Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tonight we are in Winnipeg.  It is the first day we left on time and arrived without anything weird happening.  The weather had been nearly perfect for cycling, a slight overcast and temperatures in the 70's.  However, considering there was probably a 15+ mph headwind most of the day, I'm glad we were in the car.

We have changed our plans slightly. The beauty of a loosely planned trip with no fixed schedule is that it is easy to do.

Because it is more interesting and it better facilitates visiting with Cathy's friends and relatives, we have changed the beginning of the bike portion. Instead of starting in Baudette, MN and riding 107 miles to Bemidji, we are going to International Falls from where I will cycle 94 mi to Britt, MN. This puts us near the first people to visit. From there, I will bike 77 mi, mostly on the Iron Range Railway/Mesabi trail, to Grand Rapids, MN which is on the MRT. THEN we drive to Lake Itasca after another visit with relatives on that side of the state.    
Once done with visiting we start at the headwaters and follow the trail to NAWLEANS (New Orleans to Northwesterners).
A couple of hiccups yesterday. Tried to leave my credit cards at a Costco in medicine hat. That was after we found out that American Costco cards don't work in Canada. So, between a late start and with a little extra driving back and forth we killed enough time that we got only as far as Moose Jaw last night. Since we didn't get in until 8, by the time we went into town for a beer and some wings it was late getting to bed again.

We're actually on the road at a decent hour this morning 9 o'clock. Headed for Winnipeg.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

We "camped" last night at the Ramada Inn in Lethridge.  Who knew this would be the start of the UCI Tour of Alberta in a few days?  Oh well--on to my own cycling tour.

Had  mini ride with Cathy this morning.  She needed to get her rear view mirror adjusted and learn the peculiarities of her new hydration pack.  I wanted to figure out how to use my new bicycle cell-phone mount.  Between my Garmin GPS and Google, I should not get lost.

Headed for Regina today.  Thunderstorm last night but glorious weather today.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Day 1 driving: The late start and crossing a time zone put us into Cranbrook, BC a bit after 10.  Our hosts Doug and Dale greeted us graciously and made sure we knew where everything would be in the morning.  This is our idea of camping.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Planned departure time: 8-9AM.
Actual departure time: 11:30+

Along the way we determined between the amount of space required for equipment and other potential complications, we abandoned the camping idea.  Bingo!  Two large duffel bags removed from the packing experience.

The car is still fully loaded.

We are on our way about two minutes after this is posted.

While packing last night and this morning, I am struck by how different and more difficult it is to pack for, not just a two-month trip, but one where we will camp as well as stay in motels, and where I need to consider contingencies for 6 to 8 weeks on a bicycle (extra tubes, tires, tools, nutrition, etc.)

Packing the car is like playing tetris.  I have been shifting bags, not just to get everything in, but to make sure items we are most likely to need daily are easily accessible from side doors since there are two bikes on a rack that complicates opening the rear hatch.

Monday, August 22, 2016

We leave Seattle Sunday, August 28th.  The ride to Bemidji will be Wednesday the 31st.  After a day of visiting, we will begin following the MRT on 9/2 and will likely arrive in Minneapolis on 9/10, depending on the availability of Cathy's friends and relatives.
The plan is to drive to Baudette, MN by way of Canada's Hwy 1.  Neither Cathy nor I have driven this route and we hope to see a different look than the interminable "big sky" of Montana and western North Dakota.  From Baudette (with my rear bike tire touching the Canadian border) I'll ride to Bemidji, MN.  After that, the route will follow the Mississippi beginning with the headwaters in Lake Itasca.  It will take us a few extra days to get out of Minnesota because we have friends and relatives of Cathy to visit, at least one of whom wants to ride a bit with me.

The route is laid out comprehensively in Bob Robinson's book 

Bicycling Guide To The Mississippi River Trail: A Complete Route Guide Along The Mississippi River

Other than beginning in Minnesota and ending in Louisiana, we don't yet know the full route.  Bob's book covers both sides of the river and I am sure we will cross it more than once.  I do know we plan to cross to Wisconsin after leaving Minneapolis but after that, all bets are off.