Minneapolis, plus some news

So this post is probably going to be shorter than it would have been if I’d written it, oh, a week ago!

From Duluth we took the Munger rail-trail for a couple of days, and really enjoyed the ride. Our second night out we stayed with Mary in Harris. She did organized rides with her husband for years and sewed fabulous quilts out of the t-shirts commemorating the rides. She also had a recumbent trike that she let me ride around the driveway, man, those things are fun!

Minneapolis treated us very well, we stayed with John, someone Shawn knew through zines. We did a presentation at Freewheel on bicycle touring. Shawn’s done the presentation plenty of times, but never with me. I was really nervous at first but I think we did okay. Later that night we went out for beers and food with some of the fun cyclists of Minneapolis and just had a really good time.

I do not think I could hack the winters there. Or rather, I don’t think I could manage to continue riding a bicycle in that kind of weather. Yikes! Mad props to Twin Cities folks who brave the kind of cold that freezes your eyeballs.

Our first night out of Minneapolis we stayed in our friend Paul’s father’s condo in Red Wing. We had it to ourselves, and took the opportunity to watch TV–something Shawn and I pretty much never do. When we visited the small natural foods store in town, an employee there said, “Oh, another cycle touring couple came through just a couple weeks ago!” I replied, “Paul and Caroline?” “Yeah!” Paul and Caroline are friends of ours from Portland, doing the Northern Tier ACA route for their honeymoon, and of course they stopped in Red Wing, since it’s where Paul is from and where his dad lives. The shop employee knew Paul’s dad too.

The next night was in Wabasha, in another home with an absent resident. The next day we visited the National Eagle Center, as well as the small local bike shop, where we talked about the Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour.

A couple days later we were in La Crosse, which I already posted about.

So! Some big news! As Shawn mentions in his blog, we’ve decided to cut the trip shorter than planned. We won’t make the east coast after all.

And yeah, part of me is sad about it. But honestly, I’d rather go less distance and really enjoy our travels then make our goals but feel hurried the whole time. We plan to “finish” the trip in the next couple of years, too.

I admire people who can travel indefinitely, but Shawn and I have realized that we are not those people. We both miss having a place to call home (I especially miss having a kitchen and really cooking), we miss our friends, and we don’t relish the idea of camping as it gets colder. Thankfully, we both realized we were tired of traveling at about the same time.

We’re not totally done yet, there’s still a few places we’re going to visit, like Chicago. And I plan to keep posting!

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6 Responses to Minneapolis, plus some news

  1. Jennifer says:

    I’m going to put in one more vote for Lake Geneva!!!!!! Really!!! It’s wonderful! You can hike around the lake path at this time of year through the front yards of old mansions! Failing that, I recommend the Kettle Morraine natural areas in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is much prettier than Illiniois, trust me. Chicago’s got some cool stuff, but the area around it is an endless suburban wasteland with crazy drivers. I recommend parking your bikes and taking one of the commuter trains into the city! Anyway, I’m jealous you’re in the Midwest. I always miss Wisconsin in the fall.

    • We can’t really hit up anything that’s off the path between destinations at this point. And we’re going to Illinois specifically to visit a couple of friends in addition to visiting Chicago. We’ve taken public transit to skip suburban hells before, so it’s a possibility we’ll do it this time too.

      Here’s the thing: it turns out we genuinely like biking in the Midwest, especially Wisconsin and Minnesota, and so I’m sure we’ll be back. We’ll see Lake Geneva at some point! Just not on this trip.

  2. Erica says:

    Aw, that’s a shame, you’re just getting into the part of the country that’s not mostly just empty space with the occasional town or big city. If you make it to the East Coast in the future, may I suggest Maine to Florida? I’ve never done a long bike tour, but I hope to do it someday: plenty of towns and cities, milder weather if you start in late summer and time against the hurricane season. Plus, never too far from a beach!

    (P.S. I don’t know if I’ve posted before, but I love your blog!)

    • We do plan to finish the trip, just not this year! That’s pretty much exactly how I felt–that we were finally in a more heavily-populated area, and now we have to stop! Boo!

      Dunno if I’d want to do the whole east cost, but I definitely plan to do a lot of the west coast at some point in the next couple years.

      And thank you!

  3. MelissaTheRagamuffin says:

    You’re still my heros for making it as far as you have, and you’re right – it’s much more important that you enjoy the journey than make good time.

  4. Demondogdondite says:

    I agree with the idea of quality vs. quantity while on vacation. We took an international trip this year and saw less stuff, but really enjoyed what we saw.

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