I heard it rain gain again several times during the night, glad I was inside.
I walked out the door to glorious low temps and low humidity, the sky was blue! The weather station predicted strong afternoon westerly winds 15-20 with gusts to 25. My first 40 miles today would be NW heading to Floodwood, MN. From Floodwood to Grand Rapids it would be directly west on Hwy 2 right into the headwind. Floodwood would be MY halfway point for the day. I needed to get an early start to try to beat some of the wind and was rolling at 7:00am.
My rear end was feeling better and the AC had dried out my sandals and pretty much cleared up the rash on my feet. Eighty miles, loaded and into a headwind, would make for an interesting day.
One more along the way . . . complete with impact scar.
Passing through Cromwell, was soon on the way to Floodwood which appeared ahead in the bright blue sky. It was time for lunch.
Finally reached Hwy 2 . . . left turn into a 20 mile and hour HEADWIND for the next 40 miles!
Soon I was back on the road DIRECTLY into the headwind NOAA had forecast. This is one time I was hoping for the “tunnel of trees” to help deflect the wind. Being a major highway, but with a nice 8 foot shoulder, much of the landscape on either side had been cleared during construction, just wide enough to let the wind funnel into my face. The only good thing about it was the speed of the wind kept the horseflies and deerflies, that had been constantly buzzing around me during the first 40 miles, at bay.
Powerlines as far as the eye can see . . . heading to Canada?
A whole lot of nothing . . . on Hwy 2. Large openings REALLY did not help with the headwind issues!
A good place to head for in Grand Rapids!
Not much around Highway 2, lots of time to look around, especially at the reduced speed, and soon I spied a Camelback laying on the side of the road. The straps had been removed and I believe it was some touring riders “water reservoir” they carried on the back of their bike. It was still full so the impact had not damaged it.
Using the remaining clasp, affixed it between my rear panniers on the rack and away I went!
My big find of the trip. A Camelback that fit perfectly between the panniers. A good bleaching when I get home and it will be as good as new.
Up ahead I could see flags along the shoulder, the closer I got the more it looked like a Burley with flags. The flags looked like they were getting closer . . . the Burley was rolling towards me. Ended up being Sgt. Chuck Lewis, retired USMC, who is walking across America to Washington DC in honor of the fallen soldiers. Quite a discussion ensued. He walks about 25 miles a day pushing the custom made three wheeled Burley type rig that weighs 150 pounds with all of his gear on board! I was only the second bicycle tourist he had seen since leaving Everett, Washington. Interesting, Floodwood was my half way point today where I turned west into the headwind. Floodwood is Sgt. Chuck’s half way point across the US as he journeys east. You can see his website
Capt. Chuck and his rolling home . . .
A stop for refreshments at Swan River meant I was halfway from Floodwood and Grand Rapids. Only twenty more miles of headwind!
The “oasis” in Swan River.
Connie resting in the shade.
Funny . . . but a little out of season. Of course, the snow just left this area last week!
My destination . . . Grand Rapids, the home of Judy Garland!
But before I knew it the ride was coming to an end as I entered the outskirts of Grand Rapids.
A turn south on Hwy 169 and in three miles I was sitting in the DQ enjoying a large chocolate malt. A man and woman saw my bike outside and asked how my ride was going. I said” It was great but it’s over!” They were surprised they caught me at the very end. Three hundred feet later, I was laying on the bed with Connie propped up against the wall in our motel for the weekend.
Ally and Jeff
Good luck on the Happy Ride through your life ahead.
Sunny skies and a tailwind the whole way!
JUST ADDED: Crane attack video from Day 1. Watch at about second 10-14 to see the little chick run ahead of it’s mother on the left side of video. Click here to see video.
OBSERVATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS: It was a great ride from MSN to Grand Rapids, the first half on trails and the second half on secondary highways with wide shoulders. A tailwind all the way from MSN to Floodwood! No dogs . . . but plenty of rain. I have never ridden in such humidity and wet conditions . . . but it is all part of the adventure. People were very friendly especially when you are traveling alone. Most were amazed at what I was doing and wished they could do it if not for work, physical problems, family obligations or whatever. It’s great rolling across the countryside and through peoples town and lives. A moment in time. One thing that really struck me on this trip, especially in rural MN are the number of folks living “so close to the ground”. Many home sites reminded of the “stereotypical” Appalachian poor. I don’t think anyone would want to live that way by choice but are probably dealing the best they can with the cards they have been dealt. Makes one feel VERY fortunate for a middle class life style with all the blessings that come with it.
Next trip . . . Poland.