Friday, July 13, 2012

July 13th, 2012 (Friday) Holcombe to Home

Miles biked today - 63
Ride Time - 5 hours 13 minutes MPH – 12
We left Holcombe bright and early this morning and bicycled to Gilman for breakfast. We were anxious to get home and arrived in Dorchester by 11:43. Once we got home we immediately turned on the air conditioner - with the house being closed up for 9 days it was certainly warm inside. Mike had done a great job of mowing lawn while we were gone so we didn't have to worry about getting that done. It was so good to crawl in our own bed that night and we both slept very well.
So the first leg of this journey is done - we will continue this adventure on August 28th, 2012. We will bicycle right from our driveway down to Middleton, Wi for the Midwest Tandem Rally. After the rally (Labor Day) we will go to Wisconsin Dells for the post ride rally and then later that week start bicycle to Baton Rouge, LA. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of the summer! Stay cool!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 12th, 2012 (Thursday) Turtle Lake, Wi to Holcombe

Miles biked today – 58

We left Turtle Lake at 5:25AM. They had a continental breakfast at the hotel but we decided to pass on that and bicycle to Barron to have breakfast at Suzy's Cafe. When we walked into Suzy's there were 5 locals sitting at the table and one of them immediately said to me "didn't I pass you two near North Branch, MN yesterday?" He was impressed at how far we had come in the last 24 hours. Anyway, we had a wonderful breakfast and really enjoyed talking with the locals. We also talked with a number of teacher's that came into the restaurant for a get together.

 After filling our bellies and saying goodbye we headed out so that we would arrive in Holcombe before it got to hot!


We planned on staying at Rita & Larry's place tonight and I had told her we would arrive around 1:30 or so. As it ended up we arrived there about 11:30 and sat and visited with their grandson, Dillion and Dave (their son-in-law). Dave had recently completed a marathon and so I was anxious to talk to him about his running and we had a very nice visit. As we were sitting there John noticed that there was smoke coming out of Angie's (our niece) camper and so Dillion went to check it out. Well, he immediately went and shut off the electric and they pulled the LP tanks from it and started spraying water on the camper. Before we knew it Dave's dad called the Ladysmith Fire Dept. and the camper was engulfed in flames. Dave, Dillion, Dave's brother, and dad were busy running and getting water from the lake and trying to keep the other campers and buildings from starting on fire. John ran out to the end of the driveway to wave the fire trucks in. Fortunately no one was hurt and the only camper that was lost was Angie's. It made for an exciting afternoon! Once Rita arrived we decided to take a ride to Ladysmith for dinner and when we got back to the cabin we sat by the lake and visited before calling it a night. Enough excitement for one day!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 11th, 2012 (Wednesday), MN to Turtle Lake, WI

Miles biked - 60.5 Ride time 5 hrs 8 min Average Speed – 11.8 mph IMG_1157
We left our hotel this morning at 6:32am with comfortable temperatures starting out. It wasn't long and it started to heat up. We had about 37 miles to bike to get to the Wisconsin border. We crossed into Wisconsin by St Croix Falls and if you have ever been to this area you will appreciate the climb we had getting out of the valley and on our way to Turtle Lake. About 5 miles before we arrived in Turtle Lake we were just a pedaling along on busy Hwy 8 when we had a semi-truck pull over about a block or so ahead of us. As we got close the driver got out of the semi and here it was our son Mike. What a pleasant surprise and we hugged and visited a few minutes before he had to get back to work and we needed to finish biking the last 5 miles to our hotel. It was definitely our hilliest day yet on this trip.

 Our plan is to bicycle to Holcombe tomorrow and stay over night at Rita and Larry's and then bike home on Friday! We are having a wonderful time and have met some very interesting people once again! Life is good!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 10th, 2012 - (Tuesday) Aitkins to Cambridge, MN

Total miles biked 87.18
 Ride time 6 hrs 30 minutes
 Avg speed 13.3 mph

Lake Mille Lacs in Minnesota

We had a great day of biking today! Starting out from Aitkins at 5:55AM along route 47. The route was exceptionally flat starting out but we knew we had a long day so we chose to do the first 22 miles to Malmo before having breakfast. We continued on another 18 miles to Isle and then took a break at a convenient store. The highlight of our day was our accidentally coming across the Adventure Cycling Bicycle Bunkhouse just north of Dalbo. We were on our way by when somebody called out "come on in" so we did. The bunkhouse is owned and ran by Donn Olson - its an approx. 100 year old barn that has been converted into a bunkhouse for bicyclist that will hold about a dozen bikers at one time. However, he has hosted as many as 22 at one time by putting some of the bikers up in the basement of his house and the hayloft. Donn Olson is very friendly and outgoing type of a person and does this all on his own for the benefit of long distance bikers. We had a very nice visit and he told us of having people stop in from all over the world. He has a little black book that he has all of his over night guest sign which was interesting to see. What a special person he is to invite total strangers into his home! By the time we were done visiting with Donn it had warmed up considerably so our last 15 miles to Cambridge got to be kind of a grind. So after 87 miles we checked into the Crossings by Grand Stay Inn & Suites and went for a very refreshing swim in the pool. We will go and get a bite to eat this evening yet and then get a good night sleep! What a great day! If you go to You Tube and type in "Adventure cycling bicycle bunkhouse - Dalbo" you can see Donn and his Bicycle Bunkhouse!

Rest room and shower at the Bunkhouse! This was the first farm with silo's that we had seen since leaving International Falls! We saw this farm north of Dalbo!
Beautiful Lake Mille Lacs in the background!

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9th, 2012 (Monday) Grand Rapids to Aitkin, MN

 Our first sign announcing the "Great River Route"!

 Miles biked today - 52 miles Ride time - 3 hrs and 52 minutes Ave Speed 13.5 MPH

 Before I start the days blog out I would like to share with everyone the amazing gal I met yesterday in the hot tub at the Americinn Inn. When I went into the pool area I noticed that there was one person in the hot tub and I also noticed that there was a prostetic leg near a chair right by the hot tub. After my swim I went to get into the hot tub and immediately this gal says "hi, my name is Lynn" and we started up a conversation. Lynn is about 40 years old and has been married for 20 years. When I first got into the hot tub I also noticed that she was severely handicapped as not only was she missing part of one leg (from the knee down) but she also had two arms that were only about 6 inches long. Her right arm did not have any fingers but her left arm did. Anyway, Lynn and I talked back and forth and she thanked me for staying in the hot tub. She said a lot of times people see her and would leave. How sad is that! Anyway, after we got talking I couldn't believe what an amazing person she was and what a positive attitude she had about life. She was given up for adoption at birth due to her handicap and she ended up being adopted by a couple that had 8 children of there own and had adopted 6 severely handicapped children. However, after talking with Lynn she didn't think her handicap was so bad. Wow, the next time I want to complain about how hard it is to do something I am going to have to put on my "Big Girl Panties" and suck it up! Anyway, this young gal is certainly a inspiration! Now back to the blog!

We set the alarm to go off at 5:40am this morning and we had a continental breakfast at the hotel and on the road biking by 6:40AM. Leaving Grand Rapids we had a few hills but not bad. We had a nice shoulder the first 15 miles but that changed after we bicycled beyond Hill City. We arrived at McDonalds in Aitkins at 11:42 and sat and had a nice cold drink while we reviewed our map and looked over our route tomorrow. We checked into the 40 Club Resort (named that because it was built in 1940 on 40 areas) and will spend the afternoon relaxing and probably bored.  Life is Good!

Note the Osprey Nest that we saw on the way to Aitkins - I am amazed it hadn't gotten blown off the pole due to the wind storms they had last week!

While John took a short nap I took a run to the down town area. It was hot and I was tired but I knew there was a Dairy Queen downtown so I told John I was going to run to it so I wouldn't feel so bad about having a cone. John met me 1/2 way back and so we turned around so he could go to Dairy Queen. He had a chocolate malt - later he said he probably hadn't had one of those in 30 years. What a sheltered life he must have. lol We played some cribbage and then ate off the salad bar at the 40 Club diner and then called it a night!
 Mighty Mississippi river - (the area we biked in today has been heavily flooded from rain and storms over the last several weeks)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 8th, 2012 (Sunday) Marcell to Grand Rapids, MN

Miles bicycled today - 43

We slept in this morning because the lodge didn't start serving breakfast until 8:00AM and we were told we would have to bicycle 28 miles to get to another restaurant. Of course, we were awake by 5:00AM - go figure! We had a wonderful breakfast and enjoyed talking with Sue and Barb. Once again we are finding that the people are so kind and friendly. If you are ever in the Marcell area we would definitely recommend the Timberwolf Lodge for food, drinks, and lodging! Barb told her husband (the cook) that he has to prepare something good for us with a lot of protein.  It was certainly good!


John checking out the route!

 We started out bicycling about 8:50AM and had a very nice day with beautiful blue skies and no wind. The traffic wasn't to bad until we got close to Grand Rapids and then it picked up. We are checked into a Americinn Inn and went swimming and got the chance to update the blog. When we came to the hotel the gal quoted us a price for the room and we decided that we would look elsewhere because it was more than we wanted to spend and three other hotels within a few blocks. As we started to walk away she said "oh, wait - we do have a special going on". She then quoted us the same dang room for $30.00 cheaper. Now why the heck can't they give you that price to begin with. As I am sitting in the lobby two other couples have checked in and they are paying the original price (not the special). I have all I can do to sit her and not say anything about it. Talk about frustrating! We lucked out as there was a laundry room just two doors down from our hotel room so I was able to do laundry and make some phone calls while waiting for the laundry to dry.  Also, there was a computer in the lobby so I was able to update our blog.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July 7th, 2012 (Saturday) Big Falls, MN to Marcell, MN

Kathi was up early this morning so she put on her tennis shoes and went for a 2.2 mile run around Big Falls before breakfast. We arrived at the restaurant at 7:00AM (they open at 7:00) and we were the first customers in the door. After a great breakfast we left Big Falls and bicycled 48 miles to Marcell where we stayed at the TimberWolf Lodge three miles north of Marcell. Here we found out that the owners were originally from Marshfield and had owned Rivers Edge Supper Club and Golf Course. After checking in and cleaning up we went to the lounge and played cribbage and enjoyed conversations with some of the locals. Our ride today was in a very remote wooded area.


In the first 33 miles today we averaged 14.5 mph with the help of flat terrain, no head or tail wind, and very little traffic. We stopped for cold drinks in Big Fork and went across the road where they have a little informative park area telling all about the logging that had been done in that area.


We bicycled past a lot of trees that had been blown down by last weeks 80 mph wind storm and also got to see 4 deer but that was all for wildlife so far. Once again we are enjoying the smells of our surroundings and the sounds of the birds singing and the rushing rivers and creeks.



Friday, July 6, 2012

July 6th, 2012 (Friday) International Falls to Big Falls, MN

The Adventure Begins!
We got up this morning and had breakfast with Jim before we headed out on our first day of our new adventure bicycling from International Falls, MN to Baton Rouge, LA. After breakfast we took several pictures - hugged Jim goodbye and then started pedaling towards Big Falls. The sky was cloudy and overcast but that didn't dampen our spirits. It just felt so good to be back on our bike and starting a new adventure. About 10 miles before Big Falls it started to drizzle very lightly (not even enough to cause us to get out our rain jackets). We arrived at the 671 cafe (located at the intersection of Hwy 6 and Hwy 71) by 9:30AM and as soon as we sat down in the cafe it began to rain. Good timing for us! We visited with the locals and enjoyed a great meal before checking into the Big Falls Motel.

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Just down the road from the motel is the Big Fork river which is very pretty and brings numerous people wanting to canoe, kayak, camp and fish from all over. We only had to bike 38 miles to get to Big Fork so later in the day we hopped on our bike and rode 10 miles around the area before we went back to the cafe for dinner!