I woke up to the sound of a police car buzzer-horn at about 3:30am. My crime had been discovered. The officer asked me to come out of the tent. I pulled on my long-sleeve shirt and went out into the cold. He asked for an ID, so I gave him my US passport. He asked if I had a home and I declined. Although there were no signs posted and nobody around the sleepy residential park seemed to mind, he informed me that the park closed at dusk. He didn't seem to realize or care that I was obviously riding the bike trail which lay about ten meters away, and that I had no other place to camp.
He was short but not rude. After calling my name in to run some check on me, he simply as that I "pack it up." I asked if he knew of any campgrounds in the area, but he couldn't think of any. I offered that I would just "ride around all night." With that, he was off, presumably to stop more crime in the friendly city of Maplewood.
I was left in the dark cold morning trying to think of ways to kill the time till I could pedal down to Liza's. I put on all the warm clothes I had, and started to pack up the tent. By the time I was done, the sun was already coming up. I took out a book and started to read, half hoping that the policeman would come back so that I could argue with him about what consists of proper use of the park. He didn't come back and I couldn't seem to fall asleep out the in the cold dawn of a Monday morning.
Into the City
Eventually I put on my camelback and got back on the bike path. Mike had given me good directions that should have taken me quite close to my friend's apartment near the University of Minnesota. However, I made a critical error at Como Avenue and ended up in downtown St. Paul instead of Minneapolis. By this time it was nearly 6:30 and a man on the street kindly pointed me back in the right direction: west.
The end of my bicycle excursion was a bit of an anticlimax. It was still early when I found the Finestack's apartment, so I made my way to the local Starbucks to wait for them to wake up.
I have ridden almost 800 miles in total. I got to see a lot of beautiful countryside, met some nice people, got some exercise, and had a lot of fun. In retrospect, it all seems pretty short,
but indeed I have been gone a full two weeks. The biking part of the trip was pretty easy. I found the camping to be a bit more troublesome than I predicted. It is too bad that we can't have more freedom here in the land of the free. I guess we sacrifice some freedom to preserve order and safety in our modern society. I don't really blame the city of Maplewood for kicking me out of their park. I probably wouldn't want some dirty freak camping in my city park either. Anyway, there is still a lot of adventure left in me. Till next time...