Day 46 – Milaca, MN to Brainerd, MN – 72 miles
We woke up to cool temps, clear skies & sunshine and were on our way at about 7:30. We rode on a highway but the shoulder was nearly as wide as a lane and there was very little traffic. We easily covered the first 23 miles without a stop and it felt great to get so many miles behind us so early. We stopped for a second breakfast (we had a light breakfast at our hotel) and got right back on the bike. Within a few miles we were riding along Twilight Drive on the shores of beautiful Mille Lacs Lake, hearing the laughing of the loons out on the lake. What a gorgeous lake and a gorgeous day! Mille Lacs Lake is beautiful, clear water with a rocky shore. It’s very big, we could barely make out shore on the opposite side.
As we came into the town of Garrison, we were excited to see another big fish statue! So, of course, we stopped for a picture! Then we went across the street & had lunch.
The last 20-some miles were rather uneventful – slightly uphill, occasional gusts of a headwind but it was mostly not noticeable. When we got into Brainerd, we stopped at the grocery store & called our Warmshowers (WS) host, Audra to let her know we were close. She gave us additional directions to their house, which we found quite easily. We enjoyed some great conversation with Audra and she cooked a wonderful pasta meal for dinner. These WS evenings are really nice and these WS hosts are so incredibly kind – we are so grateful for these kind people who offer lodging and a meal to us weary travelers!
Audra has a new member of the family, Franklin, who is a 5 month old rescue puppy who is working to overcome some behavioral challenges. We got a kick out of his persistence with the cat, Puck, who is just as persistent in his efforts to put this pup in his place.
Serious, introspective thoughts from Jim: On many bike rides I’ve made a point of “counting” road kill I see on the side if the road. I really don’t count, but I keep tabs in my brain. The most hit species seems to vary from year to year, but that may be due to location or time of year, etc. One year I was amazed at how many porcupines I saw. This year the big winner (?) is Turtles, big and small, birds next, then frogs, deer, raccoon, lots of other unidentifiable things and one porcupine. So I’m not super attached to turtles, but the fact that they are winning is troubling to me. Because as wonderful as people have been to us on this trip, and as my general good feelings for mankind grows and grows…I can’t believe that these turtles, (and I’m talking very big ones!) are darting out in front of cars. Do people not see them?