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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*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