"We are all of us living in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." ~Oscar Wilde
"Adventure is worthwhile in itself." ~Amelia Earhart

July 13, 2008

Summer 2008 Bicycle Tour June 16-18

I finally worked up the motivation to blog again. I'm going to transfer three entries per day from my paper journal written during the bicycle tour into this blog. Any more than that and I'll probably overload you readers. :-D

June 16, 2008 - Minneapolis, MN to Osceola, WI - 64 miles

Ack! I did too much on my first day. I woke up pretty late at noon and didn't get started until 1pm or so. There's one small problem with the Minneapolis-St. Paul spur on the Adventure Cycling maps. From Maplewood until Osceola, WI, it doesn't list any places for lodging. I had every intention of stopping at 45-50 miles but there was really no place to stop. As night fell, I was seriously considering stealth-camping somewhere along the road. Part of it was that I was exhausted. But, I also had little faith in my weak bike lights as far as making me visible to drivers in the middle of the night. I'm really not comfortable stealth-camping, though, so I kept going.

Honestly, I didn't see much I haven't seen before. I've seen the Gateway State Trail before on my first bicycle trip to Somerset, WI and most of it is just a tree-lined path. Don't get me wrong. It's a great trail and is a lot better for uninterrupted cycling than the roads of Minneapolis-St. Paul. But, as far as scenery goes, trees make me yawn. I did have a pleasant moment when I stopped to rest (and covertly pee in the woods O.o) at the "Welcome to Minnesota" sign. It was late at night and, above a wooded hill, the full moon shone while fireflies blinked around me.

Around 10:30pm, I finally reached Osceola, WI and began to look for a hotel. I would've preferred a campground since they're usually $60/night cheaper but the closest one that I knew of was in Taylor Falls, MN, another 5+ miles away. Eventually, I found the River Valley Inn and checked in. I had to lug my loaded bicycle up to the second floor since there was no elevator. Thankfully, the girl at the front desk helped me with it. Don't think I could've done it myself. (Added later: Since then, I've learned to just take the panniers and camping equipment off and carry them up in separate trips.)

June 17, 2008 - Osceola, WI to Amery, WI - 48 miles

Oops! Made a slight mistake when I left Osceola this morning. I missed a turn and added 7 or 8 miles onto my trip. I felt like such a wuss when I was going up the hills today. (Added later: Lol, those were tiny little bumps compared to the ones in Michigan.) Just north of Amery, I had an "Oh, no! This is going to suck!" moment when the road I was on turned to gravel. All I could see ahead of me was gravel road and it definitely wasn't a rideable surface. I couldn't see any alternate routes on the map so I jumped off and walked the bicycle. Luckily, it only lasted for 1/2 mile and not the 6 miles I was fearing. Now, I'm at the DN Campground 11 miles north of Amery. Hope I can actually sleep in a tent!

June 18, 2008 - Amery, WI to east of Cumberland, WI - 50.7 miles

I did manage to fall asleep eventually. I was a little worried when it was nearing 11pm and I still wasn't asleep. I thought, 'Screw it. I'll just lay here until morning comes if I have to.' I hadn't put the rainfly on last night since the skies looked clear. That could have turned out to be an uncomfortable mistake but I lucked out and watched the fireflies darting through the trees as I drifted off to sleep.

When I woke up, it was freezing. Not literally, of course, but it was cold enough where I could feel it. Low 60's? High 50's? Anyway, I packed up and set off around 8:00am after grabbing a cheese danish and chocolate milk from the nearby convenience store.

I pulled into Cumberland around noon, checked my messages, and called my parents back. I got somewhat lost in town when Third Avenue ended and I couldn't find the street I was supposed to be on. I eventually got that sorted out and back on track. I stopped to rest for a bit at the city park that overlooks a small lake where I watched some girl floating on an inflatable raft in the middle of the water. For a second, I thought, 'Wait! That's what other people do on their vacations. What the hell am I doing?!?' as I nursed my aching right knee. I shrugged to myself, downed some ibuprofen, and kept going down the country roads. About 5 miles in, I was getting a little wiped so I stopped to rest at an intersection. Apparently, I shouldn't do that because three cars stopped to make sure I was all right! At least now I know I can flag people down if something goes awry. J

About 6 or 7pm, I pulled into the River's Edge campground and checked in. Spent most of the night playing with my phone, reading, or chatting with the friendly 70-something woman who runs the place.


Roxiticus Desperate Housewives said...

Welcome back, Berryvox, it sounds like you had a great trip and I look forward to hearing all about it over the next bunch of days. Can we get some fries...I mean some photos...with that? Would love to see some pix to go along with the diary entries, even if they're the same pix you posted from your phone from the road.

I am hard at work on your EntreCard widget today, bringing you luck and votes in your Sunday morning Battle of the Blogs...good luck!


Ferd said...

Glad to see you're back!
It will be fun to relive the trip.

The Fearless Blog said...

Happy that you are back safe and sound. I just have to ask...were you alone all this time? You biked all those miles and spent your days traveling roads, cities and towns by yourself? If so, wow you are more than brave, you are also very trusting. So far it sounds like you had a great trip, but did you not encounter any strange people or strange events? You can tell I am from the city......

Look forward to reading more. Again, welcome home.

Berryvox said...

Roxy - You're right. I should've posted those shots along with that entry. Next one will have 'em. :)

Ferd - Hee, I've been lazy about the blog.

TFB - Yup, I went alone. It's funny. People I'd talk to kept telling me I was 'brave' or 'gutsy' to go bicycle touring alone but I wasn't really afraid of anything happening. If I ever go on a long bicycle tour again, I will bring along a rear-view mirror designed for bicycles because some of those back roads don't have shoulders and it's an extra safety feature. Also, pepper spray or a tazer would be nice. There were two BIG mean-looking dogs at one farm I passed. Luckily, they were chained up. I did come across a few interesting people. :) No really strange events though.

Erin said...

Welcome back! I never got a chance to tell you how incredible I think it is that you did this trip. You're awesome! And I really enjoyed your tweets, too:)

Berryvox said...

Erin - Aww, thanks! It was just one of those things I always wanted to do. I can cross it off the 'bucket list' now. :-p Except, it's been replaced by wanting to ride Adventure Cycling's Southern Tier route from Florida to California. :-p