After 16 days and nights of Gavin Smith’s fundraising ride for Ecojustice, you would expect a few flat tires. Until June 27, he had none. I ride my bike to and from work and I’ve had three flats since June.

Today we bring you another two-day update, where Gavin fixes and flat and enters Minnesota via Bob Dylan Way. On Day 18, he explores Duluth during a rest day.

Day 17
June 27
Distance Travelled: 112.53 km (Lodging: Matt’s couch, Duluth, Minnesota)

Left Joel and Jenny’s early and biked off on the beautiful county road in light rain. I stopped at Mother’s Kitchen in Poplar, Wisconsin, for lunch. They also had just-what-I-wanted cherry pie and ice cream. Pure America.

I also managed to find tiny bungee cords in a hardware store to replace the broken ones on my panniers. They came in packs of 20. Now I have 19 extra. I took a bit of a detour to cross the less-busy bridge into Minnesota. The road was not great and the shoulder was liberally spattered with broken glass, which led to me getting my first flat as I was crossing the state line on the bridge.

I entered Duluth on what turned out to be Bob Dylan Way. It was the biggest town I had hit since crossing into the U.S. and it was exciting to bike through the streets of a city with theatres, busy sidewalks and other things I hadn’t seen in a long while.

I eventually made it to Matt’s place. Matt grew in Poplar Wisconsin but was living in Duluth for work and school, sleeping on a futon in his twin sister’s apartment (right next to the couch where I slept). He got a degree in finance but hated the work so is going back to school for geology. Last summer he biked from San Diego to Texas with Jimmy, a friend of his friend Jasper who he had never met before the trip (Jasper was supposed to come too but broke his hand shortly before departure). The journey was supposed to take Matt and Jimmy all the way to Florida, but Matt was hit by a truck at a crosswalk in Texas, puting him in a leg brace for a month and ending his trip. Instead they got a ride from Matt’s dad back to Wisconsin and Jimmy and Jasper (with a functioning hand by that point) biked from there down to Florida. Jasper was living closeby in a treehouse that he built on his parent’s land in Wisconsin. He actually doesn’t like the term treehouse … he finds it hurtful. It is a fully insulated home after all. Anyway, Jasper made the hour drive into Duluth and the three of us went out for drinks and pool with their friends downtown.

Day 18
June 28
Distance Travelled: Rest Day (Lodging: Same as Day 17)

Matt had to work at 7 a.m., so I was up pretty early. I walked to a cafe one block up the street and sat on the patio in the sun, looking down the giant hill at Lake Superior for almost two hours. I consumed a latte, a German cupcake, an iced cappuccino and a lemon scone. After so much forest in the previous days, it was one of the more luxurious feelings I’ve had in my life. When I got back to Matt’s, Jasper was there. He drove me down to the lake, where we walked along the boardwalk that girdles the waterfront, sat shirtless in the sun and watched a shipping boat come in under Duluth’s giant lift bridge.

When Matt got off work we went swimming and played Frisbee in the lake, drove up to a lookout tower on the top of the hill that Duluth is built on, rode an alpine rollercoaster, went cliff jumping at a nearby river and headed back to Matt’s for dinner. I could not have asked for better tour guides.

It sounds like Duluth was a good time. Tune in tomorrow when, just like a rolling stone, Gavin’s ride continues.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?