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TRIP 2017

Update #16 - July 23rd
Trempealeau, Wisconsin
Mission Trip 6,817.58 miles (10,908.13 km)
Year Total : 4,866.35 miles (7,786.16 km)



The ride across Wisconsin is progressing at a fast pace. Instead of staying on the Mississippi River till Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, I'll be cycling through the LaCrosse, Wisconsin area and then swinging Southeasterly tomorrow away from the Mississippi River. I'm taking a more direct route to the Beloit, Wisconsin / Rockford, Illinois area. Once I get into the Rockford, Illinois area, I'll be turning Eastward a little bit so I can ride South along the Fox River Bike Trail between Elgin and Joliet, Illinois.


July 12, 2017 : Lakota, ND to Crookston, MN : 83.92 miles (134.27 km)
Trip Total: 6,309.01 miles (10,094.42 km)
Year Total: 4,357.78 miles (6,972.45 km)

I had a good afternoon and night at the motel. It was really good that I had stopped when I did instead of trying to get closer to Grand Forks. I might have got caught in the path of the thunderstorms that had large hail and tornadoes. The storms went from 4 pm to 9 pm. Several of the large storms went across the state line into Minnesota. One storm had multiple funnels in it.

I went to bed around 10 pm. I woke up around 6 am. Because there was a cafe/restaurant, there wasn't a free breakfast. I got breakfast off the bike. I left the motel around 7:20 am. Before leaving the Lakota, I stopped at a gas station for some milk. the sky was pretty overcast and it was windy. The wind was coming from the Northwest. The ride East went okay. By noon, I had ridden almost 33 miles.

The afternoon ride went okay. Along the way to Grand Forks, I rode through quite a few bands of rain showers. I stopped at a Subway near the Grand Forks Air Force Base. I took my time eating because I had to wait for a shower band to go through. About a quarter of a mile down the highway, I was surprised at finding a tennis shoe that looked like it might fit me. About two hundred feet down the highway, I found the other shoe in the pair. I was really surprised at finding out that the shoes fit me. They were probably brand new because the laces weren't laced all the way up. The shoe laces were bright pink. On the west side of Grand Forks, I stopped at a Walmart to buy some black shoe laces and some extra food. It's really good that I found the new tennis shoes because the ones that I had picked up alongside the road in Texas were pretty worn out.

Right passed the Walmart, I got on a paved bike trail that took me most of the way to the Red River Bridge. I was going to cross the bridge on US 2 over the Red River but it was under construction. I changed my route to ride through the downtown area so I could get on Bus US 2 into East Grand Forks, MN. After taking some pictures near the state line, I stayed on BUS US 2 through East Grand Forks. I was going to stop to try and find a church that might have a Wed night service, but I decided to keep on going.

I got into the small town of Fisher around 9 pm. I stopped at the Trinity Lutheran Church. The parsonage was dark. There was a lady in the office on the second floor up front. I got her attention by calling out to her. She was the secretary who was working on the church bulletin. The pastor, Rev Mike Nelson, was gone for the week at a Christian camp. Several guys in the church council were contacted including one of the police officers. Since there wasn't a consensus to let me stay in the church overnight, one of the guys offered to take me to Crookston in his pick-up truck and get me a room at one of the motels there.

I'll be riding to Bagley tomorrow. I'd like to see if Rev Mattson is still at Faith Lutheran Church.



July 13, 2017 : Crookston, MN to Fosston, MN : 46.29 miles (74.06 km)
Trip Total: 6,355.30 miles (10,168.48 km)
Year Total: 4,404.07 miles (7,046.51 km)

I had an okay night at the motel even though it was short. It was a little after 11 am when I fell asleep. I woke up around 5 am so I could update my website. I left the motel a little after 7:40 am.

I rode through the downtown area. Once I got out in the open in the country, I was getting real cold. The temperature was in the fifties and there was a stiff wind from the North. After about six miles of getting really chilled, I stopped to rummage through my clothes pannier and pulled out my cold weather clothes. Once I got them on, I felt a lot warmer. Because of the cross/head wind and the rough shoulder of the highway, I only got 19.5 miles in by noon. This was 13.5 miles short of what I did yesterday by noon. I stopped alongside the road and got something to eat out of the food pannier.

Right after lunch, the wind seemed to die down some and shift direction so it started to get a little warmer. Around 1:30 pm, I was in the small town of Mentor. I stopped at a gas station for a break. It had gotten warm enough that I was able to take my jacket off but keep my cold weather clothes on. I got a small Powerade to drink. Before I had finished up the bottle, this lady came up in a golf cart. We started to talk to each other. After about five minutes, she told me to come back inside and she would buy me something. I thought that it was just going to be another Powerade for later but she told me to get some other things. The lady bought me a hot dog, a small bag of trail mix, a loaf of wheat bread. At the counter, the lady also bought me a small bag of Wisconsin summer sausage bites and cheese curds. This was the fist time that I've had cheese curds. I have the lady a copy of the Issues magazine article. Outside the lady gave a hug before she left. In all, I probably got at least $10 of food.

The afternoon ride went okay. The road shoulder was a lot smoother. I was going to push it to Bagley but I opted against it because before I had left the motel room in Crookston I had checked out the website for the Lutheran church in Bagley and saw that the pastor who I had met was not there any more. When we met back in 2015, Rev Mattson did tell me that she was conservative and was having some problems with the liberal views of the ELCA. Push come to shove, she told me that she would probably quit being a minister if she was forced into a compromising situation with the liberal standings of the church. I stopped at a rest area South of Erskine for a break. The temperature was in the seventies so I took off my long sleeve t-shirt.

It's so nice to be out of the prairie. I'm seeing a lot more trees. I'm in the transition zone. Soon, I'll be back in the pine forests.

I got into Fosston around 7 pm. There was a sign that told of $5 tent camping at the local park. I stopped at a gas station for something to drink. While I was finishing up my drink, this lady came up to me to slip me a GH. It was enough to pay for my camping fee if I chose to camp out. I found the police station but it was closed. There wasn't any phone number to call after hours.

I rode around the town to check out the churches. I stopped at the Kingo Lutheran Church (ELCA) because I saw there were cars there. There was some kind of business meeting of the church council. I got the chance to speak to the council. The pastor's wife invited me to stay with them at the parsonage after the meeting. I learned from the pastor (Rev John Ragan), that the lady minister at the Lutheran church who I had met in June 2015 in Bagley, MN had been fired by the church in Dec 2015. After that, she took her name off of the roster of Lutheran ministers so she couldn't be called to serve another ELCA church. The church has been struggling since then. Rev Ragan has been a minister for 31 years since 1986. He has been here at this church for almost two years.

Tomorrow, I'll be riding to Bemidji. I'm going to try and see if the nice elderly lady who I stayed with in 2015 is still around. If not, I'll get on the Paul Bunyan bike trail and start the ride to St Cloud and try nd find a place to camp out along it.



July 14, 2017 : Fosston, MN to Paul Bunyan Trail (RP6)(Benedict, MN) : 75.87 miles (121.39 km)
Trip Total: 6,431.17 miles (10,289.87 km)
Year Total: 4,479.94 miles (7,167.90 km)

I had an okay night with Rev and Mrs Ragan in the parsonage. I had a good supper, shower, and got my clothes washed before I went upstairs to bed. I didn't get my journaling done before falling asleep. Around 2:30 am, I woke up to go to the restroom and check out my clothes. They were dry so I packed them up and took them upstairs to my bedroom. I woke up around 5 am, I finished my journaling, updated my website, and packed up my clothes before going downstairs around 6 am. After packing up Alice, I had a good breakfast.

I got on the road around 7:20 am. I had a good ride East to Bagley. There were a few hills to cross. I got into Bagley around 11 am. I stopped for a short break at a gas station. A couple of miles out of Bagley, this guy stopped in front of me. I wasn't sure what to expect because the guy was shirtless and his body was covered with a lot of tattoos. The guy told me that he had lost his cell phone between Bagley and Bemidji. He gave me his mother's phone number and told me if I happened to come across his phone he would pay me $100. Before he left, the guy told me that he was a Christian.

A couple of miles out of Bemidji, a guy on a touring bike rolled up behind me. He stopped to talk a little bit. He told me that he had started from Seattle June 26 and was cycling through canada to Bar Harbor, ME. I got off of US 2 at MP 111 West of Bemidji. I didn't see the guy's cell phone.

Before going into downtown Bemidji, I stopped at a BK for a late late. The ride into the downtown area took a little longer than what I had planned. After stopping to take pictures of Paul Bunyan and his ox Babe and getting a couple of maps from the visitor center, I got on the paved Paul Bunyan Trail heading South. The ride out of Bemidji was hard because there was road construction at every intersection because they were installing handicap ramps with textured pads. The pads were missing. I crossed the Mississippi River. On the Southern edge of Lake Bemidji, it was a little confusing because there were no signs. I inadvertedly started to travel North towards Cass Lake but I caught myself in a couple of hundred feet and I turned around so I could cross the bridge over MS 371 and then head South towards Brainerd.

The ride to Guthrie went okay. Between Guthrie and Laporte, the bike trail was closed because they were replacing an eight foot gutter. The closed section was 2.5 miles long but it took me an 8 mile detour to get around it. Once I got back on the trail, I had plans to get down to Walker to see if I could find one of the shelters but it got dark too fast. I had to stop alongside the path North of Benedict and find a place to camp out in some trees, tall bushes, and high grass. The mosquitoes were pretty bad. It was about 10:30 pm when I crawled into my tent.



July 15, 2017 : Paul Bunyan Trail (RP6)(Benedict, MN) to Paul Bunyan Trail (MP 36)(Pequot Lakes, MN) : 47.83 miles (76.53 km)
Trip Total: 6,479.00 miles (10,366.40 km)
Year Total: 4,527.77 miles (7,244.43 km)

I had an okay night camping out. It did take a bit of time killing all of the mosquitoes that got into the tent. I did spend most of the night outside my sleeping bag but around 3 am I woke up and crawled into the sleeping bag. Around 5 am, I woke up. I was back on the trail around 6:40 am.

The ride was okay till about Walker. I had a hard time finding on the Chinkobi Connector Trail that took me into downtown Walker. The trail wasn't marked that well. It was supposed to be six miles but it seemed a little longer. I did stop at a gas station for a short break.

Once back on the Paul Bunyan Trail, the ride was okay except for the flies. They really swarmed around me and kept up with me since they were caught in my draft. I did have a fox run across the bike path in front of me. I saw several deer, rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks. It was also interesting watching a small bird chase a hawk away.

I got into Hackensack around 11:20 am. There was a Seventh Day Adventist Church. People were there for church. I thought that I would stop. I went around the block to the church. The people were really friendly. When I got into the Sanctuary, the elder who was leading the service stopped to welcome me. I was given the chance to share. I was pretty impressed with what I heard and saw. I heard more Christian Scripture than what I heard from quite a few Christian churches that I had visited. There was a meal after the service. Since I was a guest, I was the first in line. One of the older guys sat down with me and he slipped me a GH. One of the younger guys sat with us. He asked if I really needed something. I told him that it would be good to not have to deal with the mosquitoes and have some place inside for the night. Instead of getting approval with some of the others elders for me to stay over in the church for the night, he offered to get me a room for the night. There wasn't anything available at the small motel in town so he reserved me at a motel between Jenkins and Pequot Lakes. I did have to ride 25 miles to get there.

The ride South to Jenkins went okay. A mile south of Jenkins, I met up with another cycle tourist going North. He had started from some place in Massachusetts and was riding to Seattle. He was going to turn west to Fargo, ND but I told him hat it be better to not follow the advice of Adventure Cycling and go North up to Bemidji and then get on US 2 to Seattle.



July 16, 2017 : Paul Bunyan Trail (MP 36)(Pequot Lakes, MN) to Fort Ripley, MN : 50.27 miles (80.43 km)
Trip Total: 6,529.27 miles (10,446.83 km)
Year Total: 4,578.04 miles (7,324.86 km)

I had an okay night at the hotel. It was one of the best hotels that I've stayed in a long time. I was able to get some good rest. I woke up around 5 am because I didn't finish all of the things that I started last night. There was a good free and hot breakfast. I was able to pack up a few things for the road.

I got on the road a little after 8 am. It was a short ride back to the Paul Bunyan Trail. I passed on going to a Baptist church because I thought that I was in the area of a church that I had stopped at back in June 2015 and stayed in their cycling rest area. It was on a week day and I told myself that if I had ever gone back through on a Sunday I would stop and attend service.

When I rode passed the church, I wasn't really sure that this was the right place because the "Welcome Cyclist - Rest Stop" sign was gone along with another sign that said "Pasties available here". The church was the Grace United Methodist Church. It was about 9:15 am when I got there. There wasn't a sign outside saying when the service was. The service had started at 9 am. When I finally got into the narthax, an older guy came up to me and asked me kind of gruff what I wanted. I told him to go to church. This was no way to welcome anybody who showed up. When I got into the sanctuary, somebody was praying so I waited to be seated. An usher gave me a bulletin and directed me to sit up front. The service was sort of like a stage show but instead of a drum set, the lead person of the praise team played the bongoes. From what I saw, the congregation was an older group. There were a couple of young children who came up. Most of the older youth had gone on a mission trip this morning to Kansas City, Kansas. There were prayer cards in the pews and these would be collected before the prayer time. I tried to put down what I wanted to say. When it came for the pastor to read the prayer requests, he kind of stumbled and called out my name. I told everybody about my praise that I had ridden almost 6500 miles so farin the trip and I was getting close to 264,000 miles. When I finished, there was a lot of applause. After the service, several of the older ladies who were close to me slipped me a couple of GHs.

I was hoping that the pastor would have been open to allow me to stay over inside because I've ridden almost 300 miles since July 11 in Lakota, ND where I had stopped for a short day because of bad thunderstorms/ tornadoes between Lakota and Grand Forks, ND. The pastor told me that he had only been at the church three weeks so he passed me off to the head of the administrative council. I was told that there was going to be an administration council meeting after the fellowship time and he told me that I should wait for the decision. The people who talked to me in the fellowship hall were pretty friendly towards me. A couple other people slipped me GHs. One of the ladies wanted to write me a check but I told her that there would be no way that I could cash it. I told her that the best way to help me out financially if she couldn't do with a Gh would be an online donation through my ContinueToGive campaign.

After about waiting 50 minutes in the fellowship hall, I went back to the sanctuary where the administrative council was meeting. I sat in one of the back pews. It was pretty strange seeing just a dozen people sitting up front and passing around wireless mikes to speak. They were discussing on to replace a stove in the kitchen that was malfunctioning. They were getting ready to vote on the purchase of a $7000 professional stove when one of the guys told them that he could find a cheaper one online at a site where equipment from closed down restaurants could be purchased. I had to wait about ten minutes after the end of the meeting to find out what could be done with me. The pastor wasn't the one who talked to me. The guy who I had talked to came up to me to tell me that since there was nothing going on that day after the service there was no way that I could stay over in the building. When an administrative council is involved, the teachings of Christ are shoved to the side.

It was about 11 am when I got back on the trail heading South. I wished that I would have stopped at the Baptist church, which was the church that I had passed over. In Nisswa, I stopped at a Dairy Queen to get an over-priced small strawberry sundae. Between Nisswa and Brainard, I met up with several people who were riding recumbents. Only a couple of them stopped to talk with me. I also stopped to talk with a guy on a touring bike. He told me that he was going on a three day training ride to get in shape for a 500 mile trip later on.

In Baxter, I stopped for a late lunch/ early supper at a BK. Between Baxter and the Crow Wing State Park, I stopped at a farm that had goats. I took some great pictures of the goats and a short video. I got the goats to answer back. There was also a very interesting looking Little Free Library. I replaced one of the paperback books that I've been carrying. The bike path had me cross the Mississippi River twice. I finished up the Paul Bunyan Bike Trail in the Crow Wing State Park. There were a lot of twists and turns because the path followed the Eastern edge of the Mississippi River. The MRT came off the Trail about a half mile into the state park. I rode to the visitor center / rest stop on MN 371 for a short break. The information center was closed. I took a couple of pictures of the Paul Bunyan Statue.

the ride down MN 371. I took a short break at a gas station in Fort Ripley. Around 8 pm, I found some open woods between Fort Ripley and the Camp Ripley Military Reservation (National Guard) to camp in. There weren't that many mosquitoes. I was close enough to Camp Ripley that I heard to playing of Taps.

I'm going to try and make it to St Cloud tomorrow. I had heard that there was going to be high heat tomorrow with the possibility of thunderstorms in the afternoon.



July 17, 2017 : Fort Ripley, MN to Sartell, MN : 48.53 miles (77.65 km)
Trip Total: 6,577.80 miles (10,524.48 km)
Year Total: 4,626.57 miles (7,402.51 km)

I had an okay night camping out. The mosquitoes weren't that bad. I woke up around 6 am. I was hoping to get on the road soon but I found the front tire soft. This was the first time that I had to work on the front tire since Spokane, WA. I found a pinhole leak. I didn't find anything inside the tire. It didn't take too long to fix the pin hole leak.

I was on the road by around 7 am. The ride South went okay. I followed local roads to Little Falls. I stopped at a gas station ror a short break. I also stopped to check out another Little Free Library. Coming up from behind me was a local guy riding a Rans V-Rex SWB recumbent. He told me that he could take me through the downtown area and then onto a quiet road that would take me into St Cloud.

The guy wasn't riding with a helmet and he didn't have any safety accesories like a slow moving vehicle sign or a flag. The guy scared me with his cycling because instead of riding in a bike path or a shoulder he would ride right close to the center stripe of the lane. When a car came up behind him, he took his time going to the right side of the road. On the way through the downtown area, we stopped at the local bike shop. I had stopped there back in June of 2015 to see if he could recommend a welder to fix a broken crank arm or if he had a used crankset that would fix. The owner was a preacher before he opened up the bike shop. My picture was taken and his wife got me a cup of cold water. The guy on the recumbent took me a mile or two out of Little Falls.

the ride South went okay. After cycling about 23 miles, I had to stop and fix the front tire again. I found another pinhole leak. I checked the tread of the tire and I pulled out a couple of small stones. I was able to get about 24 miles by noon. I stopped in some shade for a break. Before I got back on the road, this guy stopped to talk to me.

The ride into Sartell went okay. It was around 4 pm. I saw a sign for the Celebration Lutheran Church. I got to meet the sr pastor but he had to head out. He passed me off to his assistant. She tried to find somebody in the church to host me but she couldn't so she offered to get me a room at a hotel a couple of miles to the South. Before I left the church, she also slipped me $20. She told me that there was a McDs close to the hotel. There was a Subway across the street from the hotel so I stopped there instead.

Not sure how far, I'll get tomorrow. There is supposed to be high temps in the upper 90s tomorrow afternoon with more thunderstorms in the late afternoon. I just might ride as far as Elk River. I'm 150 miles away from the WI state line.



July 18, 2017 : Sartell, MN to Monticello, MN : 38.83 miles (54.13 km)
Trip Total: 6,611.63 miles (10,578.61 km)
Year Total: 4,660.40 miles (7,456.64 km)

I had an okay night at the hotel. I'm glad that I was inside because a major storm rolled through the area late afternoon. There was a good hot breakfast. I was able to pack up some food items like fruit cups and small cups of yogurt.

It was about 7:40 am when I headed out. The sky was overcast and it had stopped raining for a bit but it looked like it was going to rain again. I got out my jacket and put it on. During the weather broadcast on the morning news on tv, I saw that there was a large band of thunderstorms that stretched down into Iowa that were traveling East towards the Twin Cities. The storm might hit the area that I am in by late afternoon. There was a really large band of thunderstorms that hit the same area late yesterday afternoon.

A couple of blocks down the highway, I stopped at a Walmart to get some supplies. Before leaving the parking lot, I got into a conversation with a guy. He told me how his 13 yr old daughter had been killed in a car accident a couple of years ago and he has formed a ministry with the help of others (Emily's Angels) who helps people. He gave me a small donation.

I followed the roads next to the MS River into St Cloud. I was able to find the MRT. Somewhere in the downtown area, the signs for the MRT disappeared. I had to do some dead reckoning through most of the downtown area. At the St Cloud University campus, I found the MRT again but it was really strange. It went across the MS River to the East side. Instead of going to the right (South) like it should have done it went Left (North). This was wrong so I went back across the MS River bridge and sought a road that went South through the rest of the Southern part of St Cloud on the West side of the River. I was able to find one. My route took me South along MN 7. I stopped at a McDs for an early lunch.

After lunch, I got on MN 75 which was the Great River Road. By noon, I had ridden about 20 miles. The road crossed over I-95 several times and then it paralleled the interstate on the East side with the MS River to the East of me. I stopped at a park in Clearwater. I stopped at a small picnic shelter and waited out a couple of bands of rain. I headed out again but I got caught in some showers without my jacket on. I got on the Beaver Pond Bike Trail (paved, rails to trails) for a few miles before getting back on the shoulder of MN 75.

The ride to Monticello went okay. I got into Monticello around 3:45 pm. The first church that I came to was the Trinity Lutheran Church. Inside the church, I saw that the church was very socially active because there were barrels and baskets to collect things like food itens for a local food pantry, boxes of shoes (Soles For Souls), a box for glasses, other boxes for empty ink cartridges and pill boxes. The pastor was meeting with the administrative council but she asked me to wait. After the meeting, she and the gentleman who was the president of the council talked with me. I was told that the church was starting the process of joining a inter-faith program in the area that houses homeless families especially over the winter months. Normally, the current procedure is that if somebody stays overnight there has to be a church member staying over night with them. The gentleman told me that he couldn't stay with me overnight because he had to get to work by 4 am. He was one of the groundskeepers at one of the local golf courses. There was some discussion about what could be done with me especially because of the pending storms. There was going to be a exercise meeting of some women between 6 pm and 7 pm in the fellowship hall which also served as the sanctuary for a hispanic church that meets Sunday afternoon. The stipulation with that group was that there shouldn't be anybody else in the church while they were exercising. I was given the option to use a room in the basement where some of the youth met. The room wasn't really the main room where the youth met. The room was designated as storage but there were sofas and chairs. The room is connected to a stairwell that isn't used and also connected to a side door that isn't used. Alice was brought inside into the stairwell upstairs and I took what I needed for the night downstairs. To make sure that there isn't any conflict with me being in the church unattended I've got to be out of the church by at least 7 am.

I'm about 43 miles away from Minneapolis. Tomorrow, I'd like to get through Minneapolis and St Paul and then possibly try and find some place either inside or a place to camp out on the East side of the MS River between St Paul and Newport. Once I get to St Paul, I'll have a ride of 24 mile to Port Douglas, MN where I'll cross the confluence of the St Croix River to Prescott, WI.



July 19, 2017 : Monticello, MN to Lilydale, MN : 64.79 miles (103.66 km)
Trip Total: 6,676.42 miles (10,682.27 km)
Year Total: 4,725.19 miles (7,560.30 km)

I had an okay night at the church. The room down in the basement didn't get that cold. The sofa was comfortable and I didn't sleep all the night in my sleeping bag. I did wake up around 5 am so I could finish the journal entry from last night. I told the pastor that I would be out of the church by 7 am but I was back on the road by 6:40 am.

The ride in the morning went okay. I did have a little problem with following the MRT. The route wasn't properly marked out. I got about 22 miles in by noon. I stopped at a McDs for some lunch. There was a bike trail to follow along the main highway most of the way through Anoka. I was getting kind of concerned with the sky because it was getting dark in the West and it looked like it was going to storm.

I made it through Thompson Falls and Coon Rapids okay. In Columbia Heights, I had to stop at a park alongside the Mississippi River and stayed put in a picnic shelter for about an hour because of rain. I was getting ready to leave when this group of people in several cars pulled into the park and pulled coolers on wheels into the shelter where I was. It turns out that this was a small wedding reception for a young couple who had just gotten married in another section of the park in the open. I got invited to take part in the meal. The meal was basically a picnic with cold cuts and there were just a dozen people. It was pretty good and I was able to pack up some of the cookies and pieces of cake.

It was about 4:30 pm when I was able to get back on the road. I rushed to get into Minneapolis. My original plan was to get into Minneapolis, get on University Avenue, ride it to St Paul, and then get on the MRT along the MS River there. I got caught up in evening rush hour traffic so I made it straight to the MRT in Minneapolis.

It was a pretty confusing ride because there were a lot of gaps in the MRT signage. In the ritzy area of Falcon Heights in the Powderhorn Park , I met a young guy who seemed to be out of place amongst all of the fancy expensive homes. He was standing at a street corner holding up a small cardboard sign. I stopped on the other side of the street and asked him if he was hungry and wanted a couple of peanut butter sandwiches. The guy told me that his name was Jeff and yes he was hungry. There was a picnic bench close by and we sat there. Jeff nearly gulped down the sandwiches. He was amazed that I kept on pulling out food from my food pannier to give to him. He told me that he was trying to get some money so he could wash up what little clothes he had that were in a small open mesh athletic bag. I pulled out my wallet and slipped him $3 in a GH. He was hesitant to take the money but I told him that it was okay. Jeff said that I had given him enough food for at least three meals. I told him about James 2:14-27 and Matthew 25. In essence, while I was giving Jeff a feast I was giving a feast to Jesus as well.

Once back on the bike trail, I had a confusing ride that was made difficult by other cyclists who were racing on the bike path. The speed limit on the path was 10 mph but they were all going much faster. I got lost on the grounds of the VA Medical Center and also in the athletic fields of the former Fort Snelling. I had to ask several other cyclists for directions. For some reason, I couldn't fathom that I was riding a stretch of the MS River that had a S Curve. I thought that I was beyond St Paul but I had to actually ride to St Paul and cross the MS River there to get on the right portion of the MRT that would take me to WI.

Just beyond Fort Snelling, I had to ask several cyclists how to get across a bridge over the MN River at Mendota. There were no signs. I was getting concerned that it was getting late and the sky was being lit up by lightning. A thunderstorm was getting ready to come through the area. I was really happy when I finally got on a paved portion of the MRT that went through a woods North of Lilydale. I found a place in the woods that had never been used by humans and was away from both the bike trail and a nearby road. I got the tent up and my things inside about ten minutes before the rain started up in earnest.

I'm probably six miles out of St Paul and I've got to find the right bridge to get across the MS River to the right side for the MRT to WI.



July 20, 2017 : Lilydale, MN to Diamond Bluff, WI : 51.74 miles (82.78 km)
Trip Total: 6,728.16 miles (10,765.06 km)
Year Total: 4,776.93 miles (7,643.09 km)

I had an okay night in my tent despite the rain. The thunderstorm rolled through the area around 10:45 pm but the tent stayed dry inside. After the storm had gone through the area, there was the occasional loud huffing sound from a deer not to happy that I was in the woods with them.

I got back on the trail around 6:30 am. It was a short ride into St Paul. The problem that I encountered was getting on the bike trail that would take me to the right bridge into St Paul over the MS River. I found the bridge but the entrance way was blocked. I had to follow and alternate route to the other side of the bridge. The bridge was under repair but the sidewalk portion was open. Once I got into downtown St Paul, I had to find my way to the bike trail along the Mississippi River through the morning rush hour congestion. There weren't that many signs. Once I finally got on the trail, I hit a large section of the trail closed and I had a hard time finding an alternative route around the closure. The signs were really poor. I stopped at a BK in Newport for an early lunch.

The afternoon ride had a lot of confusion through Cottage Grove. Signs at major turns were missing. I had to backtrack several times to try and locate the signs for the bike route. About 10 miles away from WI, I hit another snag with a road closure. Construction crews were putting in a new overpass at the intersection of US 61 and MN 19. I was able to walk over the new bridge even though it was closed but I had to get Alice up a steep grassy slope to the right frontage road along US 61. The entrance to the frontage road was closed with a huge pile of old asphalt.

About 4 miles from Prescott, WI, US 61 because unrestricted access so I was able to ride along the shoulder. I stopped at a gas station for a short break. I hit about a 2 mile coast down to the St Croix River.

It was about 5 pm when I crossed the St Croix River into Prescott, WI. I stopped to take a few pictures. I got on WI 35 heading south which was the Great River Road. I stopped at a park near the Great River Road Discovery Center for a break. The ride South along WI 35 went okay. Around 7 pm, I decided to call it quits for the day and found a spot to camp out in some woods of Christmas trees about three miles North of Diamond Bluff.

I'll be riding South along WI 35 till about LaCrosse and then I'll be leaving the MS River and find a South-easterly route to Beloit, WI and from there I'll head South into Illinois.



July 21, 2017 : Diamond Bluff, WI to Pepin, WI : 34.69 miles (55.50 km)
Trip Total: 6,762.85 miles (10,820.56 km)
Year Total: 4,811.62 miles (7,698.59 km)

I had an okay night in my tent. I got serenaded by a lot of frogs croaking. I slept pretty well all through the night on top of my sleeping bag. I did have to change and get out of the sweaty and clammy clothes.

It was about 7:25 am when I got back on the road. The sky was pretty overcast and it looked like it was going to rain. I stopped to put on my jacket. A couple of miles down the road, a guy touring going North went passed me. He didn't have any panniers and he was wearing a small backpack. There wasn't any time to stop him and talk. About five more miles down the road, a girl on a touring bike zipped past me going South. She just had a handlebar bag and a small bag on top of her rear rack. Pretty sure that she was doing a credit card tour and stopping at motels every night.

In Bay City, I had to stop at a gas station to wait out some rain showers. I waited about 25 minutes. Before leaving Bay City, I watched this guy removing railroad rail sections off of his semi-truck trailor using a large robot arm. The guy remotely controlled the arm with a wireless box that he manipulated with one hand. I took a short video of the arm at work. When done, the robot arm folded itself up on a hanger.

In Maiden Rock, I had to wait out more rain showers under a picnic shelter. There was electricity so I was able to charge up my laptop and my other electronics. I spent a little over an hour at the park. I could have camped there in the park but they wanted $15 for a tent. The campground was quite exposed between the railroad and Lake Pepin. The wind was strong and the grass was really wet. Once the rain stopped, the sky became clear and I was able to take my jacket off.

I got into the Pepin area a little after 6 pm. Pepin is supposed to be the birth town of Laura Ingalls Wilder but she lived 7 miles out of town and was more closer to the town of Lund than Pepin. The town looked familiar. I was going to try and stop at the Lutheran church but I remembered that I had stayed at the Methodist Church on a previous trip. The pastor was away bbut her sons were in the parsonage next door. I was able to speak to the pastor over my cell phone and she gave me permission to spend the night in the church. I had stayed here before on July 08, 2010. I was back through here again on June 07, 2013 but the Methodist minister was away so the Lutheran minister got me a room at one of the local motels for the night.

I'm really cranking out the miles. This is going to be the 4th week in a row that I've cycled over 300 miles. For the month so far, I've cycled 1,063 miles. That's 15 miles less that what I did the whole of last month. Right now, I'm 2,250 miles from the Pacific Ocean and 1,425 miles from Kittery, ME. Just North of LaCrosse, WI, I'll be turning SE away from the MS River and heading to the Beloit, WI/ Rockford, IL area. Since Sun, June 25th when I crossed over the Continental Divide at Marias Pass in MT, I've cycled 1,384 miles. I'm really hoping that I'll be in a position to take some time off the road Sunday afternoon. The last time that I had a partial day off was Tuesday, July 11th in Lakota, ND and that was 537.76 miles ago.



July 22, 2017 : Pepin, WI to Trempealeau, WI : 54.73 miles (87.57 km)
Trip Total: 6,817.58 miles (10,908.13 km)
Year Total: 4,866.35 miles (7,786.16 km)

I had an okay night camping out in one of the classrooms at the United Methodist Church. The main part of the fellowship hall was being filled up with articles for a rummage sale. I found a thick piece of carpeting that had been cut to be a runner to use under my sleeping bag so I didn't blow up my sleeping pad. I slept okay even though I was a little bruised from the fall that I had on the wet concrete at the gas station in Maiden Rock. It was good that I didn't really break anything. There was a slight bruise on my right knee and a small bit of road rash on my right elbow.

I woke up around 5:30 am. I left the church around 6:45 am. One of the pastor's sons was up and he wished me a safe trip. Before leaving Pepin, I stopped to check out the Laura Ingalls wilder Museum. She was born in the area between Pepin and the small village of Lund. On the wall of the museum was a map of her and her families' travels in the Midwest. I had visited quite a few of the spots during my previous mission trips. Also, I stopped at a gas station for some milk.

The ride South went okay. I was able to make about 21 miles by noon. I did get caught in a brief rain shower in Nelson. Once the rain ended, the sky cleared up and it became hot. I stopped at pretty well every picnic shelter I could find. I made sure that I drank a lot of fluids because I didn't want to get bonked.

Between Alma and Cochrane, I met up with some cyclists who were going North. They didn't have any panniers or camping gear on their bikes. They all had the same cycling jersey. On one of it's sleeves, I think that I saw the stylized spoked wheel logo for Adventure Cycling. This could be one of their tour groups. None of the groups stopped to talk with me. I was able to call out to them to ask them where they were going to and where they had started, I heard the words Washington state and New Hampshire. There were six sets of between three and four cyclists.

The temperature was in the high 80s so I stopped at every park that had some kind of shelter and most of the gas stations that I came upon for something cool to drink. I took my last break at a gas station in Centerville. Between Centerville and Trempealeau, I looked for a place to stealth camp but there wasn't any place.

I got into Trempealeau around 6 pm. There wasn't anybody around the ELCA Lutheran and the United Methodist churches. I found out that there was no pastor at the Lutheran church. By stopping at somebody's home, I was able to connect with the president of the church council at the Methodist church. He contacted the pastor who actually lived in Alma 37 miles to the North. I had ridden through Alma and had stopped there for a break. Supposedly, I had ridden right passed the pastor's house without knowing it.

I was given permission to stay in the church for the night. I was also given permission to stay over tomorrow. The last time that I had ridden nearly zero miles on a Sunday was July 02nd in Glasgow, MT. That was 1041 miles ago. The last time that I had a complete day off was June 16 in Hayden, ID (the day after my 61st birthday) and that was 1,736 miles ago.



The next update will be posted between July 30th and August 06th.




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