Day 51, Alexandria, Minnesota to Bowlus, Minnesota.

Today I rode 67.09 miles (108 km) for a grand total of 2309 miles (3716 km). I can almost smell the Atlantic Ocean from here. Hmmm, maybe that’s just Lake Michigan?

When the work crew spotted me, they started waving me away. At least they have a sense of humor.

As I proceeded north from the expensive Super 8 motel, I encountered the same work crew I had seen the night before. There were working on a different side of the highway from where I ruined their work. When they spotted me, after I took the photo, they started waving me away and laughing.

Today was more rail trail riding, all the way to Bowlus. It was mostly level and there was a bit of wind, but nothing I couldn’t live with. I’ve been wondering if Conor and Aidan have finally outpaced me and left me behind. I didn’t see any sign of them when I arrived in Bowlus. The town has a very nice park and we can camp there, but they charge $10 and there is no shower. There is a washroom and restroom. Why do they call it a “restroom?” I don’t know of anyone that actually goes there to rest.

Jordie’s Cafe, Bowlus, Minnesota

The Adventure Cycle Map says to contact Jordie for camping information. Jordie has a cafe directly across the street so I went to find the details. The staff there was very warm and friendly and I immediately felt at home. Jordie was meeting with a vendor but a server explained that I could camp in the park for $10, or if I wished, camp at Jordie’s Cafe for free. Neither had showers and both had nice green grass. This was a no-brainer, even for me.

Another couple of riders showed up, Kate and Graylon. We started chatting and I found out Graylon is also a radio amateur, AA7GV, from Seattle, Washington. Of course, this meant that Kate wouldn’t have anyone to talk with for the rest of the evening. Graylon’s doing a ride from Newfoundland to Seattle. I’m wondering how much “winter” he will hit in the Cascades?

We set up camp right in the outside dining platform.

Everything in Jordie’s place has a bicycle theme to it. They are very supportive of the long distance riders and knew our needs. Jordie invited us to put our bikes up on their outdoor covered dining area once the day ended and even invited us to put our tents up there so they wouldn’t get dew on them during the night. We all did. “Cowboy” camping (sleeping without a tent) wasn’t an option, the mosquitoes were hungry.

Jordie’s was having a special on burgers tonight, half-off the price. I couldn’t resist and gave in and had a burger. The previous night, at the Depot Express Cafe they were giving veterans half-off on any meal. Two nights in a row with a price break, life is good.

The lake made famous by Garrison Keller on his radio show, “The Prairie Home Companion.” The Lake Wobegon Trail.

I set up the radio and made a bunch of ham radio contacts, the furthest being a guy in Pinellas county, in Florida. He didn’t mention the hurricane, and I didn’t ask.

It was a nice cool night and I looked forward to a restful sleep.

Author: Dennis Blanchard

Dennis Blanchard was born in Bristol, Connecticut. He and his wife Jane moved to New Hampshire in 1980 where he has climbed thirty 4000-foot mountains, biked the trails and enjoyed the wilderness. Never living very far from the Appalachian Trail, Dennis was always aware of the seductive siren’s call to hike it. Dennis is an electronics engineer who has freelanced for amateur radio, technical and motorcycle adventure magazines. He now lives in Sarasota, Florida.

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