Day 33: Stockholm, WI – Stillwater, MN

I’m having such a wonderful time in Minnesota! I arrived to Ben’s parents house last night and had so much fun talking with them, eating Ranier and Bing cherries, and an amazing salmon dinner, that I fell asleep without so much as taking out my computer! So here I am today, writing about yesterday!
In truly groundbreaking news, Betsy, Ben’s mother has given me the little widget that allows you to upload camera pictures to an iPad! I did a test upload of a picture this morning, and it worked, so now I’m trying to type my first full post on it! We shall see, but so far so good!

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The road from Stockholm back to Minnesota was a continuation of the beautiful River Road I’ve been on the past two days. On one stretch, I felt like I was in a computer driving game! The road had recently been resurfaced, and the gorgeous turns and rolling hills made for a tremendously fun ride! Not to mention that I was largely alone for much of the morning…!

In Prescott, WI I stopped at a nursery/restaurant for a delicious piece of veggie quiche. No camera was quick enough to document, as it was devoured basically before it touched the plate. I also called Mama and Papa from there. I thought they sounded snippy and irritable. Mama started telling a story and then stopped, so I was just getting ready to sign off when Mama asks me, “Have you been sleeping enough? You sound very matter-of-fact.” I thought to myself, I sound matter-of-fact!?! I told her no, I’m fine. I thought I just need to keep trucking. Once I’d hung up, I started thinking about it. They hadn’t been snippy. I was projecting my snippy-ness onto the conversation! In true Motherly fashion, Mama knew before I did that I was, in fact, exhausted! I hadn’t slept well at all in Stockholm. The campground was mere feet away from the train tracks carrying freight up and down the Mississippi every half hour all day. When I realized exactly how tired I was, I decided it was time. To do something that I love doing, but don’t do nearly enough – take a nap!

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So it was that I found myself a nice picnic bench to lean Guffy up against, and a little spot for myself. I set my alarm for 30 minutes, and woke up with renewed happiness and not an ounce of the fatigue that had come across as exasperation on the phone! Thank you Mama, for knowing me better than I know myself!

After Prescott, I crossed back into Minnesota and found a place that reminded me of the wildlife center where Vijay and Ruth used to volunteer. The Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center has amazing walking trails and an orchard. They also had several raptors on display that had been injured and could no longer live in the wild. One was a red tailed hawk with brain injuries from a car- bird accident he was lucky to survive, another a bald eagle who’d had a run-in with a truck, and finally a peregrine falcon with a bum wing. It’s amazing to see them in captivity, but even better in the wild.

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Biking the last 25ish miles to the Lake’s house was not uneventful. I diverged from the ACA route and ended up taking a fairly heavily trafficked road towards Stillwater. This part of Minnesota is full of big rolling hills, and as I was silently trudging up one, a pickup truck full of teenage boys went screaming past. I felt something hit my back and splatter cold liquid, and then I saw several styrofoam water bottles explode in the grass of to the right of the shoulder. They were so bored the only activity they could come up with was “try to hit the suffering cyclist while driving 30+ mph.” really a stupid game, and I’m lucky and grateful that no damage was done. I wasn’t angry, more just startled. My first coherent thought after !?!#*!? was, “I hope they realize they are really thirsty and have no opportunity to get anything to drink for a while.” maybe thirst will make them learn…

After that experience, I had no problem getting to my destination. The Lakes live on a beautiful property that they’ve planted with both vegetables as well as native grasses and wildflowers. I thought of Beth and her native plant business in Ohio! It is stunningly beautiful, tall grasses that tower above my head, little tiny flowers that keep the bees happy, and numerous ruby-throated hummingbirds. Just tremendous!

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I also loved the Lake’s area for curing this year’s onion crop! They are totally renovating their house, and work is in full swing, so room for onions is at a premium…

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Ben, I can report that your parents are doing wonderfully! They are in great health and spirits, but miss you tremendously! I had your homemade honey this morning and thought of you. Could you taste it!? 🙂

Today Betsy is taking me into own to Rose’s house. I’m sooooo grateful for the day off! Only my second full rest day of the trip. I’m looking forward to quality Bowdoin friend time, with Rose, Jake, Adam and Alden. Hurrah!!!

More reports of my rest day to follow. 🙂

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3 Responses to Day 33: Stockholm, WI – Stillwater, MN

  1. Regina says:

    Hi Flavi,
    Your reports are great. I hope too that the boys will get a chance to learn their lesson.

    Have great day off.

    Love
    Regina

  2. mark yuhina says:

    Dear Flavia,

    Those photos and stories are stunning and inspiring! I am so luck to know you and thank you for doing the first hand report for us! I am looking forward to read the following journey…. ride safely and enjoy the trip!

    Mark

  3. Hey Flavs – Great to hang with you last night, delicious food and good times aplenty. I hope the gradual ascent through ND and MT isn’t too grueling – soon you’ll be in bighorn sheep country!
    -Adam

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