Alice's Attic to Donn's Adventure Cycling Bunkhouse: To The Hilton - Minnesota Matrimonial Evaluation Tour - CycleBlaze

July 1, 2017

Alice's Attic to Donn's Adventure Cycling Bunkhouse: To The Hilton

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Observations: Does everyone in northern Minnesota drive gigantic pick-up trucks? Man, they must be spawning up here because every other car is a VERY large truck. Don’t get me wrong, they are all pretty courteous and give us plenty of room, but wow! Also, every little town here has at least one bar, and one church … many have two bars and two churches. Makes it easier to sin on Saturday night and repent on Sunday morning I suppose.

Marg breakfast lounging prior to this morning's departure.
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Another easy day today of 43 miles, and we have ended the day at the Adventure Cycling Bunkhouse, and the wonder of this place is beyond words. Donn, the owner was born and raised here. He left the farm in 1968 and spent 30 years in the army, flying helicopters, then returned to the home farm after retiring from the service. He shared that he met two young guys wheeling their bikes past his farm in 2006 who asked if they could camp in his yard. That’s how he found out his home was on the ACA Northern Tier Route. Over the years Donn went from allowing people to camp in his yard to taking his old barn and basically turning it in a bike tourist's Hilton Hotel! There are bunk spaces for 20 people, all indoors, with an overflow in his house’s basement. There is an outdoor (enclosed) shower which is served by a dedicated hot water heater, he has a cook stove, sink, coffee maker and microwave along with a television and wifi in the bunkhouse. There is a stock of drinks, food, and snacks available for a very nominal charge on the honor system. It is a labor of love and you can tell Donn loves his cycling guests. What a guy.

Tonight, by chance, we are bunking with a group of 20 riders that are part of a “Ride for MS” fundraiser ride. They started in Bar Harbor about 35 days ago and will finish near Seattle in another 35 days. To participate each rider must pay and/or fundraise one dollar for each mile they ride … probably about $3,500 each. It is quite the ragtag group … varying ages, varying ability, varying level of bicycles. But they seem to have all found a group chemistry that works for them on the road. Marg and I, both with large personal spaces, agree we would be ill-suited for that level of togetherness with strangers. The group had made arrangements with Donn prior, and it looks like there will be a big dinner for them presented by Donn, who says we can join in. Score for us and the two young women who are also biking separate from the MS group. All told, there are 24 bikers here tonight. Two Wheels Unite!

The entrance to The Bunkhouse.
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The silo that our bikes are leaning against is actually a small "apartment" in which two people can sleep.
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The main lobby of the bunkhouse.
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One of the snack shelves.
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Part of the group of 24 bikers overnighting here.
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We’ll leave the journal at that, but check out the pictures of the Bunkhouse. If you’re a cyclist you should stay here sometime.

We can feel the end of the trip for sure. Today was kind of the culminating experience of the ride and tomorrow is a quick 30 miles to the car, and then an hour drive to have lunch with Phil, our son. Then we cruise home and will pull in to the driveway about 8 PM, and apologize to the cats for being gone so long.

Today's Art Card from Margaret
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Margaret and I have already started digesting the "data” from this trip for reference to future trips. We’ll share that in a wrap-up of the journal in a few days. So, it ain’t over yet! Come back and keep reading!

Today's ride: 43 miles (69 km)
Total: 662 miles (1,065 km)

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