On Tuesday July 20 we woke in the Great River State Park, Trempealeau, WI about 15 miles from the bridge to Winona, MN and breakfast. Rosie's niece Carol Ann and her kids Josh and Jenna met us the day before in the campground as we were waiting for them in the rain. It didn't start raining until we arrived. Carol brought a popup to ferry us most of the way across MN. The first night with our new sag service was definitely a change of pace.
We started out about 8 AM taking the north exit in the park. There was more fog than road. Not having exact directions we were lucky to run into a local who was just coming off the Great River Trail. We opted not to take the trail, but to stay on pavement to MN. Enough of the trails for now. An hour or so later we were at the bridge. Those that viewed the pictures saw my Little Woman ensuring the bridge's stability a few times. Bridges and high places don't mix well with Rosie's sensibilities. Nonetheless, a trouper that she is, she made it across the Mississippi River to the Timber Diner and had coffee before me. Yes, I was taking pictures.
When in La Crosse, WI while at our overnight, I had inet. Rosie copied the directions to Route 14 once we arrived in Winona. Having a keen sense of direction, I often, as I did when we left the diner, alter our route which drives the woman nuts. It's not my intent, but no matter it drives her nuts. I must say though, the light is starting to penetrate...
Route 14 began with a 2.78 mile climb, followed by 2 miles downhill into Stockton then 1.5 miles up to Lewiston. We found them to be quite comfortable. BTW, the definition of a hill has been added to the list. We counted about eight across MN on our route. Talk about luck.
Our destination on our first day was Rochester. Carol Ann found a RV park south of town only assessable on a major four lane road ending in a mile uphill climb. Subsequently, Rosie had a long enough talk. Other than that it was great. It wasn't far from a Best Buy where I purchased a new netbook with the extend 2 year warranty to protect against stupid bike riding.
On Wednesday, July 21 we took a Bill Route, zigzagging to Byron. Can you hear Rosie? Our destination was Waseca. Our first stop was in Byron at a Mickey D's which had a reading area with leather chairs. We met a group of Australian farmers touring the area sponsored by Case Supply. They loved America. They had nothing good to say about our Idiot and Chief. Not my words. Let's just say they were not bashful. Leaving our first rest stop we witnessed a near accident when a Cadillac pulling out into traffic nearly hit a passing car. Both Rosie and I often remind each other how vigilant we have to be. BTW, Cadillac's will be mentioned in an upcoming list about potential dangers on the road. Cadillacs are especially dangerous because they are usually driven by someone as old as your grandparents' great grandparents. Traffic was very heavy around Owatonna. Lots of construction. The last 13 miles into Waseca were white knuckling on a 18" shoulder bordered by rumbles and gravel. That evening it rained all night. We took the 22 nd off.
On Friday, July 23 we left Waseca taking county roads (Bill Route) paralleling Rt. 14. Nicest roads we've been on in MN. Rosie is thinking of calling me Pathfinder. It must be the light. We were on a paved bike path in Mankato taking us one mile from Rt. 68 the road we needed to take to New Ulm. Arriving in New Ulm we stayed at Flandrau State Park, at the top of a hill, where we had another evening thunderstorm. Thunderstorms out here are far different from what we're use to in Syracuse. Multiply our usual storms by 20. As fast as it started it stopped. There was an eerie silence.
On Saturday, July 24 we headed for one of several possible destinations none of which we reached. Head winds, traffic, a gravel road and poor timing ended our day in Lamberton. We thought about reaching Walnut Grove or Tracy, just 10 and 17 miles further, but learned from a store keeper that Walnut Grove was having their Laura Ingall's pageant. All lodging within 50 miles was booked. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Lamberton Motel was across the road. The owner said he was holding one room and after consulting with his wife gave it to us. Showered and hungry we went to the only eatery in town, the American Legion. The streets were empty, not even a stray dog. When we opened the door to the legion we were met by at least 100 people partying it up. Hilarious! Lamberton graduates 40ish kids each year. We walked in on a reunion of classes 78-82 and 60. What a hoot. Just like dancing, both Rosie and I said people looked like people back home. Had fun with that. After pizza and beer we were done in and slept for 11 hours. We think it was more to do with the kids than the riding. Just kidding Josh and Jenna.
Sunday, July 25 we had the highway to ourselves for most of the day. No rumbles, lots of good road and a fast day. We had breakfast at Neille's in Walnut Grove. The waitress was named June. I asked her if her husband's name was Ward. People often refer to us a June and Ward Cleaver because Rosie waits on me. Remember the "Home on the Range" picture? We also talked to an old dairyman who said he farmed for 50 years and he never spread has much manure as Obama. His words not mine. Talked to a couple in Tyler, who told us we missed the Aibleshiver Festival, a Danish tradition. Aibleshiver is some kind of pastry. The couple also directed us to Becker's Resort. Our room looks out onto Lake Benton. We think it was a barn at one time because Rosie has killed about 50 flies. I just type and drink beer.
We have ridden 1250 miles. Tomorrow we enter South Dakota. Met a rider today heading east who has been through SD eight times. She gave us a few ideas. Our plan is to make it to Rapid City in the next five days. We might have a problem with lodging because the Sturgis Bike Rally begins next weekend.