Intense humidity was on the menu for today. After idling through a very hearty breakfast this morning, we didn’t get our wheels rolling until 12:00pm! Which wasn’t anything to panic about, as we only had to negotiate a 30-mile ride into Stillwater, MN. The planned route was 95% dedicated cycle path: ‘University of Minnesota Bicycle Transit Trail’ followed by the ‘Gateway Trail’. And these weren’t your average bike paths …oh no! These trails were the size of your standard County Highway. It took a while to getting used to cycling in the middle of what felt like a major road without fear of being mown down by fast approaching traffic, but we soon became accustomed to it...
2 miles in and everything was looking and feeling nice, apart from the humidity, which was causing Anthony to sweat from his eyeballs. Fortunately, we found FREEWHEEL BIKE, a bike shop that had all the items in stock for which we had been searching for the past 3 months. Anthony finally got a new rain stopper jacket to replace his old one that was as watertight as a colander and a new cycling vest to cope better with this crazy hot weather. Kat got her wheels, brakes, rims and gears serviced by Graham aka ‘Cracker’ and, with help from Jason, managed to buy some new shoes. She was a little disappointed that the designer was Sidi and not Ferragamo, but she’s pleased to finally say goodbye to Foxy Feet. We must have spent close to 2 hours in the shop having a great time chatting with Jason, Graham and the rest of the staff; and customers, Dr Reza and Tonya (see photos) who were all just great ‘nice’ people, who made us feel very special …Thanks guys.
Saying farewell to everyone and with Kat sporting her new fancy shoes, we had a very nice cycle all the way into Stillwater. Following a quick diversion into St Paul to take photos of the Cathedral and the Capitol Building, we arrived at Ann Bean Mansion and were greeted by the exceptionally nice owner Jeremy (and two glasses of Pinot Grigio) who showed us to our unbelievably nice room.
We bet you’re now thinking, “things cannot possibly get any nicer”. Well you’d be wrong. Because as we walked down the very steep steps hewn into the side of the very steep bluff that overlooked St Croix National Scenic River and ended up at the bottom on the main street of the very chic downtown Stillwater, lined with great bars, restaurants, architectural shops and lots of pretty things. We chose to eat in Marx, a fantastically nice restaurant. Amy our waitress was gorgeously nice and looked after us all night. It was Amy who coined the phrase ‘Minnesota Nice’ and how very right she is. She even sent us off with a complimentary slice of Banana & Blueberry cheesecake …thanks Amy.
We’ve experienced nothing but niceness whilst we’ve been in the state of Minnesota and we’re sad to be leaving it tomorrow.
Wisconsin here we come!