7/20/2021 – Sauk Centre to Milaca, MN

87.16 Miles / 2081.75 Total Miles

1001 Ft. Elevation Gain / 73,078 Ft. Total Elevation Gain

We knew up front that this was going to be a really long day. And it didn’t help to have some headwinds to deal with, now and again. We picked up where we left off on Lake Wobegon Regional Trail, today, and Memoryville was one of our first cool sights. Unfortunately, the place was locked up, with No Trespassing signs, so we couldn’t go in to check it out, but it was like a movie set, complete with a fake cow in the pasture.

And then, nearby, was another collection of Dinosaurs of the Prairie in the making–threshing machines all lined up, ready for another threshing machine to join them. We pushed on

Partway between Freeport and Albany, a group of 9 loaded cyclists of various ages pulled up, including 2 moms bringing up the rear. The Caniglia and Gilday families, from Camano Island, Washington, are cycling the Northern Tier westbound. They began their trip on June 1st, and are about to take a train to skip North Dakota through Whitefish, Montana, due to the kid’s school and their jobs. They are camping in 4 tents and preparing meals over a camp stove,, the majority of the time. The kids, aged 11-17, were so polite and patient! Ed and I were super impressed. We wish them well on the rest of their trip.

I rarely see people out riding bikes, but most of the small towns have art or sculptures somewhere with bikes in them.

We crossed the longest covered bridge (186 feet) in the State, to get to Holdingford. As we were cruising around and exploring the downtown, two different guys stopped to tell me and Ed about a new cafe up the trail for bicyclists. It was only 10:30 AM, so weren’t really ready for lunch, but we are all about supporting cycling, so when we finished up in town, we got back on the bike path, and it led us to BOHO. From the outside, BOHO looks like a very large house, but on the inside, it is a cafe, with a museum and art gallery all together under one roof. There were probably 8 groups of women there, for what looked like standing lunch dates.

Once we looked around and smelled the aroma of the soup du jour, we decided it was time for an early lunch. We sat down and had some soup and ice cream, and it was super delicious.

I’m not sure if Einstein really rode a bike, but he did have that famous quote, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” That is so true!

Greg, the owner of BOHO, videotaped an interview with us and took some photos for his wall. He is a recent retiree, who moved back to his home town, and he’s giving back to his community with the space he built. And the community really seems to like it. Good luck with BOHO, Greg!

Just a few miles further down the road, we came to Bowlus. It had its own little cycling pub, BOHO’s sole competitor, a nice Veterans Memorial and a modern park, for kids, and there were a bunch of them there. The wind was picking up, as we left Bowlus, and it was really going to test us for the rest of our ride.

One of the last turns on our route led to a construction zone with detours that would have been fine for a car, but not a bike. I had already ridden almost 80 miles, and I still had a few miles left to go, and now I was being asked to add on 5 additional miles. So I opted for a shorter detour on a gravel/dirt road, and that was a big mistake. Thankfully, there wasn’t a lot of traffic, but over the course of about 3 miles, I was passed about 14 times, and none of the vehicles slowed down. So they created a huge trail of dust that I had to ride through. I covered my mouth with my bandana, but my sweaty body was like a magnet for all that dust. Grrrr. After the dirt road were several miles of terribly deteriorated pavement and heavy high speed traffic. What did I do to deserve all this?

After much suffering, I arrived in Milaca and the Rodeway Inn, where we were bedding down for the evening. I was completely wasted and filthy. I parked my steed in the Veterans Parking space, because I could, and wheeled my bike and gear into my room for the night. My brain was fried. It took me about 1/2 hour to get it together enough to take a shower.

Once my bike and I were cleaned up, and my gear was somewhat organised, I walked over to a nearby Subway Sandwich shop for dinner, and the fella behind me in line, a guy named Jesse, insisted on buying my dinner. Aaaah. Things were looking up. He told me he has noticed cyclists coming through his town for years and has always wanted to do something to help them. He sat down, and we talked for a few minutes, before he had to head home to his other half. I told him he’d be a great Warm Shower’s host, and hopefully he’ll look into it. Thanks for your generosity, Jesse! My salad was amazing, and your kindness and generosity lifted my spirits after a miserable end to my ride. Good luck with your new business venture, and be sure to look me up, if you ever get out to Phoenix.

2 thoughts on “7/20/2021 – Sauk Centre to Milaca, MN

  1. Hi Eileen. Thanks for taking the time to write your daily blog posts. I enjoy reading about your daily adventures and your posts remind me that it is important to slow down and enjoy the experience of each day. PAC Tour has been going fine, but after having been on the road for 5 out of the last 8 weeks I am looking forward to getting back home soon. Yesterday was another tough day in the saddle, with a little over 120 miles and 8000 feet of climbing, topping out at an elevation of over 9000 feet at the summit of the Big Horn mountains. But when I start to get tired I remind myself that you are doing your transcontinental fully self supported and carrying what must be close to 80 pounds of gear on your bike. Yikes! I can’t imagine how much fun it must be getting your rig up over the climbs. As my Ozzie friends might say, “Good on ya, mate”! Have fun. Charlie

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    1. Hi Charlie!

      Are you writing a daily missive, like you did on your last PAC Tour? I think about quitting the blog every day. I just takes so much time, that I don’t have. But I want to write things down, so I don’t forget them. The fully loaded bike with water and food probably weighs over 100 lbs. It’s crazy to think about it, but you get used to the load, and I have some really good gears to fall back on.

      You are definitely working a LOT harder than I am. No question about that. Good luck with the rest of your ride!…..Eileen

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