Welcome to Wisconsin!

Our Red Wing Hosts, Ā Abra and Holly suggested that we go down to Winona via the Wisconsin side due to a larger quantity of cute little towns, and better views.

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Beautiful Weather on the Mississippi

And I must say their suggestion was amazing. Our host in Winona wasn’t going to get there until 6 pm, so we had plenty of time to look at art galleries, and eat pie. šŸ™‚

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The Best Pie in Wisconsin

There were towns along the river about every 10 miles, We looked at the Abode art Gallery and had pie in Stockholm, Saw a winery in Peppin, and stopped for snacks along the way. The wind picked up in the afternoon, which slowed down our stopping and looking around.

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Someone made an Italian Villa/Winery in Pepin, Wi

We ran into a rider training for a Ride the Rockies, and he rode with us about 4-5 miles, letting us draft off of him. It was wonderful being able to draft behind someone in Headwinds, as so far, everyone I have ridden with has drafted behind me due to my rather wide footprint caused by my bags.

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Minnesota/Wisconsin Border

We had a wonderful dinner and conversation with our Winona host Barb. I was happy to be able to pet her cat, as May 16th was Auri’s Birthday and I missed it.

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Second Entry into Wisconsin

The trip from Winona, MN to Wilton, WI was a rather long 70 miles, with pretty severe rain, headwinds, and hills. The weather was very indecisive, and would yo-yo between raining so hard that cars would pull over to the side of the road, to relatively sunny (I removed and put on my rain jacket about 5 times.)

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The Great River Road Trail

The original plan was for us to bike the whole day on Wisconsin’s rails to trails network, but the trails were crushed limestone, which is fine when dry, but a little mushy when wet. We needed to take Highways to Wilton, which added a good 8-9 miles to our trip.

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Hiding from the rain

Tonight there is a Tornado Watch in Wilton, and severe thunderstorms, so I am super glad that I am in the Mid-Way Motel rather than in my tent. Looking outside, If I had camped, I think I may have been washed away

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I’m super curious about this tunnel

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Red Wing!

I had a pretty hectic, and fun few days off in Minneapolis. I visited the Walker Museum of Art, the wonderful and somewhat stressful IKEA, hiked around the Minehaha Falls, had Lunch at the Rolfes, sat through both David’s Commencement and my own, and did this all while hanging out with family.

David loves taking selfies ā¤

While David’s Commencement was quite long and tedious, I’m glad that I was able to go to show him support. I did feel bad about his 8 am final the next day, but I’m sure he is delighted to be done with school.

Graduation!

Commencement didn’t have quite the same finality to me, as I’ve been out of school since December. It was however much more enjoyable than David’s to go through due to having only 1 speech, less students, and having someone do a backflip on stage.

Tree filled day!

This morning started off nice with fair weather, beautiful bike trails and wide shoulders. My step father John joined me for a week through Wisconsin, and I was super happy to show off Minneapolis’s wonderful west river trail and many other Minnesota recreational trails.

A determined Shepard Dog

We did end up on some gravel, but while we were we met a very friendly dog. She lived on a cattle farm and we could tell she was used to herding as she tried to Herd John and I down the road. 

Red Wing, MN

We are spending the night with Holly and Abra, some wonderful Warmshowers hosts outside of Red Wing, MN (yes, they make the shoes here!) They gave us a run down of all the best places to stop on our ride tomorrow, and were great people to talk and have dinner with.

View from Abra and Holly’ s house!

Minneapolis!

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Dinner with the Rambling Pheasant RV Cluc – (Photo taken fromĀ the County-Line Campground Facebook Page)

On my Day off in Summit, I was running a little bit low on Food supplies (down to only 4 tortillas, and a half jar of peanut butter!) so I went into town a little bit. Everything was closed the day before due to it being Sunday, so today I was going to eat at the Bar and Grille in town and stock up on Groceries. I was disappointed when I got there that the Bar was cash only, and I was down to $2 in my wallet, and the grocery store appeared to be permanently closed.Ā When I walked back to camp, I was then super lucky and was invited to a Potluck held by the Rambling Pheasant RV Club! The company and food was excellent, and I am super thankful for the food and leftovers they gave me. I was going to join them for breakfast the next morning, butĀ I ended up talking (more like listening) to an Elder of the Santee Dakota Tribe. He told me many interesting stories about his life (He speaks at least 5 languages!) andĀ about his family. His wife had passed recently, so he seemed like he just needed someone to talk to, so we talked for a good hour and a half and I missed breakfast with the Pheasants. I am grateful for all the wonderful people I met in Summit.

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Mill in MilbankĀ SD

I went through Milbank, SD and a couple of other small towns along highway 12 before running into Minnesota

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Minneapolis Border!

Just after noon I reached the Minnesota Border!

Balloon

Laura’s Festive Decorations!

The Delay in Summit meant that I wouldn’t be able to bike into Minneapolis in time for Commencement, so Laura was super helpful and picked me up. I may go back to Ortonville at a point in the future to make up for the missed miles! I was greeted with many smiley Balloons and a hug before we went home!

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Only one trip to carry thing in!

I’m super happy to spend a couple days in Minneapolis hanging out with David and my family leading up to Commencement!

 

Hiding out in Summit, SD

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Long straight roads

I made it from Ipswitch to Webster pretty easily, getting into town right around dinner time. I found a free campsite and stayed over night, after stoping at A&W for a tasty Root Beer Float!

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Camp!

I was planning on getting to Ortonville, MN yesterday, but I was plagued with headwinds. With 20 mph headwinds, it took me about 5 hours to get 24 miles, which isn’t super good. I stopped at Summit, SD, because I didn’t want to get stranded anywhere without water.

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So many Lakes!

The winds are just as bad today, and when I tried to get started, I was blown over pretty quickly. The winds will not switch direction until tonight, so I will bunker down in Summit tonight. As I am getting close to Commencement, I talked with Laura about picking me up do to the wind not letting me get as far as I need to get there in time. I will try to get to Ortonville, MN tomorrow before getting picked up. If I feel like the need to be a completionist, I can ride back to the border from Minneapolis and back at a later point in time.

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I’m stuck in Summit, SD

Mobridge and Ipswitch

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The Scenery is evolving into flat farm lane. You can seeĀ towns coming up for about 10 miles

The tailwinds are dying down, so it is getting harder to do insanely long rides. I’ve gone from easy 90 to 100 mile days to having long 70 mile days. The weather has also gotten super sunny, getting up to nearly 90 degrees! About 18 miles from Mobridge my front rack brokeĀ after a few miles of rough road.

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After having the top screw fall out and the replacement screw break, the metal around the bottom screw of my pannier completely detachedĀ 

I had a lovely host, Laura, who was able to pick me up, because it is rough carrying a pannier on my back. Laura and her husband, Rich, needed to go to a school concert. I staying in their lovely RV for the night. The next morning I talked quite a bit with Rich about his life as a Rancher, then a Funeral Director and a hobbyist carpenter and leather worker.

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I am so jealous of the cows

The tailwinds finally died on me today, and the weather was very hot and very sunny. You can tell where I missed sunscreen, as I have a few lines of sun burn on my arms.

In all I am super excited because by Sunday, I will have crossed the Minnesota Border!

Welcome to the Dakotas!

I set off from Miles City at around 8 am, and right away had to climb the steepest hill for the Ā next couple days, Strawberry Hill.

I think this is the Powder River

The wind was mainly with me, which means I made it across Montana in Excellent time. When I got to Plevna, MT I was a bit surprised as Lance, my host from Miles City drove out to join me on my last 10-15 miles into Baker City. He told me many interesting things about the area, including about the local oil fields and points of interest at various mile markers.

Plevna, MT

I was planning on stopping in Baker for the night, but I rode in at about 3:30 and felt hungry but ready to ride. I checked out Heiser’s Bar and was surprised to see some familiar decor. The food and onion fries were delicious, and afterwards, I decided to bike a little bit farther, to Marmarth, ND.

A very Green Bay Packers themed Sports Bar in Baker Mt

I got to North Dakota shortly before getting to Marmarth. When I checked my Odometer in town, I saw that I had ridden 98 miles that day. As I haven’t biked a century yet, I decided to camp about 2 miles out of town. šŸ™‚

I spent less than 24 hours in North Dakota

The winds were good again today and I made excellent time in the 90 mile ride to Lemmon, SD! I got into town about two hours before my host was done with work, so I explored the town.

Now made it to South Dakota

I saw the Grand River Museum and I decided to stop on by. It was an interesting experience as it was an eclectic mix of trying to explain how finding a Dinosaur Fossil in South Dakota was evidence of Noah’s Ark, the Lakota Tribe History and Homesteading in the Area. They were also quite proud of Hugh Glass (the man the movie the Revenant was based off of), who was mauled by the Bear nearby.

A Creation Science/Dinosaur/Native American/Hugh Glass (the guy from the Revenant)/homestead museum

They actually had a decent collection of fossils and historical artifacts, despite the Creation Science Twist on it.

Garth the TriceratopsĀ Skull

I met my host, Mike after he was done with work. He was an excellent host and made me a dinner of venison, chicken fried steak, potatoes, salad, and ice cream bars! We watched Parks and Rec, and talked about how awesome Podcasts are among many other things.

Petrified Wood Park

We went to the grand opening of a local grocery store (which was very nice for a small town.) and ran into one of Mike’s friends, John Lopez. John is a sculpture artist and made many beautiful metal sculptures around town.

Ā Last Stand by John Lopez

 

220 miles in Three Days! Miles City!

For some reason, I am having an issue loading photos, but no worries! I thought I should at least tell everyone what I have been up to due to a couple of low to no internet! I will insert in a few, but I can not load too many.

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You can tell I am in a windy country when there are a ton of wind turbines around!
The last few days have been excellent in terms of wind as long as I head pretty much straight east! After Harlowton, I biked about 80 miles to just outside of a city called Roundup, and the next day I went a little over 90 miles to Forsyth MT.

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Chicken noodle soup for dinner!

The animal life has been super amazing to see! I raced with a horse for a half a mile after spooking it a little bit while biking past! I have frightened foxes, pheasants and many scruffy looking deer.

Today, I decided to bike to Miles City, as Lance, a Warmshowers host that I contacted got back in contact with me.Ā I’m following Highway 12 to Minneapolis, but just out of Forsyth, it joined the Freeway (which I thought I couldn’t bike on.) I decided to follow Google’s advice and unfortunately Google lead me astray and Ā onto about 25 miles of rough gravel roads. I made it about 15 miles on the gravel, andĀ a screw holding my front rack broke off and made me carry my pannier for a bit. I contacted my host, Lance to tell him I would be later than expected and heĀ came to pick me up from the gravel roads.

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A strange derelict building in the middle of nowhere

I talked to Lance (a fellow UMN Grad from the 60s) and had a great time hanging out with him. I managed to get some laundry done (Hooray!) andĀ went out to eat dinner. While there we ran into Miles, the owner of the local bike shop, which was closed when I stopped by earlier. We talked about bike trips and many other topics and he offered to take a look at my rack. Miles was such a great person and opened his shop after hours to remove and replace the broken screw in my rack and make sure that all my other bolts were nice and tight after a couple miles on gravel. He gave me his card and told me to call if I ever get in an emergency! If you are ever in Montana, Pedal Power Sports is the best bike shop to stop on by!

Harlowton

Shortly after starting biking this morning it started snowing! It was a rather cold and dreary day and didn’t get above 40 degrees until about 3 pm. I finally pulled out my winter hat and I wore my sweatpants and another sweater while riding, Just to keep warm.

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Another Cold and Windy Day

The first half of the Day went rather slowly, but shortly afternoon, I managed to get a decent tailwind!

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There were a ton of little lakes

I think I am almost out of the mountain area, as while they are still visible, the distance between them has increased significantly, and I no longer have mile long ascents and descents!Ā Tomorrow I have less than 800 ft of climb!

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The land is getting slightly more flat!

I had to unfortunately call my day a bit short, (50 rather than 70 miles) due to an old knee injury acting up, and the promise of weather that was colder than my sleeping bag was rated for. Luckily, tomorrow looks to be much warmer!

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Unfortunately the Milwaukee Museum was closed!

 

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Staying in Harlowton!

1000 miles down!

Lots of gorgeous horses

I made a mistake in my routing and yesterday I had over 30 miles of dirt/mud roads. I was about 20 miles short of my goal, due to having to change my route to get on paved roads.

Forest!

The dirt roads had beautiful scenery, and a lot of log cabins.

Random wood circles

ļæ¼ļæ¼I luckily was rescued in the last 5 miles of dirt roads after my wheels stopped spinning due to too much mud in my fenders. I feel bad for making my rescuer’s car a mess as it was full of Mud afterwards.

The road up the mountain, was too muddy to bike, so I did a bunch of walking

Cute wooden cabin

Aftermath of Mud

I ended up camping on the Road about 25 miles out of Townsend. I am reworking my route again to make sure I have no more dirt roads.

Day 2 horses!

I had a tasty lunch today in Townsend, and I had a mostly tailwind out of town through the Helena National Forest.

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Helena National Forest

The last 15 miles of today’s ride had a pretty intense headwind. But I am now over 1000 miles into my ride.

Lincoln MT

The one, The only, Gert!

I ran into Gert one last time. I went to the ACA to get my bike weighed (97 lbs!) And ran into Gert one last time (his bike was 112). We got our photos taken for ACA  (I was the 4th bicycle tourist to go through this year.) Apparently we are about a month ahead of most West to East TransAm riders.

The cutest bridge on a small Bridge I ran into on a bike path

The ride to Lincoln was a gorgeous with very few towns in between. I had an 83 mile day ahead of me so I couldn’t stop much 

The texture on this hill is gorgeous

There were many little woodland creatures around. From small furry rodents, to hints of possible bighorn sheep, or birds of prey. 

Unfortunately no bighorn sheep were spotted

The past few days I’ve seen Hawks, Falcons, Eagles, and Vultures. I’ve finally gotten a good picture after catching a Hawk take a rest on the telephone pole.

Red Tail Hawk!

The weather was almost all sunny with a couple rain drops here and there. 

Good weather biking

There’s a possibility of snow tonight, so after having a huckleberry milkshake, I grabbed a cheap motel for the night (I even bargained to get $10 off!)

A little bit of Wisconsin in Lincoln, Montana