1998 Bike Trip - Uphill but with the wind to the U.P.


Jim and Tom's 3rd bike tour

Saturday, July 18

Would you trust these two guys with your bike?

Prep

Sunday, July 19, 90 miles

A good pancake breakfast for a send-off as we leave Minneapolis around 8:30am.

Start

The Route:

map

Notice that it doesn't look uphill all the way smile

The Adventure Begins:

We ride to Lake Nokomis and check out how many trees were lost to recent storms. Next we ride down into and through Fort Snelling, across the 494 bridge over Minnesota River, through Mendota Heights, Inver Grove Heights, and then across the toll bridge over the Mississippi river to St. Paul Park. [[Note: the toll bridge doesn't exist anymore.]]

We bump into Theresa Do (who I've ridden many miles with) and her friend John returning from Afton - small world. We ride through Washington County and down into Afton. The hill down into Afton is a great one for cruising on down. One of the best downhills of the whole (mostly uphill) trip. We take a break in Afton.

Selmas

We ride from Afton to Hudson and have lunch at the local DQ. After lunch we ride to the Octagon House in Hudson.

Hudson

I start having some trouble with my rear wheel going out of true. This problem plagued me throughout the bike trip.

From Hudson we ride to Willow River State Park and then through the Park. First stop is Little Falls Dam.

Willow River Dam

We ride back out of the park and north a short ways to a spot where we can hike down to Willow Falls - very nice waterfall.

Willow River Falls

A bike trip is always enhanced by a good waterfall. We search for a lookout up top that is indicated on the map, but no luck.

We leave and ride to New Richmond, WI on our way to Amery. We enjoy a nice SW breeze at our backs all day. The roads from New Richmond to Amery have the least amount of automobile traffic. The temperature is around 90.

Jim's pedal came out while he was riding and we put it in tighter this time. I had some more problems with my back wheel too. Arrive in Amery around 7pm and have dinner at the supper club next door to our piece of Americana hotel - The Amery Camelot Hotel. Good bed, good price, ma & pa kinda place - slept well.

Monday, July 20, 99 miles

We leeave Amery around 8am after a less than satisfying breakfast at the local Hardys. It is cool in the a.m. but there are good biking roads. We bump into some road construction as we are about to start heading east and this causes a 4-5 mile detour. However, the detour roads are interesting to ride (very remote).

Detour

We ride to Cumberland and enjoy lunch at the City Bakery Cafe - excellent.

Cumberland

We also visit the local DQ for desert.

My back wheel is still an annoying problem.

We make a wrong turn out of Cumberland, but this works out OK as we see a Bald Eagle with prey in its talons (2 miles extra). We turn around and get back on track. We take a rest in Haugen, WI.

Haugen

We ride to Birchwood through a nice forested areas.

Birchwood

We buy some snacks in Birchwood and ride north to our B&B near Stone Lake, WI. There is nothing that man nor nature can place in our way to stop us now.

Rough Road

Lake Cheloc Road (County F) is nicely forested. The white pines are exceptionally nice. Birch trees are everywhere. This is lake country.

Lake Country

We arrive at our B&B at 6:30pm, shower and head to the Beechmore restaurant for supper (good). The trip to the restaurant and back adds another 6 miles to our trip. We'll call this day a century. We head down to the dock after dinner to see the sunset over Whitefish Lake.

Tuesday, July 21, 98 miles

Excellent breakfast at Randalls B&B - especially the blueberry muffins.

Randalls Morningside

Our hosts give us 4 extra muffins to take with us. Big hills today. First one is County N near Stone Lake. Fortunately the weather is cooler and the wind is still at our backs. We ride through lake country near Lake Chippewa.

Lake Chippewa

Very pretty area - wind is picking up.

We stop and explore the Teal River near County S and Moose Lake Road.

Teal River

Ride north on County Rd S and then east on State Hiway 77. This is a nice wide road with not much traffic. We see a few deer cross the road ahead of us.

We have lunch in Clam Lake at a small restaurant in this very small town. This is still an area of lake resorts. After lunch we ride on County GG to Mellen. The hill to Mellen is most memorable - 14 miles uphill. Good thing the grade isn't too steep and the wind is at our backs. It is up hill most of the way to Mellen. The first half of the road is rather rough, but it smoothes out for the last half.

We take a needed break in Mellen. Next we start the ride to Ironwood. Mostly uphill again but the hills are not as long. When we arrived in the city of Montreal, there is a nice downhill stretch for a couple of miles.

Montreal

This is the first significant downhill stretch since County N at the start of the day.

We visit the Giles Flowage in the area.

GIles Flowage

Giles Flowage is a small waterfall with interesting rock formations.

Giles 2

Next we ride to Hurley and then down Silver Street, a couple of blocks with a significant number of bars lining the street. We cross into Ironwood, Michigan and follow Business 2 through Ironwood to US Hiway 2, then east to our hotel. We stayed at a place called "AmericInn" (cute) and had a great dinner at Don & GGs restaurant. The owners of this place also own the bike store next door. I have a couple of beers with dinner and wake up with a headache the next day (something about me and beer :^)

We'll call today another century - back to back centuries.

Wednesday, July 22, 58 miles

Late start but cool morning with plenty of sunshine. We ride back roads at first out of Ironwood to Bessemer. Then we climb onto US Hiway 2 to Wakefield.

Lake Sunday

Some nice views of surrounding countryside from Hiway 2. We didn't bring much food to the Porcupine Mountains and food is scarce as you get to that area.

Road to Porkies

We have enough food - but barely.

Superior View

Way off in the distance we get our first glimpse of Lake Superior.

First we visited the Presque Isle Falls on the Presque Isle River in the S.W. corner of the park. These are the nicest falls in the park.

Presque Isle Falls

There are upper and lower falls and we visit them both.

Presque Falls 2

We hike from the falls to Lake Superior where the mouth of the Presque Isle River is located. We skip stones across the water to the other side.

Ranger tells us the Little Carp Trail is good for seeing virgin timber but also tells us it's only 5 miles from where we are. Turns out it's closer to 10 miles and so we take the wrong hiking trail the first time. We ride the extra 5 miles (all uphill) to the trail and take another hike.

Little Carp Trail

After this hike we ride another couple of miles uphill and then we get some nice downhills finally. The last stretch is faster and easier. We arrive at Lake Superior again, this time at the NE corner of the park.

Porkies

The sign at the NE Corner is one of the defining moments of the trip. We ride the final stretch to Silver City.

Silver_City

We buy some food and fill the emptiness in our stomachs.

We stay at Scott's Superior Inn & Cabins near Ontonagon. Our room is near Lake Superior, so we walk to a nearby beach and drink a bottle of wine on the nice sandy beach to celebrate - I stay away from the beer today :^)

We drive to a restaurant near Ontonagon for a nice dinner (walleye for me). After dinner we drive back to our motel and watch the sunset over Lake Superior as the brisk winds blow the waves on shore. Perfect ending.

345 total miles