Day 40 - Albany, MN to Little Falls, MN - Two Far 2020 - NTF (Not Two Far) - CycleBlaze

July 9, 2020

Day 40 - Albany, MN to Little Falls, MN

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It was a great cycling day.  We had miles of wonderful Minnesota paved trails, several towns to explore, a short route and a rest day waiting.  What could be better?  It was all enhanced with blue skies and warm, but not too hot, temperatures.

We started by riding around Albany.  It is on the Lake Wobegon Trail, named for Garrison Keilor's fictional town.  The "real" Lake Wobegon is purported to be nearby.  You can visit the "real" Chatterbox Cafe and Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery.  And, no matter how devoted a fan you may be, you'll soon tire of endless references to things strong, good looking or above average.  (I say this as one who really loved the Lake Wobegon stories.)

This bicycle art was across the street from our hotel.
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Albany street
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Albany street
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Albany is home to the Kraft plant which produces the "cheese dust" for boxed macaroni and cheese.  It is a huge plant.  I don't know if other products are produced here as well.

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We left Albany on the Lake Wobegon Trail.  It was a very enjoyable ride.

The pavement was a smooth and clean as this nearly all the way.
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Keith A. SpanglerThat looks really nice
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1 month ago

The terrain is changing from farms to trees and lakes.

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The first town we visited was Holdingford.

This covered bridge welcomes us to town.
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It also has a very nice trailhead.  And, a real luxury these days, open restrooms!

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These little guys were having a great time on the train.
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There was plenty of room to play.
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We were back on the trail for seven miles to Bowlus, where the Lake Wobegon Trail ends.

It looks as if the railbed had to be cut into the hills here.
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"Swampy" wetlands, Mike :-)
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Bowlus is a bicycle friendly little town, with a large park and cafe for cyclists.

Bowlus main street and post office
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Feed and grain elevator
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Resting on the wall, not waiting for gas.
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We weren't ready for a meal, but the Trailside Cafe looked inviting.  The sign by the front door says "Always stay humble and kind".   Words to live by, I think.

Trailside Cafe
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We saw a couple of cyclists in the pavilion and stopped to talk.  They were Therese and Dave from Minneapolis who were cycling the trail today.  We had a good time talking with them.

Bowlus community park
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Therese and Dave
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Past Bowlus, the trail became the Soo Line Recreational Trail.   It was a very good trail surface, but not as new and pristine as the Lake Wobegon.

Some yard art along the trail
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The Soo Line trail crosses the Mississippi River on an old trestle south of Little Falls.  Our route turned north just before the river, but we decided to ride over the trestle.  We found the Blanchard Dam.  It was built in 1925  and is a hydroelectric station operated by Minnesota Power.

Blanchard Dam on the Mississippi River
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Downriver from the dam
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We turned around and rode back to the west side of the river and north on the Great River Road.  Great River Road is part of the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), a designated bike trail, so it had a wide shoulder all the way to Little Falls.

We had some good views of the Zebulon Pike Lake, formed by the Blanchard Dam.
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I don't have the working knowledge of barns to name the part correctly, but that little round thing on the top has an interesting bend.

Old barn on the lake. What is the top thing called?
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Alain AbbateHere's a link to an article on barn cupolas: https://madisonbarns.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/what-is-a-cupola-and-why-do-barns-have-them/#:~:text=A%20cupola%20is%20a%20small%20tower%20or%20dome-like,parts%3A%20the%20base%2C%20the%20vents%20and%20the%20cap.
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1 month ago
Jeanna & Kerry SmithTo Alain AbbateThanks, Alain. I read up on cupolas and added another new word to my vocabulary. I now know what a belvedere is.
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4 weeks ago

Just south of Little Falls is the boyhood home of Charles Lindbergh.  The home is usually open for visitors, but all closed up now.

The only thing I have to show you is this historical marker.
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Downtown Little Falls
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Rest day in Little Falls tomorrow, then back on the road Saturday.

Today's ride: 35 miles (56 km)
Total: 1,110 miles (1,786 km)

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Lou Harmininteresting reading. Eastern small towns are dying but the small towns you show seem to be thriving.
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1 month ago
Michael RuddockThat roof top structure is a cupola, sometimes used for ventilation, but often is just decorative.
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4 weeks ago
Jeanna & Kerry SmithTo Michael RuddockThank you! I think I would have known cupola for a little structure at the top of a house, but I didn't think of it for a barn. Something gave it quite a tilt. Storm damage, maybe? Could it have been built that way?
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4 weeks ago