A leisurely 70 miles

The day started with a great breakfast at St Olaf College. Private schools tend to brag about their food service – if you’re going to charge $50K or more per year, you’d better have good food.

We were warned not to arrive in Pepin too early, as The Trail Boss had business to conduct at Cycle America Intergalactic Headquarters, which was our first stop of the day.

Only riders from this planet, though not this hemisphere

From there we rode the Cannon River Trail, a paved rail-to-trail conversion for about 20 miles through the woods along the Cannon River. See 2018 post for photos.

Picnic was in Redwing, MN, home of Redwing Shoes, makers of fine work boots.

We crossed the Mississippi River on US Highways 61/63, a trip much less harrowing than before due to the addition of a bike/pedestrian lane. The highway was still a bit daunting for a few miles until we turned onto WI Highway 35, The Great River Road, which parallels the Mississippi.

First view of Wisconsin, crossing the Mississippi

The river widens into Lake Pepin, a 22 mile section of river a couple of miles wide, and passes Maiden Rock, named for the native woman who jumped from that rock on her wedding night after a forced marriage.

Lake Pepin
Maiden Rock. I’m sure there is a photo of the sign with the story somewhere in the archives.

We rode into the village of Stockholm (population 78) for pie and espresso. This was the first time I’ve had blueberry/peach pie baked by anyone other than me. (I make a peach/blueberry – more peach than blueberry, the opposite of theirs.) It was a great pie and we doubled the town’s population for a few hours. There are gift shops in town and an Amish furniture store. I sat in a bentwood rocker there four years ago and almost called my wife to come and pick it up, it was so comfortable. There was a similar chair there today. I think I’ll be back for it after the tour. There was a beautiful elm dining room set and several quarter sawn white oak tables.

Stockholm, home of great pies

After a tour of the village and its park (camping allowed) we rode on into Pepin, where they had Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing on tap in order to help us avoid being too early.

The Little House in the Big Woods

This is our second town to lay claim to Laura Ingalls Wilder. De Smet, SD is home of the Little House on the Prairie; Pepin is home to the Little House in the Big Woods.

Tomorrow it is on to Sparta, home to astronaut Deke Slayton and the museum of bicycles and space; also the northern terminus of the Sparta-to-Elroy trail, the first rails-to-trails conversion in the US, known for its long and dark tunnels.

Deja vu?

We crossed the Mississippi into Wisconsin, riding along Lake Pepin (a large wide spot in the Mississippi River).

As a child I boated up the Mississippi with my family (from Winona to St Paul). It was windy and rough on Lake Pepin and my dad sang a sea shanty about a young boy who becomes a sailor after his father is lost at sea. It scared the crap out of me and I was sure we were all going to die as our little boat bounced over the waves. We went right down the middle of the lake, eschewing the calmer waters near the shore.

We passed Maiden Rock today, which I rode by on a previous tour many years ago. The link is to that post.

Next up is the Sparta to Elroy Trail, covered in the July 4 post.