57 miles from Monticello to Ft Snelling. Arrived around 1:30. Nice weather all day but we were still beat. Charlie’s computer reported 417 miles total. The ride was only supposed to be 375. My squishy bits are in full rebellion. I will not be riding to work tomorrow! Not many pics today.

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68 miles. Hot (85 deg) with a headwind (19 mph). A picturesque church and some farms constituted the scenery. The hotel had a nice pool, which almost made up for the day. At the end-of-the-trip meeting, we had a photo contest and YT won with the cloud pic below.

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77 miles today. Was supposed to be 62. I’ve given up on mileage forecasts. I get there when I get there. Was a nice start to the day, although it was quite chilly to start (48 deg). Mid morning the thunderstorm rolled in and we had pelting rain and strong winds for a couple of hours. I only made it to lunch because I hung on to the wheel of this 65 yr old hard woman (thank you Cathy!). She set a brutal 18 mph pace but I just stared at the wheel and killed myself to keep up. At lunch, I was sure that I would sag to the hotel. But the clouds parted and the sun came out so I went for it. I’m glad I did. The afternoon was a delight! Rolling hills in picturesque farm country with only one dog that chased us.

There were more than a few directions snafus today, not the least of which was the unmarked lunch spot that everybody missed!

I was glad to get to the hotel, but bummed to learn there was no pool, no laundry, and that there are still smoking rooms in hotels. The whole place reeks. It’s pretty disgusting. Dinner was awesome and the mayor of Little Falls came to greet us for dinner.

Anyway, to bed and here’s hoping tomorrow isn’t as wet or long.

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This last pic is Lee and Liz sharing a drink menu. Liz works for MNDOT on alternative transportation.

85 miles. No rain. Yeah! But a gnarly headwind all day. The route and scenery was simply stunningly wonderful. There was 19 miles on Hwy 169, however, that was pure hell. No shoulder and trucks passing within inches. That sucks.

But, when we got to the hotel, the hot tub was great, and I totally partied with the ladies. Of course, they were all old enough to be my mom (or grandmother), but they still made great margaritas!

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More rain. Due to the rain, we decide to cut the route short today. Organizer says it will only be about 40 miles. Turned out to be 55. We’re starting to call them “Russ Miles”. The scary thing is that Russ says tomorrow will be 80 miles. :-o

Again with the soaking wet ride and gear. At least the hotel had a hot tub and pool. That was awesome.

I mostly put my head down and rode hard to get done with the rain. Charlie came in about 30 min after I did.

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Cloudy. Nice breakfast at Douglas Lodge with a ranger presentation and hot coffee. Rain held off until after lunch. Was supposed to be a 62 mile day. Was actually 74. That last 30 miles all deeply rain soaked. Got to McArdles resort for dinner. Kind of low key. There were 14 of us in a bunk house that was full of wet stinky bike gear. Not so fresh. That night was exhausted but I still couldn’t sleep due to Charlie’s snoring.

Has lunch in Bemidji and met a lady in a loon costume.

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I’m doing an organized group ride starting at Itasca and following the Mississippi River back to the twin cities.

When I got to Ft Snelling for the start with my father in law, I was pretty amazed -I was the youngest person there by a decade. I was starting to worry that these old Betty’s were going to school my ass hard! Turns out, they just about all knew each other from the Hiawatha Bike club.

The bus ride to Itasca was just as long and boring as you’d imagine. The only excitement was the rest stop. Nobody told the driver how many people were on the bus, and he forgot to count. So we had a little missing person drama, when in fact everybody was already back on the bus.

The night in the cabins was comfortable and uneventful.

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