Day 9: Getting the boot - I'm your Huckleberry - CycleBlaze

July 13, 2016

Day 9: Getting the boot

“If you tell the truth you do not need a good memory!”
Mark Twain, The adventures of Huckleberry Finn"

I was pretty well packed up when one of the nursery employees came by at 8am.

"We are not officially a biker campsite but people still show up because we are listed in the adventure cycling map," he said. "We wanted to set aside an area for cyclists over there," he said pointing to a wooded area," but the county wanted $1500 for permits and we cant pay that. It's too bad because it would be a nice thing to have. Still, people still camp here. It's not uncommon to show up to work in the morning and see little tents in various places."

Lee showed up soon after and made me a very welcome cup of coffee and gave me a home made scone from the bakery tray. The little restaurant is not open every day and I happen to miss the day when I would have gotten a full breakfast. Still, coffee and scone were tasty and Lee and I had a nice chat before he had to get to work and I had to get on with peddling.

My first stop was Red Wing, Minnesota where I would cross over the river and get breakfast. The legs were only half awake but I made it just before a seemingly every present 30 minute storm.

After wolfing down french toast, eggs and bacon I made my way to the Red Wing shoe store and museum where, among other things, I saw the biggest boot in the world!

It was a lazy kind of morning along the Mississippi River on the way to Red Wing
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Inside the Red Wing shoe store/museum. That is a big damn boot!
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Size 638 1/2?! Even Paul Bunyan wouldn't have fit in these boots.
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Lots of history in the Red Wing boot factory
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After the boot museum I wandered around town and ended up at the riverfront park, where I sat for a while for no other reason other than it was pretty.

"Where are you riding?" said a man wearing an official looking badge on an even more official looking lanyard.

David worked for the county. I don't remember his official title but it had something to do with getting people, especially kids, healthy again.

"There is one in my position in every county in Minnesota," he said. "We look at ways to increase activity and encourage healthy lifestyles in kids."

After chatting for a while I set off down the river front and asked a couple of guys what was being loaded in the bardges.

"Grain," said one of the guys. "Probably corn this time of year."

"Why is the one side of the barge so low in the water?" I asked.

"Because they are loading it wrong," he said. "My dad loaded barges for a living so I know. They are supposed to spread the grain evenly but they often don't."

"Why not?"

"Because they are lazy. It's faster to do it the way they are doing it but it can be unsafe." Then he added, "it takes 80 semi-trucks to fill one barge."

Interesting. And that would explain the steady stream of semi-trailer trucks rolling through town.

The riverfront at Red Wing after the storm blew through
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David, the official lanyard guy.
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Note the uneven barge being loaded
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...and the steady stream of semi-trucks
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From there it was just a nice day on the bike. The sun came out and temperatures were pleasant. My legs loosened up and felt good.

I passed the lake where water skiing was invented and other pretty and/or interesting things.

Huckleberry Finn would have liked that I'm sure.

I ended up in a little town called Wabasha and asked a couple of local women about camp sites.

"There is one by the river, it is about a 7 mile ride. Its not bad and has a swimming pool."

I didn't feel like riding 7 more miles, and a swimming pool wasn't an incentive, but what can you do.

So I loaded up on dinner and breakfast foods at the local grocery store and set off...

...and I didn't get more than a mile and just made the turn out of town when I saw the Big River resort RV park. It looked quiet and tidy. Sometimes RV parks don't take tents but it didn't hurt to ask.

"Yes we take tents," the woman at the desk said. "Well, we try to discourage people who come with tents in cars because they can be loud and bring a lot of alcohol but we like cyclists with tents. We just had a mother/daughter come though a couple of days ago. They are riding cross-country. Anyway, we would like to advertise to cyclist but not tenters in cars, we are not sure how to do that."

She set me up in a nice place under some trees and brought me a little table and chairs, then showed me the bathroom/showers which were bigger and nicer than my bathroom at home!

"The owner really tries to make things nice," she said.

It was one of the nicest bathrooms I have been in. They even had laundry machines. Heaven!

If you are ever in Wabasha Minnesota I highly recommend the place!

What a great ending to a great day!

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Lake Pepin
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Lake Pepin Harbor
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Lake Pepin
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Stay here! Wabasha Minnesota
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My little site with table and chairs
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Charging my phone with little solar panel.
This thing works remarkably well.
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Today's ride: 43 miles (69 km)
Total: 561 miles (903 km)

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