We are now about half way through Minnesota! We have had some great days. Since we opted to take advantage of Minnesota's paved bike trail system for which we don't have the ACA maps, I have been busy planning travel and lodging these past couple of nights. Sorry, about the delay in entries, but I really was too tired to look at maps for an hour and then write. Anyways, the day after we stayed in Gackle, it was sunny and the winds were with us. We took advantage of the day and rode all 130 miles to Fargo. We stayed with lovely warm shower's hostess Ann and fellow cyclists Shawn and Tim. Ann offered us refreshments and made a delicious dinner and we shared tips and insight to the road ahead with Shawn and Tim.
The next day we spent the morning in Fargo getting our bikes tuned up and replacing our tires (we decided we wanted to switch to narrower slicks instead of our wider knobbies. The historic district of Fargo has a lot of character and fun shops so we did some window shopping. Then we spent the afternoon biking. Since Fargo is right on the border, we quickly crossed into Minnesota (sorry we crossed where there was no welcome sign to pose with). Despite some weather and strong cross winds, we traveled 60 miles to Pelican Rapids where we stayed with another warm showers hostess Gretchen and her three affectionate cats and lovable golden retriever. Pelican Rapids is an adorable town and although it was raining we enjoyed walking around the Main Street.
Yesterday it rained on and off all day. However, we made it onto the bike trail system and was refreshing to be off the roads. The trail was once a railway and thus parallels the county roads and on occasion the interstate. It maintains it's distance for the most part though and makes a very peaceful path through woods, fields, and the region's numerous lakes.
We went around seventy miles and since camp grounds are spaced out and it was cold and rainy, we splurged on a super eight in Alexandria. Alexandria is home to Big Ole, the world's largest viking. Pelican Rapids was home to the world's largest penguin. It seem's Minnesota towns have a thing for having "world's largest" statues.
Today was finally beautiful, sunny and 85 with a gentle breeze. We were on the trails for most of the day and had a great lunch (consisting of breakfast food and pie) at Charlie's Diner in Freeport, MN. We saw a large group of cyclists who are riding in the other direction setting up camp about 15 miles from our destination. They are riding for MS research are fully supported and are mostly around college age. It was nice for me to meet some tourers my own age as we have mostly been meeting retirees. Also, they gave us cookies. We are now back to traveling on roads and are camping in the backyard of a lady who welcomes cyclists. Tomorrow we are aiming to make it to a campground 92 miles or so from here since other than one 32 miles away it is our only lodging option. So, I better rest up because even though the weather looks good, it is going to be a long one tomorrow.