Minnesota

For the record - we are welcomed to Minnesota.

Day 70: Sunday, September 12.
To Riverside Inn in Hawley, MN. An early breakfast with a family that offered us hospitality last night (which we had declined with thanks but agreed on breakfast together) - then biked down the Red River of the North Valley through Fargo and into Minnesota; most of day we headed south so our westwind was across us; rain threatened all day, and caught us for the last 10 miles. 66 miles.

Here's the team webmaster in a motel bed
(t-shirt says "BIKE TO WORK DAY"),
downloading photos from Seattle filmworks website,
selecting images and writing captions,
and sending files to SF & the web.

Rob reads to Catharine's frog in same motel room.

Day 71: Monday, September 13.
To Twin Lake Resort in Amor, MN. Again, heading south so 16 mph winds are crosswinds. Spent most of day on secondary roads, through dairy farms and loads of lakes; water table is very high. Rain for the last 15 miles - getting pretty tired of being cold & wet. Wonderful host at this resort let us use his "boat house/office/cabin" free for the night - with heater! YES. 62 miles.

Minnesota's license plates do not lie -
there are loads of lakes; here's one;
notice how the reeds and trees
bow before the powerful wind,
which was behind us, much to our delight.

The water table is so high
that it is submerging meadows and fences,
so the the owner's posting of "no hunting, etc"
should include "no fishing" as well!

Day 72: Tuesday, September 14.
To R&L RV Park in Long Prairie, MN. Designed to be a long day - very grey & threatening skies with wind; morning spent biking through lake country; then shifted into farmland; went "off route" straight east to take advantage of strong tail wind; land flattened out in PM, getting more residential. R&L have policy of not charging bicyclists - so free camping, together with great hot showers! 74 miles.

There are also lots of dairy farms in Minnesota;
the huge dairy company here
is appropriately named "Land o Lakes".

Here's one of Minnesota's finest
chewing on one of those hay rolls we see everywhere
just to show you an "end user".

But here's another end-use:
using hay rolls to urge voters
to support additional funding for local schools;
check out the high heels painted on the Ms's.

Day 73: Wednesday, September 15.
To Royal Court Motel in St. Cloud, MN. An Amish horse-drawn carriage passed the campsite around 6:45 AM and we passed it around 7:45 AM heading back to farm; we biked through verdant farmland, had interesting chat with dairy farmer when we stopped for ice-cream around 11:30 AM; lunch while sitting on the banks of the Mississippi River, not very wide but fast-moving water; stopped at bike shop in St. Cloud for a derailleur repair for Catharine. 63 miles.

We caught up with the Mississippi
near Bowlus, MN in central Minnesota,
and had lunch on the banks
of the very fast-flowing river.

Further downstream, we found a sign
identifying the "mighty Mississippi" -
and the sign indicating that the road
was part of the "Great River Route"
which runs along the river's length through MN

Another lunch on a small dock
jutting into the Mississippi;
notice that the river level is so high
that water covers part of the ramp
from shore to the dock

What Rob had for lunch that day:
cheese & Triskets (with garden herbs) and tomato;
potato chips (shared); peach; yogurt.

What Catharine did after lunch.

Better view of wading through river
to leave our dock;
team hangs on because "it's a treat
to beat your feet in the Mississippi mud"
but it is slippery on aluminum walkway as well.

Day 74: Thursday, September 16.
To Pierce Motel in Anoka, MN (north suburb of Minneapolis); a very suburban ride along the Great River Road National Route (what else but the Mississippi!); lunch on a little dock out over the river; had to be in motel because campground shown on a map did not materialize; 59 miles.

Closer to Minneapolis,
we entered a series of bike paths
leading to the Twin Cities.

We stayed on bike paths right into Minneapolis.

We were intrigued by the reflective interactions
among the city's skyscrapers.

Day 75: Friday, September 17.
To St. Paul East KOA campground (east of St. Paul, MN); a really different kind of ride today, through Minneapolis & St. Paul - along bike paths, across bridges, near skyscrapers, along stately residential streets, Jesse "The Body"'s state capitol, then left city behind for campground in middle of nowhere; 46 miles.

Day 76: Saturday, September 18.
To Frontenac State Park in Frontenac, MN; Unpaved road to breakfast at a deli in Afton - good pastries and chat with local women cyclists; crossed Mississippi into Wisconsin for part of ride; serenity shattered by sharing road with 500-1,000 motorcyclists on their annual Flood Ride - lots of Harleys and excruciatingly loud engines; construction, lots of hills leave us tired - but lovely campground on a bluff overlooking Mississippi; 59 miles.

A small subset of the hundreds of riders
on the motorcyclist's "Flood Ride",
I spotted very few helmets!

On the river, we pass our 3500 mile mark,
but because we didn't notice until 3504,
that's what the sign language indicates
(truth in advertising).

Day 77: Sunday, September 19.
To Sugar Loaf Motel in Winona, MN; really stormy last light - thunder & ligthning - grey day but wonderful ride right along the Mississippi River; hung around Lock #5 watching a huge barge go through upriver; 59 miles.

We stopped at Lock#5 on the Mississippi,
where if you look very carefully,
you will see a "vee" of geese high in the sky;
we're not sure why they were heading north.

Same Lock#5 with a huge barge squeezed in;
there appeared to be only inches to spare
between the edge of the barge (painted red)
and the lock wall (white).

Sign at lock:
one 15-unit barge pushed by single tug
carries the same amount of cargo
as nine 100-car freight trains
or 870 18-wheeler trucks.

10/26/99