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Root River Trail

Hank –  This morning I noticed a bathroom scale in the bathroom in Pat’s shop. I weighed myself and learned I am down to 150 lbs from 164. That means I’ve lost my winter weight along with the winter weight I gained over the last 6-7 years.

We were on the road a little after seven. The humidity was so thick we were covered in sweat in no time even though it wasn’t all that hot. Not too far out of town we passed by Charlie Bobs bike shop. What a shame it was too early on a Sunday morning to meet Charlie Bob. Google maps said we had a slight downhill all the way to Preston. Of course, we know Google maps is not our friend. We crawled up one side of each roller and screamed down the other for 23 miles.

When we got to Preston we had about 10 minutes to wait for the Sweet Stop and Sandwich Shoppe to open. Mike and Brenda have a great place. Kathy and I had breakfast sandwiches. Mine was a wheat bagel with ham, cheddar cheese, egg, spinach, banana peppers, and chipotle sauce. I had two and they were awesome. We wished them well on their upcoming marriage come September 1.

We got on the Root River Trail and what a treasure that is. It’s been around since the 1980s and it was repaved last year. All the towns along the trail are members of an organization that promotes the trail as a destination and they benefit greatly from it. Aside from Boise this has been the greatest concentration of cyclists we’ve seen yet. There are a handful of shelters along the trail that appear to allow overnight camping. We stopped in Lanesboro where I had a slice of rhubarb pie and Kathy had ice cream. Then we stopped in Whalan where we made some bicycle-related purchases and arranged to have them shipped home. Next was Peterson where we were going to stop but there was no room at the two B&Bs. So we rode another 4 miles to Rushford and got a hotel room. Everyone has told us the heat and humidity have been unusually high this year. Rather than sweat the night away in a tent we shelled out for a room. On the bright side, I haven’t had to scratch any insect bites for two days now. Today was over 50 miles long but it didn’t feel like it. Much of the trail is shaded by trees so it didn’t feel as hot as the temperature gauge said it was.

There’s an excellent Italian restaurant in Rushford. Great food and wine. I capped the evening off with ice cream at the Creamery for dessert.

Kathy – Well, I’m only down 5 pounds but I know I have gained a ton of muscle. 😄 We slept well on the floor of Pat and Kim’s air conditioned shop last night and locked the place up before heading out just after 7am.  Much appreciation to them. Our 23 miles to Preston, Minnesota was super foggy due to all the humidity in the air.  Yes Google map said it was downhill…which is true, after every uphill.  Rollers the entire time, but the beautiful rolling landscapes made up for it.  In Preston we met Brenda and Mike who couldn’t have been nicer.  They have a great place with excellent food and drinks.  So happy we had breakfast at their place and met them. Wishing them the best with their upcoming marriage.

Preston, Minnesota is where we hopped on the Root River Trail and I must say this is one of the most beautiful bike trails I have ever been on, simply spectacular!  It reminded me of the Hood River, Oregon Bridge of the God’s Half-Marathon route that I did two years ago during my year of completing a half-marathon a month.  This half-marathon is one all runners must do at least once.  Anyway, today the trail was often shaded with trees hanging over the trail and connecting to each other.  We saw deer, rabbits, squirrels, butterflies, Blue Heron, Cardinal birds, Bluebirds, and many other birds.  Often we see a continuous flow of wildflowers on both sides of the roads and on the Root River Trail.  It was such a stunning ride today that we forgot about the heat at times.  Oh, I did squeal when I ran over a live snake on the trail that was about 2 feet long – yikes!  It was SO gross!

There are so many cute little shops in all the towns we passed though while riding on the trail.  I found a few bicycle things to purchase and send home in Lanesboro and Whalan, Minnesota.  Lucky me!  I purchase things on occasion and have the store send them home for me.  I then forget what I have purchased so it will be like Christmas when we get back next year.  🙂 On another note, I planted my pack of flower seeds today in the state of Minnesota.  Part of my “Make America More Beautiful” campaign, planting one pack of flower in each state. Found a great location near the trail by a visitors information area.  Many people will be able to enjoy seeing them in the future.

We rode a total off 55 miles today with rollers the first half and flat the second half.  With the humidity the heat index was 97 degrees.  This past week or so it has been so hot and humid.  After our rides we really just want to be in an air conditioned building.  Although I am trying to stay cool when possible, I am continuing to get a lot of heat rash all over my legs.  We planned on camping tonight but towards the end of our ride we decided to get a hotel.  I am happy we did this.  It is not a dumpy hotel like we had a few nights ago.  I told Hank it doesn’t make sense to get the cheapest hotel possible if their beds are so uncomfortable that neither of us sleep.  I don’t need the Hilton’s or Marriott’s that I had traveling for work, but a 3-star would be a good compromise for us.  Air conditioning, a comfortable bed and a shower is all I need.  So…easy beautiful ride today + fun doing a little shopping + good dining choices + met many more great people + an air conditioned comfortable room = an outstanding day!

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