Day 51 - Orr, MN to International Falls, MN - Two Far 2020 - NTF (Not Two Far) - CycleBlaze

July 20, 2020

Day 51 - Orr, MN to International Falls, MN

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We had a much easier ride today than yesterday.  It was sunny and comfortable with a light breeze most of the day.  The motel we stayed in last night was very nice and we both slept well.  We were recovered and ready to go again this morning.

We stopped to take a picture of the Orr mascot on the way out of town.

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We talked with some folks from Akron, Ohio while we were stopped for the picture.  I'm sorry that I didn't get their names or a photo, but if you guys are reading this, it was nice to meet you!

Only a mile into our ride, we had a short climb and then this view of Hwy 53.  We followed 53 all the way to International Falls.

Looking north on Hwy 53
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The CN mainline follows US53 most of the way from Orr to International Falls. After seeing and hearing so many trains yesterday, this was the only on we saw all day today.
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We just happened to see this signal light go from red to green to off. That seemed odd to us.
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Until we passed this CN workcrew about a mile past the signal.
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This guy was a couple of miles on down the road
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And finally there was this worker at another signal box. After seeing so much work being done, it was apparent why we didn't see more trains today - line closed for maintenance.
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There was a stretch where rock was cut to build the road. We appreciate anything that makes the route less hilly.
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As we were riding along about halfway to International Falls, we saw another touring cyclist riding south.  We stopped to talk and look who it was!  Dean, whom we had met last week in Bemidji. 

Dean was headed south after being in Warroad and International Falls.
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Always lots to talk about with other cycle tourers.
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Curt & Helene Reednice to see familiar face
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3 weeks ago
Hwy 53 was an excellent cycling route.
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Keith A. SpanglerWow great weather%!
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3 weeks ago

Here are a couple more views from the road.

Wetlands
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More rock cut to build the road. This section was very pretty with the pinks and blacks.
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Some scraggly corn to go with yesterday's scraggly soybeans.
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Kerry here... When we started out today, we had located 2 C-stores we could stop at along the way - one at mile 26 and another at mile 47.  The store at mile 26 was very nice and by mile 45 we were really looking forward to taking another break in only 2 more miles.  The only problem was that the store was closed and looked like it had been closed for some time.  We were really bummed out - we were tired enough that we just sat on the curb for a short while before pedaling the last 8 miles.  I guess Google Earth isn't infallible.  With just a mile to go for the day, we saw another C-store and stopped for a much needed Diet Coke.

Kerry routed us down some attractive residential streets on our way to the motel. Google Earth came though in this case :-) - K
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But, this neighborhood had numerous intersections with no stop signs in any direction. You just approached and then decided who was first, I guess.
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Mike ObermeyerI thought you were going to say Kerry stopped to play some Basketball
Oh that's right you don't have a basket ball.
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3 weeks ago

After our break at the convenience store,  we were ready to go to the motel.  This place was a recently renovated old 50's motel, as was the Hotel Rapids, but this one was not nearly so well done.  We got into our room and started to unpack.  We realized there was no place at all for our clothes - no chest, dresser, cabinet of any kind. There was no clothes rod nor hangers.  There was no desk, just a tiny metal table and two hard little chairs.  The "nightstand" was a bare piece of wood nailed to the wall between the beds.  Since we planned two nights here, we decided this wouldn't do.  Kerry called the owner (contactless check-in - all done by phone) and told him we were leaving.  He didn't give us a hard time about it.  We rode up the street to the AmericInn.  Kerry told the front desk clerk we needed a room large enough for the bike.  She put us in the largest room they have - the "Riverview King Suite" for the price of their smallest room.

The sleeping area
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Mike ObermeyerExcept for the carpet, everything looks good. Great move.
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3 weeks ago
Rich McKayThat worked out nicely, didn't it?
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2 weeks ago
Jeanna & Kerry SmithTo Mike ObermeyerYou have good eyes - the carpet is worn and unraveling in spots. It didn't keep us from loving this room, though!
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2 weeks ago
Jeanna & Kerry SmithTo Rich McKayIt really did. This was a perfect place to spend three nights. I could stay here another week, but Kerry says it's time to get back on the road.
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2 weeks ago
The work desk and dining area
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Our room reminded us of one we had a couple of years ago in Missouri. The question of the day was not "Where can we put the bike?" but rather "Where do you want to put the bike?" We love having options!
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Curt & Helene Reedspoiled, worth opening your mouth
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3 weeks ago
The view from one of our windows - the Rainy River and Canada on the other side
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Kerry here again with a geography lesson for my good friend Lou H. 

When I looked out the window I was confused as the river was flowing in the opposite direction than I expected.  I assumed that the Rainy River flowed into Lake Superior and that I was just turned around.  However, after Googling it, I discovered that it flowed West - Northwest and ran from Rainy Lake to Lake of the Woods and eventually emptied into Hudson's Bay.  

I should have known this because, just yesterday, I was reading about Hibbing and read a passage to Jeanna about how Hibbing was near a Triple Divide.  At a point known as "The Hill of Three Waters", the  Laurentian Divide (AKA Northern Divide) intersects with the St Lawrence Divide and water flows in three directions.  Below is a photo of a marker I found on the internet. 

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Keith A. SpanglerWhat a tour, you guys are having fun. I’m so glad.
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3 weeks ago

  

Today's ride: 56 miles (90 km)
Total: 1,506 miles (2,424 km)

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Lou HarminI love reading about where you have been, where you are and where you plan to go next. You are doing things that I dream to do but recognize that I am too old to do much more than read of you travels. Keep traveling and keep us posted.
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3 weeks ago
Alain AbbateThere is a long history of confusion about the rivers in this area. The little piece of Minnesota that sticks up into Canada (the Northwest Angle) is the result of such confusion. The border between the US and Canada was supposed to have run from the Lake of the Woods west to the Mississippi River. Oops, only later did the realize that the source of the Mississippi is South of the Lake of the Woods, and you can't get to the Mississippi by going West from the Lake of the Woods.
After they realized their mistake the did a re-do and ended up with the 49th parallel border, but kept the part of the original agreement that said the Lake of the Woods was part of the US.

Speaking of borders, are you allowed to cross the Rainy River, or is that off limits because of the Corona virus?
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3 weeks ago
Jeanna & Kerry SmithTo Alain AbbateNo, we can't cross the river. Canada is still closed to us. This is actually the first Two Far trip that hasn't been into Canada.
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2 weeks ago