Thursday, August 8, 2013

Movin' on up to the East Side

“We're movin' on up,
To the East Side,
We finally got a piece of the pie.”

I crossed over the Mississippi River, one of the arbitrary dividing lines between the western and eastern United States. Things are suddenly looking familiar, especially the vegetation. Spruce, birch, trembling aspen, and the occasional towering Eastern White Pine — looks almost like home. Gone are the big skies of the Great Plains, the horizon is now framed by trees.

This is Paul Bunyan country

Distances are also closer, there are now gas stations and stores almost every 10 to 15 kilometres, and I no longer have to worry about carrying enough water or food for the day. I think I passed over a dozen campgrounds and motels along the road today. Comforting in one hand, less of an adventurous edge on  the other.

I had such a good rest in Bemidji, I felt like sleeping in because Jerry and Cindy's guest room was so comfortable. I had a long interesting chat with Jerry over breakfast, he used to be the police chief in town. I picked his brain about doing the Mississippi River Trail which I'm lining up as a trip in the near future. On the way out of town, I stopped at the visitor centre for a set of maps of the headwaters to get that idea percolating over the winter :)

The day started out clear but soon started to cloud over by noon. It kept things on the cool side but thankfully no rain. Minnesota has a good network of trails, mostly for dirt bikes and snowmobiles in the winter, but a good number of them are paved.

The Paul Bunyan Trail is 112 miles of paved bike path

Supermarket salad and chicken are habit forming

Another nice bike path parallel to Highway 2
The one that got away: it was this big

Good ride through the Land O' Lakes, saw a few of them.  Got into Grand Rapids in the late afternoon with enough time to chill out in the evening.

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