64.42 Miles / 2219.80 Total Miles
2359 Ft. Elevation Gain / 76,753 Ft. Total Elevation Gain
I don’t know what the deal is, but every day, when we are in our last 10 miles, I think to myself, “I don’t think I can make it.” The miles drag on and take forever, and there always seem to be a few last minute hills to make things harder. Then, when I arrive our destination, I feel completely wasted. Maybe I have iron poor blood. Naw, I’ve been taking my vitamins. I think I need an attitude adjustment.
Today, we started out on a “Rustic Road,” whatever that means. It just seemed like any other road to me. When we reached St. Croix Falls, we hopped on the first Rails-to-Trails path that required payment, the Gandy Dancer Trail. We didn’t know how good we had it, when riding the 200+ previous miles of free rail trails. This trail started out paved, then switched to double track gravel (I want my money back), which is not my favorite cycling surface, though it beats the heck out of torn up pavement.
It was hot and humid within a few minutes of hitting the road, and got worse as the day progressed. Add to that the fact that, other than the rail trail, which was relatively flat, the rest of the day was rollers. Endless rollers. And the wind was out of the south, while our route zigzagged northeast, so part of the time we had a cross wind, and part of the time we had a gentle tailwind.
At one point, there were fields of corn, green beans or soy beans on both sides of the trail, with a wide swath of trees on both sides of the trail. So the spots where farm vehicles come through, to maintain the farm, were all marked with little tractor crossing signs.
In Balsam Lake, we stopped at a convenience store for second breakfast. Could all these extra meals be putting extra pounds on me? My clothes are not feeling looser, after all this exercise. I worry! What if I’m gaining weight?
I received a resupply box, yesterday, mailed by my wonderful neighbors, Mat and Lucy. When we got to Cumberland, I found the post office and mailed all my empty bottles, unused clothing, etc., home. Unfortunately, it had zero effect on the weight of my bike and gear. Also, while in Cumberland, we ate a delicious lunch at Louie’s on the Lake, a spot recommended by a lady I bumped into, that happened to be right on our route.
When we arrived in Haugen, we were hot and sweaty, and gritty, from the gravel rail trail. We stopped at the little grocery store in town, bought a cold drink, and sat under a shade tree for a few minutes, before proceeding the final 2 miles to our campground.
As we neared the campground, some unusual yard caught our eye. When we stopped to snap some photos, the owner of the house came out to inquire if we were camping in the RV park. Turns out that he is the owner. He followed us to the park to show us our camping spot, but before we got to it, he asked us how long it had been since we slept indoors. “Last night.” He still offered us a deal on one of his KOA cabins, but didn’t tell us what the deal was. We went along with it, because it’s nice to be indoors and have electricity and a refrigerator, and it saves us time setting up and breaking camp. Also, there was room on the covered patio for our bikes, which means no dew to deal with in the morning. Ed headed over to the shower, and just a few minutes later, the skies opened up, and it rained like crazy. He was stuck in the shower, and I was stuck in the cabin, for probably an hour. And we were both thinking how lucky we were to be in that cabin instead of our tents.
The campground had a little restaurant/bar, with tasty pizza and fast wifi, so we set up blog central and worked on our blogs for a few hours. When the owner came by our table to collect payment for our accommodations, we were shocked, when he only charged us $20 for a night in a cabin. Which brings me back to that age old question that keeps coming up. Are we blessed, or are we lucky? We have been amazed by and thankful for the goodness, generosity and kindness of people along our route.