Day 51 – Kellogg, MN to Winona, MN

 Minnesota, On the Road, Wisconsin  Kommentare deaktiviert für Day 51 – Kellogg, MN to Winona, MN
Aug 262015
 
Day 51 - Kellogg, MN to Winona, MN
66 41,01 4387,2 2726,08 21 18,39 601 26749 10 - 26
A wonderful trip along the bluffs of the Mississippi river took me to Winona, MN.  Met another career-changing person: the manager of the city-owned campground turned out to be a former teacher who after only three years of teaching highschool decided to step out and started managing this campsite in a state nature reserve park. His two daughters are doing very well in their careers ... And I met a student of accounting who was passing his lunch break between classes doing a round of "golf-frisbee" around the town lake in Winona. I often teach "Frisbee Ultimate" at school but have never heard of "Golf Frisbee". It consists of a number (18) metal chain baskets around a course and just as in golf you use different types of frisbees for distance throwing of the"T"and for "putting" ... I decided to take half a day off and checked in to a motel; maybe I'll find a steak restaurant. My diet hasn't been too cool these days, to use a US vernacular ...
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 Posted by at 2:19 AM
Aug 252015
 
24.08.2015 Nesbitt's Nursery, WI, Hwy 35 Diamond Campground, Kellogg, MN 96 59,652 4321,2 2685,07 19 18,34 648 26148
In the morning I had a nice chat with Leah’s brother, Lee, about my tour, cycling and his tree farm. Him, Leah and her husband had bought the tree farm in 1995 and together built the new buildings including the restaurant with huge kitchen so that Leah as a chef would have a livelihood when all of them moved up from further south. Lee said he really enjoyed working with his brother in law who seems very skilled in almost anything that has to do with construction and machinery. I always admire this entrepreneurship, maybe because my own path was so clearly outlined from the beginning that I never had to plunge into an adventure of that sort and see where it led to … At Red Wing, after crossing the Mississippi once again back into Minnesota, I had a nice breakfast (a Mexican omelette with hash browns and a lot of coffee plus orange juice – for those of you who wonder what kind of breakfast I am talking of 😉 ) and found out that the change of landscape that I had already noticed was due to the fact that the glaciers of the last ice age had not touched this area. I am getting south of the “drift-area” as the regions are called that were razed by the glaciers. The round hills which I keep seeing now are “drumlins” just as they can be seen to the east of Lake Constance in Germany, where Susanne and I cycled a few years ago. The areas formed by the glaciers – like in Montana and North Dakota – today show a mostly flat to rolling landscape interrupted only by the valleys of rivers and large creeks, as I have already described in my itinerary. As it happens, the town of Red Wing, where I had my extended breakfast, shows a good example of exposed bedrock which was untouched by the glaciers and therefore intact as it was created millions of years ago. Here, at the junction of US 61 and 63, you can see an exposed fault running through very old rock from the Cumbrian Age. Yellow and greenish layers are clearly visible from two old time periods the experts call the “Jordan Sandstone” and the older “Franconia Sandstone” which is greenish. See picture. The Mississippi, whose meager headwaters I saw at Lake Itaska, and which had formed a “normal” river has by now completely changed. No longer a single line of water it now seems to spread out over an increasing area. The valley is getting wider and wider, the borders are formed by steep bluffs, almost perpendicular hills. And the river seems to have become ten or more rivers divided by sandbanks, wooded islands and swamps. (Tonight I’ll have to be aware of mosquitoes again, I’m afraid) When I came to Lake Pepin and the town of "Lake City" I was reminded of our Lake Baldeney at home in Germany; however, this Lake, which is officially dclared "Birthplace of Waterskiing", is four times as long and twice as wide, but basically a lake fed by the Mississippi, just as Lake Baldeney is fed by the river "Ruhr". And both are sites of leisure and relaxation ... I decided not to do so many kms today because I calculated that in four days I’ll be in Muscatine, which leaves me one day to find a good place to leave my bike for a week when travelling with Niklas by car. I found a campsite directly on the river but it was 4 kms from the highway which I will have to backtrack tomorrow … Not too nice, but ok. And I met Chad and his son Mason at this campsite (Pioneer Campsite Resort) where they have a Camper for weekends. Mason told me interesting things about his high school subjects (see picture). He has a subject called “Personal Finances” which involves maths in the economic world. Now, that would be interesting for our kids at home, too! See image of “Table of Contents”. Chad is involved in producing new “Stuffy Nose Strips” which help you breathe better. Or are they not so new? I seem to remember this from Soccer at home… In any case he told me that when they were first used in horse races and the winning horse wore them this caused a scandal until they were legalized by the officials … I was invited by Chad and his son to some hamburgers and slices of pizza so I didn't even have to get out my newly aqcuired provisions ... No pics today, either, only phone connection …
 
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Back into Minnesota

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Clear iindecation that I have left the glacier-formed area

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the bluffs of the Mississippi River Valley

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The Pepin Lake with its town Lake Town reminds me of Lake "Baldeney" in Germany ...

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Couldn't find Walter Matthau, though ...

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Mason, 16, from Wabasha

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Following the Mississippi river on the Minnesota side ...

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 Posted by at 3:27 AM

Day 49 – Harris, MN – Nesbitt’s Nursery, WI, Hwy 35

 Minnesota, On the Road, Wisconsin  Kommentare deaktiviert für Day 49 – Harris, MN – Nesbitt’s Nursery, WI, Hwy 35
Aug 252015
 
23.08.2015 Harris, MN Nesbitt's Nursery, WI, Hwy 35 135 83,885 4225,2 2625,42 18 18,32 1456 25500 11 - 16
Special Treat: The “Afton Alps” Change of topography, once more … This morning I left Bob’s house in Harris after telling him how greatful I was for him not only to stop and inform me of the oncoming storm but ultimately giving me shelter in his home! Bob has travelled too, of course, and among other journeys has travelled in Europe, experiencing much the same kindness and unforeseen hospitality that he was today bestowing on me. So off I went on a road that was just as softly undulating as it had been the days before. Long stretches of soft ups and downs with the occasional descent to a river crossing just for a change. At noon I reached Stillwater, a tourist town on the St. Croix River with a magnificent drawbridge over the river which I crossed into Wisconsin. (My fourth US state after Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota). I had done 73 kms so far. Looking at the map I decided to head on to Prescott, only another 39 kms and find a place to sleep there. I knew there were no warmshowers hosts nearby, and the next campground, according to the ACA map was another 25kms further down the road. But it was time once again for a motel, I thought. But topography has its surprises, especially if a simple cyclist like me doesn’t check the profile before setting off on his adventure … As it turned out, ambitious amateur racing bike cyclists choose exactly my route for a little workout to get some stamina into their legs! The route between Stillwater and Prescott is on the so-called “Stagecoach Trail” and includes the “Afton State Park” which is also called the “Afton Alps”. In a short span of about 30 km I did over 1000 altitude meters of ups and the “downs” were all too short to give relief! I was now at 110 km … After this ordeal finally ended by going down one last time to the “city” of Prescott, I prayed I’d find a place for the night. But not so. I went up another steep hill (after a break and buying some provisions for tomorrow) to find the motel only to find that it had no vacancy and the office was closed. So, what now? The map indicated a “cyclists-only” camping opportunity at the Nesbitt’s Nursery somewhere on Hwy 35. Reluctantly and rather irritated I set off. I shrugged off my irritation and began to see the bright side: I was getting closer to my meeting point (Muscatine, Iowa) with my son; so what the heck … When I finally got to Nesbitt’s Nursery after a seemingly endless number of long ups and too short downs I found the place closed! I was exhausted and sat on a bench not knowing what to do. Just pitch my tent anywhere? What about dogs? Then Leah came out of the building. She was of the family that owned and operated the place, a tree nursery, a restaurant with organic food which Leah manages – she is manager and cook! – and a number of other activities such as catering service, live music occasions and a day trip organizing service. Leah was extremely helpful, gave me fresh milk for the morning, and – since I had run out of my cereals – even gave me organic cereals she thought had lost their crispness but seemed perfect to me, told me not to follow the ACA map in this case but to stay on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi until I reached Nelson, because then I could go on Maiden Rock with a magnificent view of the River. That’s what I’ll do tomorrow … In any case I have never before done more than 1000 meters uphill AFTER cycling 100km already! It seems my lost weight helped me a bit! 🙂
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Now, who was that again? I guess my mom remembers movies with him better than I do ...

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I'm now in that part of Minnesota where you find more Swedisch than German descendents ...

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A typical farm from the south-east of Minnesota

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Across the St. Croix River ...

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... and here it is from above, the Fall mentioned in the sign

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I wonder how many decades ago this farmer in Minnesota received his pay frm the sweet-brewing company ...

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What do Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota and rural Wisconsin have in common? Well, there are hardly any signs that have not served as taergets in shooting practise!

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Stillwater surprised me - not the least because it had at least two antique book shops with an astonishing assortment!

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Wow!

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Good PR!

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Another "New Deal" monument from the 1930s

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This is the sport under the bridge where the St. Croix river joins the Mississippi

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 Posted by at 3:26 AM
Aug 222015
 
Day 48, 22.08.2015 A new trivia fact for my beloved readers: I have lost 7.5 kgs or almost 16 pounds of weight, my present weight is now 67.59 kg or 149 pounds. I haven't weighed that little since University! My night at the town park on “Rum River” was quiet and I got up at dawn. During breakfast and while I was waiting for my tent to dry I had one of those frequent short and always most predictable meetings with a dog owner walking his pet. While I was having my morning coffee at a coffee shop (no coffee in my luggage – I’ve got to change that; on the other hand it always gives me an opportunity to use the restrooms without a bad conscience ….) I heard two people talking about thunderstorms today. I asked them about it and they said strong wind and thunderstorms were coming in from the southeast, exactly the direction I was heading. OK, I thought, I’ll go for it and try to find a Warmshowers host on the way. At lunchtime (12:00) I had already covered 73 kms, if I kept at it I might make 120 – 140 today, I thought, 4 hours in the morning, good lunch and again 4 hours. I called Tom from Warmshowers and he agreed to put me up but it was still about 22 miles or 35 km to go. I felt confident I’d make it, there was enough time. It turned out different. At 1:30 pm the wind was getting really strong, I couldn’t do more than 9-11 km/h and was settling down into “patience-mode” 🙂 . Then a car slowed down, coming towards me and a worried-looking man rolled down his car windows. “Are you aware there is a massive storm coming your way,” he asked. “Well I’ve heard there would be thunderstorms – how far off is it?” I answered. “Well, it should be here by five and you’re going towards it …”. Looking at my map for the umpteenth time I just didn’t find a place between here (Sunrise, MN) and my Warmshowers host (Osceola, Wisconsin) with a motel or hotel … At that moment a cavalcade of thirty or forty motorbikes thundered past us, interrupting our conversation and when they had gone by I got off my bike and went across the road to speak to the man more directly. “Well, I’ve got an idea,” he said. “I’m going to town now but if you like you can stay at my house. It’s just down the road (and it turned out, it really was “just down the road”, not the usual 10 to 20 miles, when Americans have used the phrase to me before!) “Well, I’d really appreciate that, if you feel comfortable with letting a complete stranger into your house just like that,” I answered. “Oh,” he said, patting my shoulder, “cyclists like you can always be trusted, I’ve travelled myself!” After I had followed him to his driveway and put my bike next to his ultra lightweight road bike he said, “Just feel at home. I’ll be in later, about 7 pm. You can use the tv, have a shower, choose one of the rooms - my wife is out with the grandchildren”. I gave him my card, saying, “just so you know who I am, just in case …”. His name is Bob. And off he was to see his father "in town". I took the opportunity to clean up, do some work on the bike and admired the beautiful and perfectly decorated house. Bob, by the way, drives the first Toyota Hybrid car I’ve seen so far. No wonder, probably, coming in from the west … This is once more such wonderful proof that there are far more good people in this world than many would like to make us believe ... Called Tom to tell him I wouldn’t make it – and started worrying once again I wouldn’t get far enough in the direction of Chicago at this rate to meet Niklas on August 31st … PS At 15:34 my phone app eweather gave the following warning for Harris the area where I am cycling (was cycling until Bob took me in: Alerts: Tornado Watch 25 C, overcast Pressure: falling, 28.78 inHg So I'll keep a watch - from behind a sturdy window!
   
 Posted by at 10:12 PM