[Ed Note: This was to be published on July 25, 2022. It is in my “drafts” section, which leads me to believe it was never published (and I can’t find it in the published section) – probably because I forgot to push a button. Here it is, over a month later. Happy reading!]
Our rest day is in Northfield, MN, which feels like a home away from home. My daughter went to school here and we stayed here in 2018 during the coast-to-coast ride.
When my daughter was in school and I came to visit, we always went to dinner at Chapati, an excellent Indian restaurant in the Archer House, a 19th century hotel. Alas, it burned in 2020 and is now a hole in the ground awaiting redevelopment. I was told that plans have been approved to replace it with another hotel with retail on the main floor. I don’t know if the restaurant will return.
With that option gone, I had Saturday dinner at The Ole Store, where I had an excellent polenta with a Spanish red wine and a blueberry tort for dessert. Blueberries and basil pair well together so, if I can still find fresh peaches and blueberries when this tour is over, my next peach/blueberry pie will include fresh basil.
Over dinner we shared storm stories. Some folks only saw it in the distance, some waited out lightning in a convenience store and got great photos and videos. No one saw the wind I saw, which was apparently an isolated event along the ridge I was caught on.
Breakfast Sunday was at the Brick Oven Bakery, a favorite of mine for many years for its excellent coffee, pastries, and oatmeal. I was up at 4 AM due to a series of texts from Scotland. My COVID-afflicted daughter was trying to reserve a hotel room in which to quarantine, and the credit card company didn’t want to honor the charge. Try fixing that at 4 o’clock on a Sunday morning from across an ocean.
I killed time until 6 when the café opened; but they don’t serve breakfast until 7, so I had to be content with a cortado and a pastry for the first hour.
Lunch had to be at Tanzenwald Brewing Company, where I heard live honky tonk with my Sunday afternoon beer in 2018. I stopped at the Downtown Bike Shop (where our mechanic, Anders, used to work), then at another shop in order to replace my cue sheet holder, which had been damaged in the Devil’s Tower windstorm and finished off in Saturday’s windstorm. (While the Devil’s Tower windstorm was pretty impressive, it didn’t hold a candle to the wind I faced outside of Veseli, MN on Saturday, a wind I will never forget.) [ed note: 18 hours later, on a beautiful Sunday morning, it’s hard to believe that actually happened just 20 miles from here.]
I also stopped at the Just Food Co-op, where I picked up some Just Coffee to replenish Anders’ supply – he provides us with Moka Bialetti coffee at picnic. Just Coffee is a co-operative out of Madison, WI, and provides a special blend with the Just Food Co-op label – since Anders and I both have ties to Madison and Northfield, it seemed only proper.
Between breakfast and lunch I replaced my chain and cleaned up the bike after Saturday’s excitement. That, of course, required a ride into town to make sure it shifted properly with the new chain. While I have lived without a chain master link tool for many years, I have to admit it comes in pretty handy. The Park MLP-1.2 is a keeper.
Next week we ride through Wisconsin after losing two riders and adding 11 more as well as a new mechanic. We will cross the Mississippi on highway 61 (where “God said to Abraham, ‘kill me a son’/Abe said ‘man, you must be puttin’ me on’/God said ‘no’/Abe said ‘what?’/God said ‘you can do what you want Abe but/The next time you see me comin’ you better run’/Abe said ‘where do you want this killin’ done?”/God said ‘out on highway 61’” – Highway 61 revisited – Bob Dylan), ride the Sparta to Elroy trail – the first rails-to-trails conversion in the US [don’t tell anyone but I might take an alternate route], ride through the beautiful Devil’s Lake State Park, cross Lake Wisconsin on the Merrimac Ferry, then continue on to Manitowoc where we will cross Lake Michigan on another ferry.