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A month on the road

Tomorrow will be 4 weeks since we left home.  As we reflect on our experiences it seems like ages since we left Kat & Will’s home in Seattle.  We managed to deviate several times from our intended route thanks to advice from several of our Warmshowers hosts.  Our biggest detour was another Amtrak ride across the Great Plains.  Apparently crossing that huge expanse of open space does not appeal to us. Today we are enjoying a day off in Milaca, Minnesota due to rain.  Tomorrow we head towards another rail trail that will take us north to Duluth.  Physically we are in much better shape.   Our spirits are high and we look forward to our continued roll eastward to points unknown.

So, rather than reinventing the wheel each time we post we have decided to copy our periodical Facebook posts here on our blog. We’ve also consolidated our pictures on our PHOTOS page.   We hope you enjoy!


June 8 – After 4 days on the road we can say so far so good.  Admittedly we are tired.  We’ve been hosted by three wonderful host families along the way and we spent an afternoon with a good friend.  Our ride out of the Seattle metro area was a breeze thanks to an excellent trail system.

Iron Horse Trail

 

We crossed Snoqualmie pass traffic free by using the gravel Iron Horse rail trail.  Today we are taking a day off to rest and watch the rain.  Tomorrow we cross another mountain pass before dropping into the Columbia River valley.

 


June 9 – Officially crossed the Cascades today.  Enjoying a cold one to commemorate the event.

Made it over the Cascades.

 


June 10 – A few sights from the past few days.  We rode over the Cascades into apple and cherry country. Tomorrow we ride along the Columbia River before turning east again.

June 10 – Teamwork.  A well oiled machine.  Tent Video

 


June 12 – We made nice progress today thanks to favorable winds.  The insanely unhealthy hamburger at the end of the day was worth every mile.

 


June 13 – Just over a week into our trip and we are knocking on the Idaho border.   A sign that our touring legs may be coming back is two consecutive evenings where we did not want to crawl into bed before 8 o’clock.  We’ve rolled along the Columbia River and climbed up to the central Washington plateau.  We rode with the wind across fields of flowing wheat.  Friendly people continue to cross our path.

Apple Orchards – Wenatchee River Valley

Columbia River

Leaving Odessa, Washington

 

June 13 – Today’s wind in the fields and how the passing truck made me move.

 


June 16 – We spent Wednesday night in Spokane with Warmshowers hosts Satish, Annie and Brian.  They treated us to an evening of great conversation and a nice BBQ dinner.  The next morning we continued east on the Centennial Trail.  The traffic free ride took us across the Idaho border to Post Falls.  We decided to spend a couple days catching up with our friend Karen.  She has even promised us a musical performance on Saturday!  On Sunday we resume pedaling.

Washington Idaho border. There was no border security.

Our friend Karen showing off her amazing voice!

 


June 21 – Sometimes when you are on a bike tour you get tired. Pickup trucks that give you a lift that also include a sweet lap dog named Roxy are wonderful.  Regrouping in Kalispell today.

Roxy

 


June 23 – We made it this far by turning the cranks. Tomorrow we go way east of Glacier National Park while relaxing on Amtrak’s Empire Builder.

Glacier National Park

June 23 – Since our Post Falls, Idaho stop last week we managed to cover a few more miles.  We are now sitting in Whitefish, Montana.  To get here we rode 50 miles of Idaho’s famous paved Trail of the Coeur D’Alene.  We also enjoyed an 80 mile truck ride to avoid a relatively sketchy section of highway thanks to the kindness of Plains, Montana resident Kelly.  Interestingly, the day before, he passed us on the highway while driving his farm tractor.  He even had the audacity to taunt us with a “I’m winning” yell as his tractor “sped” past us.  For some reason we thought we might see him again.  Little did we know that he would offer to give us a lift.  After saying so long to Kelly in Kalispell we were treated to a wonderful stay at the home of hosts Betty & Thom.  They are very active hosts for fellow bicycle travelers thanks to their generosity and close proximity to Glacier National Park.  They had some great stories to tell about hosting fellow cyclists.

So here we are in Whitefish waiting for another train.  Last year we ended our tour here before taking the train to Portland.  This year we have decided to once again forgo the Great Plains so our shortcut tomorrow will be a train ride to Fargo.  From Fargo we continue east across Minnesota.

Trail of the Coeur d’Alene

Had to send some excess luggage home…again.

Great Northern Railroad mascot – Whitefish, Montana

 


June 30 – Last week’s train ride from Whitefish to Fargo was for the most part uneventful.  We enjoyed (again) watching the Great Plains go by from the comfort of a reclining seat.  On this trip we were permitted to roll our bikes into the train baggage car without the need to box them up.  That turned out to be very good because we arrived in Fargo just after 3am.  With no need to put our bikes back together we simply loaded our gear and hit the road for a middle of the night ghost town ride to our hotel.  Jacque enjoyed riding the night time streets.  We arrived at our hotel to find an unattended front desk.  Thirty minutes later we found someone to check us in.  The next afternoon we started our ride across Minnesota with a retrace of last year’s route along the Central Lakes and Lake Wobegon rail trails.  We said hello to the Rothsay giant Prairie Chicken, Otto the Otter in Fergus Falls and Big Ole the Viking in Alexandria.  We never saw signs for the largest ball of twine. Maybe next time.

Taking a break on the trail

Our hosts Jen & Jan – Bowlus, Minnesota

On day three we left last year’s route with a northeast turn onto a beautiful tree covered section of the Lake Wobegon trail.  We ended the day at the home of Warmshowers hosts Jen and Jan who live in the small farming community town of Bowlus, MN.  They welcomed us with cold beer, gave us a place to pitch our tent and made their home available to get cleaned up.  They had plans with their bicycle club so we had the evening to ourselves.  Another cycling guest Nancy was also staying with us.  The three of us walked a couple of short blocks for dinner at Jordie’s.  The restaurant is a real gem for Bowlus.  Overnight we were treated to thunderstorms.  The tent did it’s job and kept us dry.  The weather forecast for the day was also poor.  Jen and Jan graciously permitted us to stay another day.  They even played tour guide taking us to the Minnesota Fishing Museum (Little Falls) and a couple of Mississippi river viewpoints.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Bowlus.

After Bowlus we left the quiet traffic free rail trails and rode on roads to Milaca, MN.  We passed miles of farms on gently rolling terrain. We also experienced first-hand more “Minnesota Nice”.  Along the way a local in Gilman unlocked the city park bathroom for our personal use.  Upon our arrival in Milaca another local spontaneously hollered at us “Welcome to Milaca”.  At the laundromat a customer welcomed us to camp in her yard.  Earlier in the day we called the Hinckley Visitors Center to see if they have a campground (tomorrow nights destination).  We left a message on their answering machine.  Our own reasearch suggested the answer would be no.  Shortly after leaving our message we received a return call from Tim.  He confirmed our suspicions.  No campgrounds in Hinckley.  However, he offered to let us set up our tent in his backyard!  We accepted his kind offer so tomorrow we get to meet more friendly folks.  As mentioned previously, “Minnesota Nice”!

So there’s our update.  In Hinkley we ride north on the Williard Munger rail trail (thanks to Jen and Jan’s suggestion) towards Duluth and Lake Superior.  From there we continue east.

The people we meet continue to be the best part of bicycle travel.

 

4 replies
  1. Bonnie Brock
    Bonnie Brock says:

    So, you 2 are off again on another fantastic adventure. I am enjoying a couple of days in KC with the Miller’s. So good to see them. Be safe. Bonnie

    Reply
    • John
      John says:

      We are indeed on another adventure Bonnie. Life is short! We hope you enjoyed your time with the Millers.
      Take care,
      Jacque & John

      Reply
  2. John
    John says:

    I had no idea you spent time in Minnesota as a child. If we had known we would have told Ole hello for you. There are so many great places to fish here. We miss you two too!

    Reply
  3. Timothy Miller
    Timothy Miller says:

    I see you made it to Alexandra! Been there many times as a child to fish at lake Mary. I remember that Viking!!! Wonderful and magical place….to quote Ritchie! Miss you two!

    Reply

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