Week Five: Falling in Love with Minnesota by Bike

Posted by Dylan Drake |02 Dec 14 | 0 comments

Week Five: Falling in Love with Minnesota by Bike

Week 5: September 20th – Sept 26th

Fargo, North Dakota to Maple Grove, MN

Total Miles Pedaled This Week: 296

Total Miles to Date: 1,440

routemap_camperclan_minnesota

Summary of route:

Hallelujah!!! Week 5 of our world record attempt on the electric bicycle found us on the best roads and bike paths that we toured across in the entire country thus far. Route 10 west from Fargo was a four lane divided highway, but it had wide shoulders with rumble strips between the shoulder and lane so biking on this route was safe, even though you are sharing the road with speeding drivers and large trucks. After turning onto route 34 at Detroit Lakes, the road narrowed to two lanes but still had a decent-sized shoulder with the protective rumble strips. Once we were able to access the Paul Bunyan State Trail – the longest continuously paved trail in the US –  near Akeley, MN it was smooth sailing all the way to Brainerd, MN. South of Brainerd we jumped onto highway 371, which offered similar riding conditions as route 10 – i.e., big shoulder and rumble strips. In fact, every state road we had the pleasure of riding on during week 5 boasted a nice wide shoulder, perfect for biking. The only dangerous and congested area we hit was once we started getting into the suburbs around Minneapolis, particularly as we neared I-94.

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The Paul Bunyan State Trail is the longest continuously paved trail in the United States, and is such a pleasure to ride on!
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Tomas fixes his tube at Lake Ann on a sunny day

 

Bicycle status:

This week Tomas had to change his 2nd flat tire (back tire again) which was caused by normal wear compounded by riding on a rough gravel road. He patched the tube and replaced the outer tire. The front tire seems to be holding up much better on the e-bike, probably due to the fact that the back tire is carrying most of the weight of the batteries.

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Stopping for a break near Frazee, Minnesota

 

Why Everyone Who Loves Cycling Should Go to Minnesota

After biking through 23 states at the time of writing this (we’re a little behind on the blogging!) we can honestly say that Minnesota is THE BEST state for cycling that we have been to. There are hundreds of miles of paved multi-use trails as well as tons of mountain biking trails as well. And where there aren’t trails, most state roads provide wide shoulders with rumble-strips, and the urban areas such as Minneapolis offer a great number of bike lanes, shared lanes, and bike route signage. It’s easy to see why Minnesota is ranked as the nation’s 2nd most bicycle-friendly state in the nation after Washington.

Fall emerged in all it’s colorful glory almost the moment we crossed overland into Minnesota. It was such a relief to see green landscapes and trees again after pedaling and driving for weeks through the arid high plains of Montana and North Dakota. We enjoyed camping at several of the state’s 10,000+ lakes, and since we were arriving after the high season we had the campgrounds pretty much to ourselves. It couldn’t have been more perfect! No mosquitos, no awkward shower moments – just a few chilly nights huddling in the warmth of our van or near the campfire. Although it was too cold to swim in the pristine waters of the lakes we visited, the fall colors more than made up for that as they reflected their yellows, reds, and oranges.

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Giant Paul Bunyan statue in Akeley, Minnesota is found near the beginning of the Paul Bunyan Trail
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Camping at Birchmere Resort on Little Toad Lake
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Sunset on Little Toad Lake, Minnesota

We did get one warm day of Indian Summer at Lake Ann in the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. After camping overnight in the rugged tent sites – all by ourselves of course – we awoke the next morning to a sunny, hot day. If it had not been for Tomas’s flat tire on the way out, we may not have stopped for a swim in the lake. We decided to make a day of it as we fixed the tire and enjoyed the nice sandy beach and shady picnic tables along the lake.

As we approached Minneapolis, we decided to take a rest from our family adventure at a KOA in the suburbs to get organized, and we were also able to visit with Dylan’s cousin and do some grillin’. Not exactly an Argentine asado but we put the tiny campground grill to good use!

Stay tuned for week 6 as we navigate Minneapolis by bike, get invited to stay in a stranger’s home, and unknowingly stay a night at the scariest Super 8 in the country!

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Playing in one of the many corn fields that cover the landscape throughout Minnesota
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At Pine Mountain Lake it was too cold to swim – at least they could dip their toes in!
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Sunset at Little Toad Lake, Minnesota
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Indian summer found us at Lake Ann, Minnesota

Detail Summary of Week 4:

 

Day 29: September 20th

Total Miles: 0

Rest Day in Fargo, ND

Lodging: Vista Inn & Suites

 

Day 30: September 21st

Total Miles: 64

Start: Fargo, ND

End: Frazee, MN

Lodging: Birchmere Resort & RV Park

 

Day 31: September 22nd

Total Miles: 80

Start: Frazee, MN

End: Pine River, MN

Lodging: Ruttger’s Pine Mountain Camping Resort

 

Day 32: September 23rd

Total Miles: 60

Start: Pine River, MN

End: Little Falls, MN

Lodging: Clifwood Motel

 

Day 33: September 24th

Total Miles: 65

Start: Little Falls, MN

End: Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

Lodging: Ann Lake Campground

 

Day 34: September 25th

Total Miles: 27

Start: Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

End: Maple Grove, MN

Lodging: Minneapolis NW KOA

 

Day 35: September 26th

Total Miles: 0

Rest Day in Maple Grove, MN

Lodging: Minneapolis NW KOA


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