Sunday, May 12, 2013

Century Club

Day 5 - Itasca State Park to Pine River - 112.5 miles

Today we joined the Century Club!  Despite our rough morning out of Itasca, the start of the Paul Bunyan Trail seemed to lift our spirits and provide us with renewed energy.  This trail is amazing....over 100 miles of paved off road bike lane, part of a Rails to Trails initiative.  The wind was at our back, the trail was flat and in fantastic condition and the scenery was beautiful.  We passed through several small towns and enjoyed taking in the local tourist attractions.  We were surprised to not see much wildlife....although we figured the critters were smarter than us and were still staying warm in their nests and burrows until spring arrives!

Paul Bunyan Trail, Minnesota

The Chippewa National Forest was a real highlight....although quite hilly, it was beautiful.

Chippewa National Forest - Minnesota

To celebrate our first century (100 mile) ride, and the fact that the temperature is supposed to drop to 27F tonight, we decided to stay in a hotel, and go out for dinner in Pine River.  Nothing like a hot shower and a warm bed to end the day in style!

Paul Bunyan Trail, Minnesota

Giggle of the day:

We had a really difficult morning out of Itasca State Park battling strong head winds and yes SNOW!   The temperature was a chilly 37 F and we could only go about 6-8 miles per hour against the wind.  Jane's feet were beginning to go numb and were quite painful.  Rob was okay...thanks to Emma's most generous wool sock donation.  Jane stubbornly refused to bring wool socks, because how cold could it be in May?  We struggled on and finally arrived in Bemidji.  Excited to see Paul Bunyan and his great big blue ox Babe, we headed directly to the Visitor Centre....only to discover the Visitor Centre is closed on weekends.  WHO KNEW?  Discouraged and very cold we decided to find a diner to warm up and refuel.  We asked a local for directions to the best eats in town and were sent to the MINNESOTA NICE cafe.....for state famous pancakes!  During breaky we chatted with a retired couple and 2  young fisherman.  The fishermen around town are a little down today, as it is the official opening of fishing season...and the lakes are still frozen.  Despite the conditions, our boys were determined to find open water and catch a fish!  At the end of breaky they provided us with the giggle of the day.....they wished us luck and said, "stay  on the borderline of persistence and insanity!"
Paul Bunyan and Babe - Bemidji, Minnesota

View Bicycling directions to Pine River, MN, USA in a larger map