Thursday, September 8, 2016

We stayed last night with a high school classmate of Cathy's, Merrily Jones.  She treated us to dinner last night and breakfast this morning. 

After that it was a day of fits and starts and wrong decisions that ultimately meant a shorter ride and some unintended good results. It started when we reached the start point for the day and I found I had failed to connect the bike lock. It had apparently bounced off the bike rack.  We drove back to Merrily's to see if we could find it.  About half way there, we realized we had taken a wrong turn that added 30 minutes to our search.  We never found the lock but we had a gorgeous drive by Mille Lacs (pronounced "Millax") Lake.  Cathy enjoyed this because she rarely got to go here when she was a child.  Notice how big is this lake!

We were running so late I knew I would not be able to ride to the planned destination in time to visit Cathy's cousin Darrell.  So we decided to have a couple of lattes at the Beanery in Aitkin. Here we met Glen Browning and his daughter Lydia. Glenn told us about his plan to cycle from California to Florida when he was in his twenties. He got as far as Colorado when a series of events led to him making a significant change in his life. He's now the pastor of a church near Aitkin. He regaled us with stories of his bicycle trip.
When I finally got on the road, the planned destination was Little Falls instead of Salk Rapids, 68 miles instead of 99.  The route started northwest and wouldn't you know the wind was mostly west and northwest.  It was nearly 10 miles before I stopped battling the wind.  You can see there is little in this part of the state to slow the wind.
I did get my first glimpse of the river around this time too.  For over a mile, it was mostly obscured by the trees but when it turned it looked like

A few minutes later I got some good news. Cathy texted me that she found a new bike lock and I would not need to stop in the next town to shop for one.  On top of that, she had connected with Darrell and we had a place to stay and a time and location for dinner tonight.
I had a long stretch on the Cuyuna Lake bike trail.  I had views of the river and lakes for most of five miles.  This was one of my favorites.  You can see the MR flowing out of one lake and into another.


Coming into Brainerd, Cathy told me she needed to pick me up in order for us to get to dinner in time.  I stopped on a bridge crossing the MR to take this shot.
When she got there and I loaded my bike onto the rack, I found that the lock she found was better than the one we lost.  Yet another time a lemon turned into lemonade!  Today's ride was terminated at 42 miles.  We have also decided to take a day off and stay with Darrell for an extra day.  Cathy can use a break from driving and I have business things to take care of.  We will return to Brainerd on Saturday and the plan is to ride 99 miles to Monticello.  There I hope to connect with Cathy's second cousin Sharon who wants to join me for part of the ride.  Data for today follows: 

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