Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day 50: Minneapolis, Minnesota (Not quite the Promised Land, but I'll take it!)

Well, after pushing hard for the seven days after my rest day in Pierre, SD, and covering over 450 miles in that time, I finally arrived in Minneapolis on Saturday, as planned. Laura had already arrived late Friday night (by plane) from Brookings, SD, where she actually had business on Thursday and Friday. A very happy reunion was had! Naturally, the first thing we did was go to the local bike shop (One on One Bike Studio), where a very friendly and attentive Gino (a nice change from some NYC shops) took care of replacing both my tires and my chain.

My back tire, after about 3,500 miles (2,436, by my count, on this trip so far, and over 1,000 before that, while training), really was pretty worn -- no thanks to all the gravel, no doubt! My front tire and chain probably each had a few hundred more miles left in them (the front tire carries less weight than the rear and thus wears more slowly), but with 1800 miles or so still left to go to get to NYC, prudence seemed to dictate replacing them while in a major city with a good bike shop.

And speaking of gravel, I did start out today's ride, as planned, on the significantly improved, crushed limestone surface of the Luce Line State Trail heading East out of Winsted. But when I got to the first paved crossroad heading South -- which would add 5 miles to my trip, but take me to the paved Dakota Rail Trail -- I didn't hesitate for long to take the plunge. Five miles south on Route 33 (with a strong West crosswind), to the town of New Germany, MN, to be followed by about 4 miles due East on Route 30, would get me to the trailhead for the Dakota Trail, in Mayer, MN.

The only fly in the ointment was when I got to New Germany and turned left onto to Route 30 -- I saw a bunch of construction and detour signs. Yup, Route 30 was closed. Yikes. But a little further investigation revealed that it was closed for about the equivalent of 3 city blocks. With a bit of help from a friendly local, I was able to circumvent the construction (at only the cost of some mud on my shoes and tires), and then head East, toward Mayer, on a completely empty road and with a nice tail wind! So that was great.

As was the Dakota Trail. A definite trade up from the Luce Line -- both in paving and in being routed beside, between and among numerous lakes. I also finally began encountering lots of other bicyclists -- and enjoyed riding and talking with many of them, who, after spotting my panniers, often would initiate a conversation about where I was coming from or going to (hello, in particular, to Kurt and John).

So the ride into Minneapolis and to our hotel in Downtown was lovely and, thanks to all the connecting bike trails, almost fully traffic-free. Minneapolis really is a bike-friendly city.

Sunday and Monday are days of rest and reconnecting with my wife -- so this blog is officially suspended until Tuesday. On Tuesday, Bob and I hopefully will have figured out where we're going next (Upper Peninsula of Michigan or down the Mississippi to LaCrosse, WI?). Unknown as of yet is whether we will be willing to get back on our bikes after the luxuries and pleasures of the weekend.

Here are today's route and metrics:



  1. Big-time congrats on making it to Minneapolis, I look forward to the next leg of your travels.

  2. Enjoyed meeting you on the trail, and I look forward to following your travels on the blog!

  3. mark becker3:51 PM

    congrats, roger! hope you enjoyed the -- well deserved! -- champagne! :)

  4. It was great meeting you Roger, I'm glad you found Minneapolis to be bike friendly. Best of luck with the rest of your journey!