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We cooked up some oatmeal in Lisa’s microwave and headed out nice and early to avoid the heat. We had two choices, either go north on a short but busy route or south which would be longer but a bicycle trail. It was Charlotte’s choice to make and so south we went.

Back by the AT&T shop we stopped off at UPS and I sent about 5lbs (2.5kg) of cold weather clothing to Jamie’s house in Utah. The drop in weight was nice but the biggest improvement was the drop in bulk as it freed up about half a big pannier. We were happy with that as it would let us store more food in places like North Dakota where “if you see a tree on a day where you cycle 100 miles it’s a good day”

We went through a few miles of busy roads and stopped in an Aldi where I got some pasta and tomato sauce for dinner and got girl scout cheerleaders, but shortly later found the trail and it was gorgeous. We could ride side by side and it was lovely to be in the shade. The trail was 15-20 miles long and I was glad that Charlotte chose the southern route.

After getting off we stopped by a Walmart to get some bread and cheese for Charlotte to make a sandwich. I had my leftover lasagne from Pastavino as well as the delicious cookies they had given us which kept us full of energy.

20 miles more and we arrived at our destination the campground at Gemini Springs, Lake Monroe. We rode in and a park ranger came up to us. He asked for our permit which confused me a lot. I explained that I’d called a couple of days before and been assured that I did not need a reservation but we were willing to make one there and then. The ranger apologised but told us that that would be impossible. After explaining that we had cycled so far and with Gemini Springs in mind and coudln’t make it elsewhere he folded and gave us some advice about camping in the back corner as that would make us less visible. We thanked him for his help and went to checked out the pitch which ended up being great. As it was around 3pm we had no desire to throw up our tent immediately and so rode over to McDonalds.

At McDonalds we bought a $1 fountain drink and refilled it for 2-3 hours while enjoying the free wifi. It turned out to be a great move because unbeknownst to us there was a huge storm coming and 20 minutes after we arrived the heavens opened and it bucketed down. I used the time to check up on my regular online reading and to come up with a route for the next couple of days. Charlotte used the wifi to make lots of calls on her iPhone and to write some of her journal.

Around 6:45 the rain stopped and we headed the couple of miles back to the camp site to give us time to get our tents up before the mosquitoes came out. The food we had bought at Aldi got left in our bags as we’d eaten at McDonalds so we didn’t have to cook in the dark while being eaten to death by mosquitoes. We threw the tents up and then I went for a shower which was lovely until a spider, which was probably perfectly harmless but about 4″ (10cm) across, decided to scutter across the ceiling which definitely sped up my shower.

The rain from McDonalds

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