June 9:  LaCrosse, WI to Wabasha, MN  69.3 miles

Leaving LaCrosse this morning was a dream come true.  The weather had the air temperature at 70 degrees and it was only 7AM.  The sky was clear and the sun was blazing over the horizon.  The hotel provided a full buffet breakfast for the group, so hunger was not on the list of things to think about the first thing.  

The route took us out of town on the city's bike route, so competing with rush hour traffic was not a concern.  Matter of fact, we didn't see any traffic for several hours.  The city's route dumped us onto the Great River State Bike Trail that paralleled the Mississippi River and the railroad for over twenty miles.  The crushed limestone pathway twisted through the farmland and along side the river through beautiful forests rich in oaks, maples, elms, dogwood, and hundreds of woodland wildflowers.  Many times the pathway was a levee in the middle of a marsh with beavers on either side, lily pads in bloom with frogs resting in the sun and birds swooping hither and there bragging about their beautiful and majestic paradise that only those on bikes or foot get to see.  

The Great River State Bike Trail is a state maintained trail that is open to bikers, walkers, hikers, in the winter snowmobiles, cross country skiers, anyone who wants to escape the city.  Today it was our "route away civilization" for the first half of the ride.

The plan was to ride this trail to its end just before Hwy 35/54 which leads over the river to Minnesota.  A left hand turn and over a bridge and magically one finds themselves in another state.  Unfortunately, the map was wrong and that left hand turn came in the middle of the state nature preserve.  While this could bring another beautiful excursion through nature's best -- birds, animals, playing in the distance -- it meant riding for another six miles of packed limestone and wondering where we are!!

Look there is a bridge -- and there is Minnesota -- Winona sits on the western side of the Mississippi.  The home of Winona State University, it prides itself in being that "small town".

After a lunch stop it was down Hwy 61 for the rest of the day on a wide shoulder of asphalt and stone with cars, semis, and trucks speeding by on the four lane highway.  Fortunately for all of us, the wind was at our backs, the grade was gentle and the surface relatively clean.

Almost seventy miles later the town of Wabash appears on the horizon.  It is a shower, dinner in the parking lot and off to bed.  Tomorrow promises to be short , but possibly a hill or two.

Great River State Bike Trail


Frankie & Patti on the Great River State Bike Trail

I Think That the Beavers Are Around Here Somewhere!

Are They Really Coming This Way??

Edith:  "I'm Here Too!"