We overstayed our welcome at the continental breakfast and hit the road by a causal 12:30 pm on the morning of the 12th. Within a couple miles of leaving town, Google Maps took us down our a gravel road, and then another, and then another. We looped through Minnesota farmland and appreciated not being on the highway. This was one of the most fun days of riding. It was so unique. We road 10 to 15 miles on the gravel trails and then rejoined the highway. We camped for the night by a baseball field in the town of Wykoff, MN. We saw our first fireflies of the trip and befriended a woman named Ruth who owns a fudge shop. It did not lead to free fudge.
We woke up excited, today we knew we were riding in a paved bike trail for the majority of the day. Our excitement was well met. The trail was over 40 miles of pavement tunneling through wild forest and fields. The towns along the trail seemed to have found new life from the creation of the trail. Once old railroad towns, they are now quirky communities embracing bicycles riders and pastry eaters. We took our time.
We found out 8 miles of the trail was closed and instead of going back to the highway, we embraced our new off-road confidence and took an adjacent gravel road. Horrible choice. After a day of easy riding we were now pushing our 70 pound bikes up a gravel hill dripping in sweat. One of our toughest hill climbs of the trip. As soon as we could, we got back onto the closed trail. The pavement was scrapped off but was still better than gravel hills. After a mile or so, we surprised a construction worker who immediately scolded us for being on it. He told us a we had to get off because they're scrapping off more pavement farther up the road; we followed his orders. That is until we got ahead of the construction crew. We raced down the forbidden trail with smirks on our face. At lunch we were able to laugh about the gravel hill.
We crossed the Mississippi River and ended the day in La Crosse, WI. Crossing the river felt like a big deal, so I had Kyle take a picture of me, you can see the humidity in the picture. We stayed with a lovely Warmshower host that gave us beer, pizza, and friendly conversation as soon as we stepped foot in their house. We enjoyed a day off swimming, beer drinking and exploring the Mississippi by boat. Wisconsin was outdoing itself.
Photos: Riding the Root River Trail//Sweaty and humid on the Mississippi//Boat ride on the Mississippi with John and Jolynn, we're having fun but doesn't look like it