Minnesota Touring

Minnesota Touring

posted in: Bicycle Touring, Minnesota | 17

Day 73, July 11th – Donn’s Bicycle Bunk House (Dalbo, MN) to Jordie’s Cafe (Bowlus, MN)

I woke up to thunder and lightening this morning – happy to be under a roof!  I left my room to find Claude waiting out the rain… he’s an early bird and usually hits the road by 5:30.  I gave him some grief about why hasn’t he left, meanwhile thunder still booms out side.  To our surprise we soon find Kellen emerging from another room inside the bunkhouse.  Apparently the sleeping quarters inside the silo aren’t very quiet during a thunderstorm.  Lucky for us the rain lets up and Claude heads off.  Donn came in to the bunkhouse with coffee and chatted with us over some breakfast.

Today’s ride was fun, mainly because I haven’t ridden with company for an entire day’s ride.  I planned to ride to Bowlus with Kellen and Cory where we would split again.  It was a breezy day, but the winds were slightly in our favor so we made good time to Bowlus.  Donn had advised us to stop into Jordie’s Cafe in Bowlus to ask about a place to sleep.  He said they usually let people camp under the local park awning across the street for $10, so we were surprised when they instead offered for us to camp for free in their outdoor seating area out back which also had a roof overhead.  It was a really great place and Sophia who welcomed us was very welcoming.  We parked our bikes and went to cafe for all you can eat fish before calling it a night.





IMG_6940Mississippi still flows surprisingly strong this far north.






IMG_6930Triple selfie!

IMG_6935Kellen and Cory’s food bag… similar in size to Santa’s sack of toys and loaded with snacks they picked up in Minneapolis.




IMG_6942Sophia giving us the lowdown for camping options.  Thanks for letting us sleep out back!


IMG_6951Tonights digs.

Miles:  63
Acts of Kindness:  2 – Coffee with Donn, we got to crash at Jordie’s free of charge… very cool spot.

Day 74, July 12th -Jordie’s Cafe to Breezy Point

We woke up in our sheltered patio at Jordie’s and went into the cafe for breakfast before packing up our things and hitting the trail.  Before splitting I wished Kellen and Cory well on their route to Fargo (passing through Fergus Falls).  Instead of joining them, I will be riding North and connecting with the Paul Bunyan trail towards Bemidji and then riding up to my grandparents in Puposky, MN.

I ended up stopping at the Charles Lindbergh Museum near Little Falls and grabbing lunch in town.  The mosquitos are getting THICK!  I left little falls and headed to Brainerd where I connected with the Paul Bunyan State Trail.  I planned on camping at a cyclist only campground along the trail near Pine River, but while riding near Pequot Lakes another biker on a triathlon bike, Mike, came whizzing up and asked me about my trip.  Not long into the conversation he invited me to stay at his home in Breezy Point with his family.  I’m not one to turn down a roof over my head and a chance to visit with new people so I was happy to accept his offer.

Well we had a quick ride to Breezy Point as I pedaled hard so that Mike didn’t fall asleep on his bike waiting for me to catch up.  Mike had a beautiful home and family.  His wife Heather set out some snacks and later made some tacos.  The entire family was very welcoming and I really enjoyed my stay.  Before bed, Mike, Maddie, and Mike (Mike’s son) had a throw down in a classic American past time… Mario Kart!  Mike and I were severely out matched by his kids so it was more of a battle for last place between us.

IMG_6952Cory mid yawn and Kellen calling up a Warmshowers host for Fargo.

IMG_6954Parting ways!  Good to have some riding company for a day.




IMG_6962Apparently Charles drove his family to California when he was 15 (I think) and thanks to the position of the fuel intake he had to drive up the Rockies in reverse… crazy!

IMG_6963I crashed… both tries.

IMG_6965Still flowing like crazy in Little Falls


IMG_6971Mississippi slowly wanes as I travel north.



IMG_6982Mikes ride that I had to try and keep up with!

IMG_6984Checking out my route for the next day.

IMG_6983Cookies by Heather!

Miles:  80
Acts of Kindness:  3 – Mikes family welcome me into their home, Heather fed me and did my laundry, great departure prayer by Mike

Day 75, July 13th – Breezy Point to Sangri-La Resort (Cass Lake, MN)

I had some delicious rolls made by Heather for breakfast and said my goodbyes to the family before heading out.  Thanks again to Mike, Heather, Mike, and Maddie for being such great hosts on a whim.  I really enjoyed my stay!  I rode back to the Paul Bunyan State Trail and continued on my way through Pine River, Backus, Hackensack, and Walker where I stopped for lunch to watch the World Cup final at Benson’s Eating and Drinking Emporium.  Here I met another group of guys watching the game.  After discussion turned to my bike trip I learned they had a cousin who did a similar trip a year or two ago so they were pretty interested.  They were really cool guys and were great company for the game.  Well they had left just before they left and it turns out they had bought my personal pizza and a beer for me on top of the one that a guy had bought me earlier… I’m definitely fortunate to meet such nice people on this trip.

After the game I left Walker and headed towards Cass Lake where my good friend from back in high school, Dom Trom, was staying at a resort with his entire extended family for a large family reunion.  Dom and his mom Cathy had extended an invite when they stopped by my parents in Mantorville, MN so I had kept it in my mind as a good option.  My grandparents was a bit far to be riding to today so this provided a great option.  I ended up riding about 6 miles north of the resort before realizing the address I plugged into my phones GPS was wrong.  I started backtracking and not long after Dom pulled up in a truck to save the day.  Back at the cabin I got to meet some of Dom’s family and have some great food!  We shared some good laughs around the table before eventually retiring to bed.

IMG_6985Mike and I before heading out.  Thanks again Mike!



IMG_6997Hey Paul, where’s your hand?  Looks like you had a wood chopping “axident”




IMG_7004Watching the game with some new friends!

IMG_7005Polar Vortex – Oh the horror!


IMG_7009Not sure what these birds were, but they sure made a unique sound.


IMG_7019Soft gravel… my favorite.




IMG_7032This is where my GPS told me my destination was… just me and the cat – 6 miles off course.


Miles:  81
Acts of Kindness:  4 – Lunch and drinks paid for in Walker by my World Cup friends; Hospitality and dinner from Dom’s family; Dom picked me up after significantly overshooting the turn to the resort

Day 76, July 14th – Sangri-La Resort to the Grandparents (Puposky, MN)

This morning I stuck around to have breakfast with Dom and his many relatives.  I didn’t mind taking my time for many reasons… bad weather, good company, and amazing breakfast!  I had fun chatting with the cousins and Dom’s grandpa.  After filling up on egg bake and monkey bread I eventually rounded my things up and hit the road again.  About half a mile down the road I realized my rear tire was getting squishy.  I think that’s a record for least amount of riding time until a flat, or maybe it was a slow leak from the night before.

It was a fairly tough day of riding considering it was only about a 35 mile day.  Headwinds, chilly air, rain, and soft gravel comprised a good duration of todays ride.  Still, the riding in Northern Minnesota is beautiful and this area brings back good memories – No need to rush it.

I arrived to a welcome crew waiting for me on Knutson Road for the final mile to Grandma and Grandpa’s home.  It sure felt good to arrive.  After a shower and some great dinner, I soon found myself closing my eyes on the couch where I crashed for two hours.

IMG_7035If you know Dom, you know this pose.  That hair…




IMG_7044Random fish skin in the middle of the road… must be in Bemidji?



IMG_7048Oh google maps… you’d make a mountain biker happy.  My tour bike though – Not so sure.




IMG_7057Welcome crew!  Aunt Wendy, my cousin Lauren, and Grandma!

IMG_7058Good to be on the farm.


Miles:  35
Acts of Kindness:  3 – Breakfast with Dom and his extended family; Welcome crew; Dinner, stay, and other grandkid spoilage at Grandma and Grandpa’s place

Day 77 to 79, July 15th to July 17th – Grandparents (Puposky, MN)

I’ve been enjoying my time hanging out on the farm.  Grandma feeds me great and the weather has been awesome.  I’ve gotten to help Grandpa stack hay bales, eat plenty of ice cream, whoop Grandma in several games of Sequence, visit with my aunt Wendy, cousin Lauren, and uncle’s Randy, Carl, and Steve.  Just last night I got to have dinner with Wendy and Kurt (aunt and uncle) over at their farm too!

Grandma’s home cooking makes it hard for me to justify hitting the road again… It’s been a good visit and relaxing stay.  The road beckons again and I’m not sure what winds await me in the plains so I think the more days I give myself to get out the Washington, the better.  Not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I have a wedding that I am in on September 13th which I will need to catch a flight back to the Midwest for.  I’m also hoping to get a mountain bike trip in with my sister Krista and her boyfriend Dennis starting around September 1st before I head out.  My detouring and visiting seem to have lengthened my original trip estimates significantly.  Fine by me – I have had a great time making the rounds to catch up with family and friends.  Still I do have a little bit of a schedule to keep…

Today’s plan is to head to Itasca State Park where I was going to stay at my Uncle Steve’s cabin.  Steve kindly told me to make myself at home when I asked if I could make it my destination for the evening.


IMG_7067Seems like I’ve been chasing strawberry season around the country on this trip… well timed!

IMG_7068Brad 4 : Grandma 1*

*note – Grandma broke the rules by breaking my sequence up during this game.  I read up on the rules after the fact… hence the asterisk 🙂

Also, some great new tunes by Jody Peterson!  Feel free to check them out:  Songs by Jody

Last thing that I forgot to share… Keith Short from where I worked held a photo competition that was pretty entertaining.  He cleverly awarded me a prize with the clause “must be present to collect”.  Here’s the link:  Presentation

Share and Enjoy !

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17 Responses

  1. Wendy Yerbich

    Brad it was great to see you and visit with you. Prayers for a continued safe and enjoyable trip.
    It is awesome that you can take this time and enjoy what you love to do.
    Love ya and hugs,

    • Thanks Wendy! I had a great time at dinner with you and Kurt! Always have a good time up north. Love you too!

  2. Gramma & Grampa K

    Our love and prayers are with you Brad….thanks so much for making us part of your trip…..so nice to hear about your travels and thoughts. Hope you can achieve your dreams (I am still not sure you should have won that game) Take care and enjoy……hoping for a wonderful and safe adventure for the rest of your trip. Bet Krista is “patiently” waiting …..love you ……neighbor called saying she saw you on your way into Bemidji….

    • Thanks Grandma and Grandpa! Had a great stay! Thanks for spoiling me 🙂

  3. LOVE the aeronautical bike rack!

    Hey, were your ears burning today? Your name came up a few times during team discussions of stack-ups and stretching. Doesn’t get much sexier than that, huh?

    • Nope I put sunscreen on my ears 😉 Oh yes… stack-ups and stretching. Can’t believe I missed that conversation!

      • “Not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I have a wedding that I am in on September 13th which I will need to catch a flight back to the Midwest for. I’m also hoping to get a mountain bike trip in with my sister Krista and her boyfriend Dennis starting around September 1st before I head out. My detouring and visiting seem to have lengthened my original trip estimates significantly. ”

        So you’re riding your bike across America in order to go biking with your sister? Interesting. Not sure why you’re worried about the schedule. You only have four states left, and I think earlier on your trip you did four states in about three days. No sweat!

  4. Carl knutson

    Great seeing you brad have fun

  5. Keith Short

    Great shots and blog as usual. Two of the Rockford photo contest winners have “rolled over” their prize money into the “pizza fund” for the pizza party scheduled to celebrate when you dip the front tire in the Pacific Ocean. The third winner suggested that if you come to the pizza party, he will buy the beer. A generous gesture! Pedal to the metal!

    • When’s the party? 🙂 Feel free to add my prize money to the fund haha.

  6. Dean Norem

    Hey Brad- we continue to enjoy your posts, and from here it appears you’re making good progress. Enjoyed the soft gravel sarcasm, not a great thing when biking, double ‘not’ when loaded with gear!! Continued safe travels…

    • Thanks Dean! Haha yea I have a love/hate relationship with gravel roads. Love the seclusion but if they’ve recently put new gravel on it’s tough riding. Enjoyed your photo entry in Keith’s photo competition. Got a good laugh at the cropped bud light 🙂

  7. jean Ryan

    Hi Brad, I wanted to send you some ND contacts. My sister-in-law Nancy Thiel lives in Bismark. 701 223-6566. Would love to see you. If she’s not home she’s off to visit her daughter Terri Thiel in Dickinson (on your way?) Terri is director of tourism or something like that. She lives in the country. You’d love it there. I talked to Nancy but didn’t have an idea as to when you’d be in either place.
    Take care

    • Thanks Grandma! I’ll be sure to try and giver her a call. I am also passing through Dickinson so if she’s not there then maybe I’d catch her in Dickinson. Hoping to be in Bismark in 2-3 days.

  8. Michael Pluimer

    Great to see you in Breezy Point, Brad! It is fun following your blog. We think about you a lot and have been praying for safe travels and great experiences. The kids want to challenge you to another game of Mario Kart next time you’re through Breezy Point 🙂 And I’m sure Heather will have some warm cookies for you! Blessings on your ride.


    • Mike!

      I’m game for a rematch and cookies 🙂 Thanks for you’re prayers. Really enjoyed my stay with you and your family. Your kindness and hospitality is a highlight of the trip!


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