June 15:  Little Falls to Pine River, MN  67.5 miles

What a beautiful day!!!  The sun is shining, the wind is gentle AND from the south, the route is an easy back country rolling well paved road that goes on forever!  For over thirty miles it was just pedal and enjoy the Minnesota countryside.  Farms, ranches, birds, deer, cattle, chickens, and even an angry turkey graced the view as we rode north.  At one point there were two peacocks "smiling" at us as we rode by.  Now there is nothing better than a peacock saying good morning -- as opposed to a dog barking "Get lost!!".

The morning was filled with wonderful vistas.  Minnesota is filled with lakes, valleys, and fantastic rolling countryside.  The route for the morning had us on roads that had no traffic other than an occasional farm vehicle.  The terrain was rolling, but not to the degree where one had to shift from high gear.  It was a just "sit back and enjoy" kind of morning.

The town of Brainerd was very shortly into the morning, so coffee at Wendy's was okay -- not the best, -- but okay!  Then pedal on to Merrifield and Nisswa, both resort towns among the lakes.  This part of the state is populated with thousands of lakes; some small, some large.  Just outside of the city of Brainerd the route went out onto the Paul Bunyan Bike Trail.  It runs from Brainerd to well beyond our destination.  A "Rails to Trails" path, it is a well paved "road" that parallels the major highway headed north, but without the traffic.  

The one thing that this beautiful adventure didn't plan on was the sudden out bursts from those huge thunderheads overhead.  While we could see them in the distance, it was amazing how within minutes a total drenching can occur.  Before one could get the rain gear on, the rain was pelting the body.  At one point the visibility was down to zero, the bike path a river, and unfortunately the glasses not equipped with windshield wipers!!  

Riding with a shoe or two full of water is fun!  It is pedal, slush, pedal, slush, pedal, " oh the water is flushing out the back"!!  Rain gear can be helpful or a problem also.  A biking rain jacket usually has a extended "tail" to cover the butt -- the idea being that the water will run off away from the body and all will be dry.  Now, that is the philosophy of "tail" rain gear.  It works if one wears the jacket "tail" properly.  When one forgets and has it tucked in behind the pack on the back of the bike -- it becomes the "best damn funnel of water into the pants" that was ever invented.  Just picture water flowing gently down the back into a pocket of material at the waistline only to then spill over and down the inside of the biking pants creating a feeling of total discomfort and embarrassment.  Oh the joys of riding in the rain!!!

While lunch was had in Nisswa between rain drops, the route continued on the Paul Bunyan Trail all the way to our final resting place for the night -- Pine Lake.  The threats of storms lingered all afternoon and occasionally dropped some more water on us, but the group persevered.  Once wet -- there was nothing stopping this group!!

Tonight the "resting place" is the Trailside Inn on Hwy 371 just outside Pine River.  We are only one day's ride from the headwaters of the Mississippi River, so excitement is mounting.  After all this pedaling, the end is in sight.

Indian Country

Minnesota Countryside

Our Route!


"And We Go Which Way??"


Rock Pile = High School Hangout


The Beginning of the Trail

Frankie Enjoying the Rain

Frankie and Edith:  "Finally a Dry Lunch!!  And with Chicken!!"