I’ll Have Spam, Spam, Spam, Baked Beans and Spam

Hank – Kathy and I slept in and had breakfast at the Blue Belle Inn. Today was to be a short 25-mile ride to Austin, MN. We rode back into town and checked out the white deer display. A white deer lived near town in the 80s. After it died they had a taxidermist fix it up. We also discovered St Ansgar has its own bike share program. A simple one but they have one nonetheless. Borrow the bike and bring it back.

While we were checking all that out, Judy Ask stopped to talk to us. After hearing about our adventure she asked us to come down to the newspaper office. They were closed so Judy took some photos of us hoping the paper would do a short article. She was super nice.

The ride to Austin followed a quiet Iowan county road connecting to a quiet Minnesota state highway. We had a short detour when we followed  County Road 105 to Carpenter and failed to turn north on S70. S70 becomes Minnesota State Road 105. When you look at the map you just see 105 so I thought the county road turned north. It only added two miles so no harm done.

We arrived in Austin and stopped by the Rydjor Bike Shop. Clever Norwegian language pun there. I asked for Intel on routes going east and on good restaurants. Savanna was very helpful. We were headed towards the restaurant she mentioned when we saw the Piggy Blues BBQ. Sorry, Savanna, we couldn’t pass that up. And it was delicious.

Next up was the SPAM museum a half block away. The rain had already started so we hustled over with our bikes. Steve, one of the SPAMbassadors who is also a tourer, came out to talk to us. Next thing you know we’re talking to Michelle and other employees who were taken aback by what they described as our audaciousness. We handed out several of our retired  business cards with our blog address. We saw all the exhibits and were reminded of how popular SPAM was on Guam when we were stationed there in the 90s. And we successfully avoided buying souvenirs in spite of how appealing the SPAM bike jersey was.

There was a break in the rain and we hustled over to the Rodeway Inn. The room is kind of air conditioned, the white towels are a dingy gray, and the wifi leads you to believe the owner has a vested interest in ensuring you can’t access the internet. Calling the place a two star hotel is a generous act of kindness. But it’s all part of the adventure. It’s not always daisies and roses you know.

Tara has a cycling friend, Terry Fox, who met up with me and kindly provided a map showing the route we planned to take tomorrow. He and his wife, Jan, also treated me to dinner and a beer for which I am very grateful.

Kathy – It was nice to get a room in the bed and breakfast last night with the heat index registering 106 degrees after our 51 mile ride yesterday. It was a beautiful place, with great staff and a really comfy bed.

We enjoyed our breakfast and headed out to see the town’s white deer. Kinda cool looking. It was wonderful to meet Judy as we were leaving town. What a great gal!

The total of 30 miles today was very pleasant. Pretty flat with beautiful countryside around us the entire way. The temp was 93 degrees today with 99% humidity and the heat index registering in at 101 degrees. Another hot one.

I planted my flowers in Iowa before leaving the state. We passed a beautiful country cemetery and at the entrance there were two columns that needed a little perking up, so I scattered my seeds there (a half pack in front of each column). The white daisy will make a great addition to the cemetery entrance. Shush, don’t tell anyone I did that. 😉

We made it to state # 10 today – Minnesota! Our stop today was in Austin, Minnesota. Had a great lunch before heading over to the spam museum. It was really fun to visit this place. Lots of history along with silly trivia and cute displays to add to the overall charm of the place. We met some nice people working there too that were interested in our travels after seeing our bikes.

We got a hotel tonight since they do not allow camping in their city park and because thunderstorms are moving in tonight. I was happy to arrive at the hotel just before the thunderstorms hit. It’s a pretty low budget hotel with your very basic needs covered. I’m keeping my pannier bags up off the floor just in case any critters are about. I haven’t seen any, but it’s not the cleanest place so just taking precautions. I stayed in the hotel for a little down time tonight while Hank met up with a local cyclist to discuss future routes. It was a good day.

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  1. Maria Kavanaugh July 14, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Hi guys glad all’s going good. Dan is jealous, cause he’s been wanting to check out the spam museum. Maria


    1. When he does, be sure to check out the Piggy Blues BBQ, too. I hope all is well with everyone in Volin. Our visit there is a highlight of our adventure.


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