When we entered Minnesota on Sunday, we were very upset to find that there was no “Welcome to Minnesota” sign so that we could take our usual “another state line” photo. It’s happened to us before (Louisiana, Wyoming to name but a couple of States), but it’s always a bit of a downer. Well, today we definitely received our WELCOME TO MINNESOTA loud and clear from the lovely people that we met.
But first we should say that the riding today was out of this world. When it comes to cycling, Minnesota has got its sh*t sorted. Today, we rode out of our hotel in Park Rapids on a dedicated cycle lane for about half a mile, and then onto a 12 foot wide, paved bike path for 60 miles that dropped us, you guessed it, about half a mile from our hotel in Bemidji. They only completed part of the bike path a couple of months ago, and had resurfaced some of the existing parts, so it was a pretty smooth ride, with beautiful flora on each side (and the occasional bit of fauna…birds, deer etc). It was like our own personal conveyor belt from hotel to hotel. We did take a quick break half way in a chi-chi little town called Walker, where Kat was pleased to get her latte fix (which has been missing for a while), but even then there was a “spur” to take us into downtown Walker so we didn’t have to rough it with the traffic. What more could one ask for?
So, perfect cycling, but even better than that, some truly lovely people along the way. Just North of Walker, we met the Kellogg family who had jumped on their bikes to cycle up to the lot they had bought on the side of Lake Leech in Walker Bay. Looking like the healthiest family in the world (see photo), they tried to persuade us to have a swim in the lake with them and we were sorely tempted, but thought that we had better press on to our destination. Great to meet you guys!
Then, when we arrived at our hotel, which is on the side of Lake Bemidji, we though it would be churlish not to go for a swim in the lake. Soon after diving in, a boat approached and the guys on board started to shout hello and offer us a beer! As they threw a couple into the water, and Anthony performed his search and rescue exercise perfectly in order to pluck them from the bottom of the lake, we swam over to join them for a while on the boat. Turns out that they are a bunch of guys and girls from the nearby Thunderbird camp, who were kicking back on their day off. They included boys and gals from several countries, including the UK, Australia and Israel as well as the US, and we spent a pleasant 30 mins or so chatting and drinking beer before they kindly dropped us off at the jetty of our hotel, so we didn’t have to swim back. A special thanks to “Zeke” (we’re not sure about the spelling) who kicked it all off by throwing us the beers and inviting us on board! Thunderbirds are GO…..
A perfect day!