Today would be our last day of riding with all the new friends we have made. It is bitter sweet to have the journey end, but the friends and memories made will last a lifetime. For the first time we began riding with the temperature 66, finally we have found some cool weather. Day was partly cloudy and at times looked like rain, but again we were dry when we got to Minneapolis. We left the motel as a group all wearing our ABB jerseys and retraced our ride back over the Mississippi into WI and back to WI-35. The leadriders rode quickly from the motel and I found my legs were not quite ready to maintain that speed. It was nice when Keith came up along side and put his hand on my back and pushed me along for about 50 feet. It gave me the energy I needed. Our ride was 61.5 miles with 2,652 feet of climbing, several long steady climbs of 6-8%. Total miles riden on this journey 1,780.
Once on Wi-35 we were riding with the ever changing Mississippi River on our left and the dense green bluffs on the right. Sometimes we would see a limestone table high on the bluff formed years ago by the river. After passing through Prescott we crossed the Mississippi River and were in Minnesota. We had our SAG stop just after crossing the river along its shore. Here we regrouped and had our final group picture. We continued our ride on St Croix Trail, a beautiful residential area with farmlands scattered throughout. Since several areas of our original route were washed out due to the heavy spring snowfall and recent rains we had to find an alternate way. Jeff, our leader on the 2014 cross country trip and the prior leader on the Mississippi ride, volunteered to mark a new route for us. He lives in Minneapolis and was able to gain access to previously closed roads due to a rock slide and concrete on pavement due to work on a bridge. His markings safely guided us into Minneapolis and safely to our motel. It was an emotional ride for me. After arthroscopic surgery in late January I worked extremely hard (physical therapy, exercises and short bike rides) to be able to do this ride. What helped me through the difficult climbs and the long days were all the people, my angels, that I was doing this ride for. I hope they received my energy as I received theirs. Thank you for sharing in my journey. It was nice to sleep in my bed last night.
Leaving Red Wing. Our last ride together.
The group quickly spread out.
Barn in foreground; Bluff behind it
For sale – Christmas trees
Freshly plowed field
Grade of the road
Beautiful long descent that went on for a mile.
Cows being put into separate fenced areas. Interesting to watch as I rode by.
Another ribbon candy road.
Crossing Mississippi just after passing through Prescott
Bike path crossing the river and bringing us into Minnesota
ONe final photo of our group
Beginning our 7 mile ride on St Croix Trail, another beautiful country road
Freshly planted corn fields; it has been interesting to see the different heights of the corn crop as we pedaled north.
Not sure what is planted here but found the farm interesting.
Another field of corn; sky is beginning to clear up.
I never got tired of riding by the farms and barns, but still loved the red barns best.
The irises that lined the road were just gorgeous
This is the largest silo (partially hidden behind tree on right) I have ever seen.
Looks like toilet paper on the road but it is a “plastic” sheet covering fresh tar. Grateful to not have tar splattering up on our bikes. This went on for a mile.
Getting close – my first look at roads leading into Minneapolis
Loopy foot bridge for pedestrians and bikers.
Fun to ride on
Bridge crossing freeway; would connnect to another spiral down ramp just like the one we had climbed.
Crossing the Mississippi to continue on bike path
Bike path that ran parallel to the river
Debris washed up on shore
Barges waiting to be loaded for trip down the Mississippi
A welcome sight
View of St. Paul and the Mississippi
How close we were to the river. Taking it all in.
Not an uncommon sight – train next to the river. Goods traveled by rails and barges
Noticed that there would always be at least five barges long and three barges wide that were pushed down or up the river.
Continuing on the bike path that would leads us to motel.
Bike path bridge across the train tracks
End of bike path for a while
Rock slide has closed this road. We were given permission to ride through. To ride around the detoure would have been a difficult climb up the bluffs. We were grateful that we could ride through.
You can see the rock slide on left which has been partially cleaned up
This is the bridge that concrete had been removed from. The concrete was blocking the road. They had just cleaned road the day before to make it passable. We were lucky once again.
View of bridge
Orange containers all along the road marking washed out areas
Ferry on the Mississippi. Interesting to follow as we rode by.
Crossing the Mississippi for the last time
Bike path next to freeway across the Mississippi.
Cynthia and I safely at the motel. Even though our journey together has come to an end our friendship will continue.