June 13:  Cambridge to Little Falls, MN   88.7 miles

Once again the sky was clear of clouds, the threat of storms non-existent, and the route promising to be relatively flat and traffic free.  What a great prospect of a perfect day!

Leaving the parking lot and crossing town through a light industrial park allowed the group to escape any "rush hour" traffic and be out on the country roads before the roosters had even thought of waking.  This area of Minnesota is predominantly gently rolling hills covered with beautiful meadows, wheat fields, or grazing lands.  The farms now call themselves ranches and the cattle grazing in the distance hills confirm this change in attitude.  As the sun slowly rose above the horizon the group pedaled farther and farther from civilization and into the heartland.  The river turns westerly now as we head toward the headwaters.  The roads unfortunately don't follow exactly and were probably designed to follow the borders of ranch property.  Thus as we watch the river head to the west, we ride to the north.  

The route is now all back country roads, so trucks and speeding cars are few and far between.  Without a compass the only way to know if we are headed in a generally right directly in to watch the sun.  But the route seemed to switch.  Logic said to head northwest.  The map has us going due north, then east, then south, then west, then north --  are we going in a circle?  The farm houses are set back off the road or if within sight closed up for the day leading us to believe that whomever lives in these parts is gone most of the day.  

The only life that would greet us were an occasional dog -- not what a biker really wants to befriend.  Most are only interested in letting you know that if you step into their yard, you may be legless.  The few that do venture out into the road are easy to subdue, if you see them coming.  It is the ones that come out of nowhere that cause the adrenaline to rise!!!  Ever want to see a biker's heart rate jump -- bark loud right behind the rear wheel!!!  

The other amazing thing about the Minnesota roadways is that they number the streets like a big city would.  Miles from anywhere you cross 190th Street only to have 189th several miles down the road.  Here again logic tries to dictate to say if the numbers are decreeing than by the time we get to 1st Street we should be in a town.  Logic is right, but the town is a crossroad out in the middle of nowhere.  The town of Little Rock was just that "a little rock".  When the original surveyors platted the area, maybe Little Rock was a big thing!

One unexpected sight was a herd of Tibetan Yaks grazing in a field near the road.  Their presence brought each rider to a abrupt halt in total awe of what we were looking at.  Was that a cow?  A buffalo?  A horse?  A cross breeding of all three?  It took some research to get the right answer.

Another unexpected venture was a makeshift picnic along side the road.  After miles and miles of no town in sight and the sun getting warmer and warmer, the decision was made to pull off onto a gravel road and sit under the few trees there were and "picnic" on peanut butter sandwiches and Clif bars!

While the day's ride was a beautiful, gentle ride through some of the most majestic countryside, it was a long one.  Halfway through the day we came upon a bridge out and had to be detoured around the area.  While at first only adding a couple extra miles to the day's total, as the day wore on the route seemed to grow.  The map had some errors in it, so what was quoted as "x number of miles" was wrong and now there were still ten to go.  That little detour coupled with the map error almost gave us a century ride today!!  Hot and sweaty. but thankful for "the wind to our back" kind of day we arrived in Little Falls, MN for a well earned rest day!!

Old Barn

Newer Farm/Ranch

Yard Sale

Tibetan Yaks

Detour -- Bridge Gone Away!!!!!

Frankie, Kathy, Jenna Lunch!

Holly: "I know I have something to eat in here somewhere!"

Judy:  "I DO!!!!!"

Okay, Which Way is West?

Clark: "This Isn't the Air Pump?"

Kathy helping Vicki Stay Cool!

Mary: "I Found The Way!"