Friday, September 1, 2017

Sept 1--Day 81--Fin, Fine, Fertig!

Which is all to say...DONE! Yep, I finished! Somewhere around 4300 miles, 12 states, and two Canadian Provinces.


I'm glad to be done. I think the weather has been telling me it's time. It was pretty cold again this morning. In fact, I rode in my long sleeve shirt the entire day (okay, I could have taken it off toward the end).


My concern about the Gandy Dancer Trail did not materialize. I did the trail, but did not see another soul.

Gandy Dancer Trail

It's funny--Wisconsin charges to ride their unpaved paths, and there is no one on them. Minnesota, on the other hand, paves their paths, and charges nothing to ride them. There are tons of people riding the Minnesota paths. Hmmm...of course, that's just my limited observations.


I had one final second breakfast in Osceola, Wisconsin, just before crossing the St. Croix River into Minnesota. The Belgian waffles were pretty good. 


I was pretty lucky because the St. Croix Bridge is due to close on September 11. If I had taken more days off like I originally planned, I very well could have been coming back at, or after that time. It would have sucked to have to detour to another bridge. As it was, I rode across, and into Minnesota. Sadly, no Welcome to Minnesota sign.

St. Croix River

Minnesota over there



The worst part of today's ride was the headwind when I was heading south. But, I guess I can't really complain too much because I could have had a lot more headwinds coming west. 


I haven't seen any other touring cyclists for many many days now. For my last day, I met Reed and Nu (pronounced New, but I'm guessing at the spelling). They were heading to the UP in Michigan. They were riding road bikes with very little gear.


I finally made it to the Gateway Trail. The first part was not part I had done when I left Minneapolis. I came to the junction of the Gateway Trail and the Browns Creek Trail (to Stillwater). This is where I had turned on my way east. Of course I had to stop.

Where I had been 81 days ago

There were two guys there, Dave and Lloyd. I told them I had been there 81 days ago, and in the meantime had ridden over 4000 miles. The remaining part of my ride was the stick on my BIG lollipop ride. They were impressed. They said I had great legs for someone who is 52. I said I was 55. Dave said he was going to guess younger. They were funny guys. 

Dave and Lloyd



The last 20 miles took me past the big snowman in North St. Paul, to the end of the Gateway Trail (close anyway), through construction on Wheelock Pkwy (that wasn't there when I left), past Como Park and Zoo, through the craziness of the Minnesota State Fair, and back to My Sweet Baboo and Little Miss. Grayson was sleeping when I arrived (the only way Mallory had gotten him down for his nap was by telling him I'd be there when he woke up).  


When he woke up, we did the same photo we did when I left, only this time Harper is also in the picture. 





I'll compile some stats for a final post later, but this tour is fin, fine, fertig!

What's this telling me?

I think I'm getting the idea

Oh yeah...I'm at the END!


Aug 31--Day 80--Out of the Woods, and the Last Night

Yes, I definitely think I have left the Northwoods of Wisconsin behind. It was back to farm land today, including the occasional dairy farm. At least the roads continued to be rolling, giving me one of my higher average speeds of the trip at 10.7 mph.


Fall really seems to be in the air. While it is sunny with no clouds, it's not terribly warm. In fact, it's downright cold in the morning. It was in the low 50s this morning--brrrr!


I finished riding along Chetac Lake.

Chetac Lake

It seems most of these lakes, even if they are pretty big, are mostly for fishing. I have not seen any waterskiing, nor jet skis either. Maybe they have a rule about speed and noise??? A guy yesterday told me this area is mostly about tourism. I could see that by the number of lodges and boat rental places I've ridden by.


The biggest town I went through today was Cumberland. I stopped at a cafe and had breakfast for lunch. Generally, I'm more a fan of link sausage than sausage patties, but the guy convinced me the sausage patty was much better than the link sausage. It was made by a local place called Louis' Meats. Since I didn't have both, I can't say whether the patty was indeed better than the links, but the patty was pretty tasty.


I went to the library to upload the last two day's posts. As you will have already discovered, the photos didn't upload on the Fur and Feathers post. I tried various things, but nothing seemed to work. The photos were there on the app I use, but didn't upload on the blog itself. It's a mystery...


After Cumberland, I had about 25 miles to go. It was a bunch of straight, either west or south heading roads.

Really straight road

When I was going west, I had a nice tailwind. I hammered out the miles pretty quickly. I found another error in the map narrative and map itself, but only for the direction I was going. The narrative said to turn onto 185th. The problem was that, although the other end of the road had a sign that said 185th/Bunyan Rd., the end I was coming onto only said Bunyan Rd. I figured it out after continuing down the road I was on, and coming to 180th, then 174th. I thought I could just go down 174th, but that was a dead end road. I went back to Bunyan Rd (180th only went the other way). 


I made it to DN Campground. I was curious as to what the DN stood for. Turns out is stands for "Do Nothing".

Sign at the campground

As usual, the place is filled with seasonal RVs. Some places are more permanent looking than others. This is another place with a bar. I think this is now the third Campground that has had a bar. I guess there's not much else for the seasonal "campers" to do than sit in the bar all day. Sounds like fun to me...not!


Tonight is my last night! I think I have around 65-70 miles tomorrow. There is one potential issue that has to do with a trail called the Gandy Dancer Trail. It is another Wisconsin trail that requires a trail pass. The problem is, the end I am starting at apparently doesn't have a self-pay station, and the place where I'm supposed to get the pass doesn't open until 10:00. So, what I'm going to do is try to get to it as early as possible, ride the 4 1/2 miles...and not get caught. If I do get stopped, I'll just tell them I couldn't wait until 10:00. Fingers are crossed!



I've decided 3 is the magic number today. Harper is 3 months old today. In 3 days, it will be Grayson's 3rd Birthday, and I'm on tent site #3 for my last night!