Day 35: Stillwater, MN – Dalbo, MN

My day started (after a few minutes of mental “I don’t want to go to school today!!”) with a yummy breakfast and delicious coffee. Im really getting spoiled! Betsy came to pick me up at 7, and we were back in Stillwater packing up very quickly. She had a little time today before her meeting with the architect, so she was able to join me for part of the day’s ride! It was awesome having her company and her knowledge of the trail systems. Ben’s father had put together an alternate route to Dalbo for me that avoided unnecessarily going east just to go west. I really enjoyed the route! It was scenic, not very hilly at all, and provided ample places to duck out of the rain that was my relatively frequent companion today.

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Thank you soooooo much to the entire Lake family! The only thing that could have been better is if Ben had been home as well.

My first stop of the day was a nature center! I have the uncanny ability not to be able to pass by without stopping in. I can’t remember the name at the moment, but will update the post once I’ve looked at the maps. I was the only visitor not part of a kids camp, so I had free reign of the place. I even checked out a bugs-eye view… Flattering, I know!

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Scandia, MN provided not only a break to let the rain pass, but also a great lunch stop. Potato soup! I also met three other cyclists at the restaurant who were biking from St. Paul to a cabin in Wisconsin. It is their yearly reunion and this their 13th year! Pretty special!

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There is a fair bit of Scandinavian influence in Minnesota, in case the name Scandia didn’t immediately make you think so. The old architecture is really beautiful. While some of the barns do need repair, it is amazing how good they do look given their age!

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The rest of my day was just a game of cat and mouse with the rain. I’d put my rain gear on, and then stop 20 minutes after to take it off again. Lather, rinse, repeat. I stopped at a farm stand for fresh veggies – baby zucchini, spicy peppers, onions, and other squash – as well as innumerable other times to wait out the rain while eating Rose’s cookie cake. πŸ™‚

Given my later start, I didn’t arrive in Dalbo until the evening. A few days ago I wrote about looking forward to a barn that was really well reviewed among bicyclists. That wasn’t the place I was thinking of… But this is! Don Olsen and his wife are farmers here in Dalbo who’ve converted one of their barns into a bunkhouse! You can see it on YouTube if you search for “bicycle bunkhouse.” I was soooooo happy to arrive! Two of my friends who I met in Muscatine are also here. Ryan and Matthew are English guys about my age who are taking time to bike the US before moving to Australia to work for a year. We’ve been occasionally texting each other about expected destinations, so it wasn’t entirely a surprise to find them in Dalbo, but with so much uncertainty, you never know. it’s nice to have friends to occasionally meet up with!

Here I am with the Don himself! The bunkhouse is amazing, and though he doesn’t like to be famous, he agreed that I could call the barn and their generosity “noteworthy.” πŸ™‚

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Today I’m off to Bowlus, MN and then only one more stop till Fargo! Mental hugs, happy Friday, and thank you alllll who’ve made my trip so memorable so far!

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