Day 60 Roseau River, Manitoba to Bronson Lake, Minnesota - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

June 29, 2011

Day 60 Roseau River, Manitoba to Bronson Lake, Minnesota

Roseau River Park had some major advantages: covered picnic tables, flush toilets with shower, electricity, no one around. No wifi or cell signals, though.

Well sheltered at Roseau River
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Significantly, we had seen no food since St. Pierre, and we set off into another stiff headwind having had a small supper and on;y a small breakfast. Rosa and Roseau River had been virtual ghost towns, where we saw not a soul outside of cars passing through. Tolstoi did have one person, which is a major increase (in percentage terms). The few houses at Tolstoi were surprisingly small. Heating costs would create a tendency toward smaller houses, but these were really small.

Teeny houses at Tolstoi
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It took until 10:45 to reach Lancaster, Minnesota given the headwind and low state of our blood sugar. The restaurant on the highway at Lancaster opened at 10:30, so we were in! mmmm, philly steak sandwich, fries, unlimited coffee, pumpkin pie, etc. etc. Prices struck us as about 2/3 what we were seeing in Canada, and while there was tax it was ½.

Back to lower prices!
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Welcome sign and some shoulder in Minnesota. Canadian side did not welcome people and did not say "thank you,come again". Dopes!!
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Waiting for strength to return to challenge the headwind again, we did a circuit around Lancaster. Like every other town, it had only a few buildings in its downtown, but among them was a good grocery. We stocked up with outdated yogurt and a small and fairly nasty sub sandwich. Also in the mix, a quite large 5 oz bag of M&Ms. When we have trail mix I always go for the one with lots of M&Ms. So a bag of pure M&Ms should be even better, right? Wrong. As in everything else in life, you need some salty to appreciate the sweet. Still, I am sitting here right now dutifully making myself sick with pure M&Ms.

The headwind did not abate but rather strengthened into the afternoon. More than even in the mountains, we came to feel that we had not the strength to go another kilometre.

Anybody know what this is?
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Or this?
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Typical small town parking scheme in Lancaster MN
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In one stretch, though, our time was enlivened by the presence of a large number of rail workers refurbishing the line that ran beside the highway. Actually, machines did all the lifting and shoving, etc. There were six or seven different types, all travelling on the rails. They pulled up spikes and ties, spread rock, made holes for new ties and shoved them under, stacked the old ties, etc. Our attention was first caught by one that pottered along taking new ties from a wagon it pulled with it and placing them most delicately and fastidiously by the trackside. Of course, a human was at the controls, but the thing seemed to have the personality of Wall-E. And when the trolley was empty, it toddled off down the tracks, no doubt humming to itself.

Wall-E of the railway world?
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The railway here is paradoxically CPR. One of the workers gave us these ice cold waters. Sure beats the Canadian Border Service!
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The parade of track machines added much fun to our day.
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More machines on parade
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Looks like a picnic
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We love this caboose!
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Bronson Lake, at 61 km from where we started, over dead flat road, was the best we could do for the day. And at that, now three hours after we stopped cycling, we are still with flushed faces and dead beat.

In Bronson Lake we immediately ran in to the Mayor, Pat Nerguson. We reviewed the places to camp and eat with her and settled on the nearby state park and the little deli near the entrance. Pat had also offered her back yard, a typical but still unexpected kindness.

Dodie and the mayor of Bronson Lake.
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Downtown Bronson Lake
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A surprisingly advanced museum
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More of the museum
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Sabrina, this is the proper outfit for walking Amelia
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The park features campsites on the lake, nice tables and landscaping. There are quite a few people here, and many reservations for the July 4 weekend. Now that is is officially Summer, we expect our days of having places to ourselves are over.
The wind blasted over the lake, but we took extra time and care to get the tent up. We will be in a good position here to see in the morning if our day will be hell again, or just tough.

Lake side camping at Bronson Lake State Park
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Our lakeside blogging office at Bronson Lake
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Today's ride: 61 km (38 miles)
Total: 3,386 km (2,103 miles)

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