Wednesday, June 14, 2017

June 14--Day 2--Through Wisconsin in 3 1/2 Hours

Last night there was a thunderstorm around 1:00. There was rain most of the rest of the night, so I packed up a wet tent this morning. At least it had stopped raining by the time I was ready to get out of my tent. Actually, I'd gotten out about three times to chase away this persistent raccoon. Each time he/she would look at me like, do you really want me to go, or are you just saying that? Yes, yes I do, and for emphasis, here's a stick thrown in your general direction! Don't worry, it didn't make contact.

Pesky raccoon



I packed everything onto Tilmann, then rolled over to the picnic shelter to fix my breakfast. I rolled out of the campground at 7:30. Even taking the road, which is shorter than the bike path, it was still just over 2 miles back to the entrance. 


At 9:00 on the nose (the clock bells were chiming), I crossed the Mississippi into Prescott, Wisconsin. There was no "Welcome to Wisconsin" sign, but there was this one. I thought about picking up a few groceries, but didn't see a store. It was a good thing because the road was rather hilly. I could wait until Red Wing.



Mississippi River down there


When I was in Minneapolis back in March, we drove to Wabasha to go to the Eagle Center. It was on the same highway. I was just cruising along when I happened to pass County K Rd. I glanced at my map, and realized I needed to turn there. It was just a way to get off the highway for awhile. It was nice to be on a backroad for awhile. I still came back out to the highway to go across the Wi Channel of the Mississippi. There was a ton of traffic, and no shoulder leading up to the bridge. I rode on the soft gravel shoulder (thank goodness for 2" tires!). Just after the bridge, I was supposed to turn onto another side road, but there was a sign saying "detour". I stayed on the highway, following the detour signs. A short distance later I could turn onto the road. There I passes a sign that said "end detour". Okay, that was no big deal. I still had to cross the main part of the river, but I would be off the highway until the bridge. As I rode almost to where I would get back on to go over the river, there was a sign saying the road was closed. I was planning to eat lunch across the river in Red Wing, but now I had to backtrack back to where I had turned off the highway, then ride the highway through more construction to get to the bridge. Conveniently, there was a restaurant at the marina called Harbor Bar (funny thing--I'm going to Bar Harbor in Maine!). I stopped and bought a Coke, and ate some of my own food for lunch.

So close to Minnesota!


The Red Wing sign


Refreshed, I did the backtrack, and got on the highway. It was not fun as the lane was narrow leading up to the bridge. At the point where the road I was supposed to take came out, I pulled off to let a number of trucks and cars go by. Once I was on the bridge, there was a bit of a shoulder. I was now back in Minnesota.

Crossing the Mississippi

Back in Minnesota



In Red Wing (home of Red Wing Shoes), I found a grocery store, and picked up a few things (mostly produce).


The Northern Tier route does not go the same way as the MRT (Mississippi River Trail) or US Bike Route 45. No, instead it goes over the mountain. The MRT and USBR 45 go on Hwy 61/63, a much flatter way. I opted to depart from NT, and ride the MRT/USBR 45. It was the highway, and it was pretty loud, but the shoulder was very wide. Oh, and it had also started raining.


My original plan was to go to a campground just before Lake City, but that was going to be about 54 miles. There was a state park in Frontenac that was closer. When I got to Frontenac, the sign said "Frontenac State Park 1 mile". Woo Hoo! One mile to go! Again, it was one mile to the ranger station, but then another mile up a long steep hill to the "cart-in" sites ($15). I have to say, Minnesota, I am NOT impressed with your State Parks! This section of "cart-in" sites has no water spigot. The nearest water is about a third of a mile back. The only way I found that was because I asked someone. It was not listed on the map. Also, there are no showers in this park either. At least Alton had the river for swimming. I think for the rest of my nights in MN, I will not be utilizing State Parks!


Anyway, the sun is out, and my clothes are drying. No leg cramps today. It wasn't as hot, and I drank more water.

Dry clothes, dry!




Total miles today: 48.7 (I should have just gone on to Lake City)

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