coming out too light and with wobbly lines. Sadly, we will be without a camera until we find a place to buy a new one.