July 27, `80
Biking was good, and I arrived in Duluth around 6 p.m. I didn’t stick
around. Except for the hills, the old iron ore city wasn’t that impressive. On
my way out of town, I had to cross a bridge that didn’t allow
bicycles. The bridge connected Duluth to Superior, Wisconsin. There
was a fifty dollar fine if you got caught crossing the bridge on a
bicycle. The traffic wasn’t bad, so I rode across the bridge anyway.
Embedded in the pavement, in some spots, were large metal bars with
gaping spaces between them. After almost wrecking my bike on the
first two holes, I found that if I rode across the bars counter to the
direction of the highway I stood a pretty good chance of not falling
through the holes. It was a relief to make it to the other side of the
bridge without a ticket, and in one piece.
I decided I needed a drink to celebrate my arrival in Wisconsin. Bars, in
Wisconsin, were not difficult to find and in Superior they were everywhere.
Once inside, I ordered up a nice 45-cent draft, and a speedy pizza
(even though it had sausage– for religious purposes I had given up
eating red meat a couple of years ago). Three girls came in and sat at
the bar next to me. One of them asked me if I wanted to check out a
rowdier bar. I said, “Sure, its Saturday night, isn’t it!” I figured
I could roll my sleeping bag out behind the gas station next to the
bar. It was already dark, so I stashed my bike there, and went off
with the girls.
Before long, I was out on the street, walking around in a drunken
haze. For me, it was too many beers too fast. I remember being in one
really crowded bar where I ran out of beer. Instead of pushing my way
through the crowd to get another one, I walked over to a shelf by the
pool tables and grabbed a full beer. With beer in hand, I just kept
walking right out of the bar. That incident was so totally out of
character for me that it shocked me sober enough to call it a night.
I had lost the girls, but luckily, before total panic set in, I ran into one
of them on the street, and she and her friends drove me back to my
bike. Behind the gas station, I more or less crawled out of the back
seat of their car, and that’s where I remained until morning. When the
sunshine and the gas station attendant intruded in on my hangover,
I went looking for coffee.
I felt a little better after I stopped at a restaurant and had pancakes, eggs,
and corn beef hash. Actually, the corn beef hash wasn’t all that good
(again the red meat), but I needed to get my alcohol-wracked body back in shape.
Bicycling was not what I wanted to do, but I rode until I found a place for
my tent in the Wisconsin woods where I spent the night. After the next morning’s
breakfast, I finally started to feel normal again.