2015-07-03 - MN - Day 37 - Royalton to Osakis
I woke up today a bit homesick, expecting to be on the floor of my house. Instead, the early morning air was filled with the noise of people chatting and then suddenly, an explosion. Was it a rifle going off? An overeager July 4th firework? The popping of a car tire? Nope. Barb had popped her tube. After trying really hard to sleep in, I crawled out of bed at 6:30 AM and took my sweet time eating breakfast (peanut butter and hummus bagels again) and getting ready. I finally left last at 8:45 AM. Most of the others were getting breakfast at a cafe in Bowlus three miles ahead. A half mile before Bowlus, I turned left onto the Soo Trail, following the alternative Northern Tier Route, where I soon discovered Barb and Mary, who had left many hours before. What had happened? Apparently they had turned right, following the original route. and ridden an extra twenty-seven miles. Lucas himself rode an extra few miles in the wrong direction.
The Soo bike trail was amazing. Parts of it used to be a railroad, and so it was very flat and well-paved. I passed by all kinds of trees, grasses, and yellow, white, pink, red, and purple flowers. I spotted a fox on the side of the trail with prey in its mouth. It turned its head, surprised to see me, and ran into the grasses on the other side. Later I saw a wild turkey walking around, evidence of a Minnesota conservation success story. Other animals I encountered included a cat licking blood off its fur (still a mystery), chipmunks scurrying about, and the biggest squirrel I have ever seen. I reached the first rest stop in Freeport at mile 25.5 and enjoyed my veggie skillet breakfast at the nearby Cafe Charlie, paid in part generously by Barb.
I rode a bit with others but generally preferred the uninterrupted peace of riding alone. I met four cyclotourers along the way, two of whom were riding to Alexandria from Minneapolis as part of a four-day trip. At mile 40 we reached rest stop 2 in Sauk Center. I took a brief bathroom/water/snack break while the four cyclotourers I had met earlier passed us. A number of others in my group went to a coffee shop. I rode on for the most part alone at a good speed, 15-23 mph. Some time later I saw Zach waving at me and stopped to find out that his bottom bracket was so loose that it was falling out. I continued on after helping him send his location to our support van driver of the day, route leader Emily. Before long I reached Osakis,
We stayed in a beautiful Lutheran Church that felt very modern. A hose shower was available and dinner took the form of a bagel with peanut butter, green peppers, and tomato, along with clementines and canned pineapple. I enjoyed talking to my father and brother on the phone. I was starting to miss my family.