Day 50 – Park Rapids, MN to Detroit Lakes, MN – 47 miles
We were so glad to be indoors, once again last night. Just after we walked back to our motel from dinner, I happened to glance behind me as we were going into our room & the sky was dark! Within 15 minutes, we watched a torrential downpour from our comfy, dry room! It rained like that for 15 minutes, or so and then the sun came out. This happened several times that evening and in between these rainstorms, we walked down the block & got groceries for the morning’s breakfast. Goodness! It’s been wet this June in Minnesota!
When we left our motel this morning, it was already 71 degrees (at 7:45 am) and overcast. It looked like rain and we checked our weather app, double-checking the radar. It indicated about a 50% chance if rain – most days have indicated this.
We only had one available food stop on the way to Detroit Lakes (the cool peeps all call it D.L.), a small convenience store in Osage & we talked to a few locals, both about hotels outside of DL and our route through ND. We thought if we had a good day, we might push past DL, but we had a night set up with a Warmshower host on Sunday, so the bonus miles wouldn’t help us much. Back on the bike and a few small rolling hills. We noticed a nice scenery change as we came into Smokey Hills State Forest. Nice tall trees to block us from the cross winds. We also saw huge patches of Lady Slippers on the side of the road, so pretty!!
We had a tiny bike mishap on the road (not counting the bike falling on Jim while he was stopped on the side of the road :-/). As we were coming down a good size hill, Jim spotted a foot long round piece of threaded rod ( or similar). Since the rod was perpendicular to the road, it was too hard to miss going at the speed we were going. When the bike ran over it, it picked it up and knocked off the timing chain.
We soon noticed the ominous sign of oncoming cars with their headlights on, the skies didn’t look too bad, but we started feeling a few drops, then a steady light sprinkle. We were fortunate it only lasted a mile or two. As it was raining we kept looking right and left for a hideout canopy in case it got bad. We didn’t see anything promising, but it was only barely sprinkling. It’s getting pretty desolate out here, we both decided that pushing past DL would not gain up much, and the downside of getting stuck in the rain pushed us to stay in DL for the night.
We had emailed a WS host yesterday but hadn’t heard back from them. Not wanting to be pushy, we thought we’d get a motel room tonight. But when we got to DL, we called around & found everything booked up. Apparently this is a popular resort area. With rain & more rain in the forecast, we called the WS host on the phone & she graciously agreed to take us in, even though they have another WS guest for the night.
This weather has been such a pain! It’s hard to know how far we’ll get each day, so it isn’t practical to make reservations. The WS homes have been flexible, but they’re getting fewer & further between. We had made an agreement that we wouldn’t camp in the rain, so we are so glad to be inside again because in the time we had lunch there were two big rainstorms that came thru!
As we were sitting in the coffee shop in DL, Jim noticed a guy ride by on a loaded up touring bike. Shortly after that, he walked in & came right over to see us. It is our fellow cyclist staying at the WS home! His name is Bala (“Bay-la”) & he is cycling from Ohio to California – and he is 17 years old! Bala said it took some convincing to get his parents on board with this trip. He said he’s been thinking about it since he gave directions to some long distance cyclists, 4 years ago. He seems well prepared and is doing great with his ride. We talked for a bit & then all got on our bikes and rode the last 5 miles to our WS home for the evening. It was quite windy and we had turned going south, right into the wind. Luckily not too far to go.
Link to Bala’s blog: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/index.html?doc_id=13768
Our WS hosts, Jean and Mike are so nice! They’ve put us up in their bunk house & Bala is in their guest bedroom. They put out a spread of cheese & chips & salsa as appetizers & then made a wonderful pasta hot dish for dinner. This was followed by a pontoon ride out on Lake Sallie. They are a friendly couple & we had quite a gang of friends out on the pontoon boat. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperative and another storm rolled in, whipping up whitecaps & nearly toppling the boat lift/awning until they got the boat under it / on it and weight of the boat held it down. After a little bit indoors waiting out the weather, we went back out on the dock to watch the sun set. Another great day with great new friends!
Lots of lady slippers along the road today! Beautiful!
Our hosts, Jean & Mike: