June 8, 2013
Route: Pequot Lakes to Albany, Minnesota, on Paul Bunyan State Trail, state Highways 371 and 10, Soo Line ATV and Lake Wobegon trails.
Distance: 88.71 miles
Time: 7 hours, 49 minutes
Average speed: 11.32 mph.
We’re back in the area. We arrived in Albany this afternoon and should be back in Willmar Sunday.
The weather was iffy again today, but it didn’t rain. Looks like Mother Nature is saving that for the last day of our ride.
On our ride today, we discovered some gems on the trails closer to the home turf.
It started when we stopped at the DQ in Little Falls for lunch. When the owner noticed we were cyclists, he told us how to find our way to the Soo Line. He also mentioned the work that the town has done to extend trails from Brainerd to the Soo Line, making it the longest trail not incorporating a road anywhere. He also told us about some highlights on the Soo Line.
The Soo Line ATV Trail is paved from west of state Highway 10 to the Wobegon Trail and is open to hikers, bikers, rollerbladers and other non-motorized modes of travel. On that stretch of pavement, we rode on a bridge over the Mississippi River that’s parallel to the nearby Blanchard Dam. I took all the dam pictures I wanted.
A few miles down the path is the town of Bowlus. From the trail, the first thing you see is the town’s restored train depot. Across the street is Jordie’s Trail Side Cafe and Catering. Jordie’s is a cyclists’ haven, most of their customers come to them on the trail. Formerly a bar, the cafe’s interior decoration includes locally produced sewing products.
Bob and I stopped in for coffee and cheesecake.
Then it was on to Albany on the rest of the Soo Line and part of the Wobegon.
Tomorrow we’ll probably have a wet and wild ride back to Willmar.