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Minnesota state 

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7/7 90.2/1879.2 Ortonville, MN - Willmar, MN
We didn't ride yesterday. when I woke up it was overcast, cold and rainy, and that star trek marathon is still on. I dozed most of the morning and we wandered over to the library around 12. On the way out Paul broke a spoke (I won't tell you how- but a bungee cord featured prominently in the process). At the library they let me wallow in the internet to my heart's content. Paul went looking for health food (or pie) and I surfed. When he came back he told me that the woman at the health food store was a cyclist and they had talked for a while. On the way out of the library a young woman started a conversation with us. Turns out she's the store lady's daughter. Christina invited us to dinner. We went to the store and I met Meg and Dave- Christina's parents, who invited us again (does that mean they owe us 2 meals?). Meg and Christina are the cyclists, but the whole family is stuffed with talent. After dinner and some route mapping stuff they gave us a mini concert. Dave on guitar accompanied Meg on violin, Elena and Joseph solo'd on piano and Christina played the cello. They are a wonderful interesting family. Back at the motel Paul used one of hte fiber fix temporary spokes to get him to the next town, they work pretty well and was simple enough for even us to figure out. Now back to today.
my biggest #'s yet. Unfortunately some of that was because us 2 boneheads cannot be trusted to decipher a simple map, we did 14 extra miles. It was still overcast and cool today. but no rain and it wasn't very hilly. We stopped at several towns on our whirlwind tour of western Minnesota, and some of them were even on our planned route. The county roads are fantastic, very little shoulder and even less traffic. But you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a lutheran church; they were everywhere. Sometimes there wouldn't even be a town, just St Pauli's, or St John's, etc. There's also lots of flies- biting flies. By the time I was getting close to town and my bestest mileage ever I was getting tired- so of course that signaled a change in the atmospheric pressure and flattend my rear tire. 3 miles from town. Paul called me on my now working phone (stay away from cingular) and told me he was at the Willmar bike shop and that Rick the owner was letting us overnight in a vacant upstairs apartment.

7/8 29.0/1901.2 Willmar, MN - Cosmos, MN
Wow what a wimpy day. We didn't leave til almost 11a.m.. Rick's bike shop got broken into last night so he wasn't done with Paul's bike. He put a new kickstand on my bike, removed a link from the chain and even cleaned it. while we waited we hit up a greasy spoon and the library. Today was mostly about the slog. We had a wicked headwind all day. I averaged 6 mph. we were supposed to do 60 odd miles, but by 5:30 we had only made 26. A few miles outside of town a guy pulled me over, asked about the trip and then dove into his trunk and started offering me cycling stuff. Roger is a cycling rep amd covers MN and the Dakotas. Anyway he gave me 3 pairs of very colorful cycling socks, that means I can put off laundry even longer. Cosmos is a small town with galactic ambition- all the streets have celestial names and there's a space festival next week. We're camping in the city park-no restrooms but they make up for that by supplying extra mosquitos.

7/9 62.9/1963.1 Cosmos, MN - Chaska, MN
The mosquitos this morning were viscious, I had to walk around to eat and every time they found me I had to move on. we were on the road by 7. It was overcast most of the day and the shoulder sucked. We stayed on rte7 and then headed south through a wildlife reserve. That road had no shoulder but little traffic and some nice scenery. Paul rode ahead and we met up at the library in Chaska. Camping and hotels are expensive here and the local police said we couldn't camp in the park. We were looking at 4 more miles of riding and $50 for a room or 8 miles and $40 for dirt. On the way out of town Paul veered into an ice cream parlor, we started talking to the woman behind the counter. Lavonne and husband Gary called around for places for us to camp. Finally the restaurant owner (Bobby) offered us a spot on the asphalt in the back. Lavonne, Gary and their daughter Shanta were really nice and made us feel welcome. Since lodging was free we sprang for dinner. Afterwards we waited and waited for the check and finally asked the waitress. Seems the couple sitting across from us (Vic and Cathy) paid for our meal. Bobby gave us fresh baked cookies for dessert. I had to set my non-free standing tent up on asphalt and grab a combat shower in the rest room, but overall it was a wonderful night.

7/10 48.0/2011.1 Chaska, MN - Northfield, MN
We got on the road around 7:40, thinking it was going to be a short day. Wrong. Randy in Northfield- we were heading for his house to overnight, gave us a route to follow, but of course we knew better- cuz we're not from here, and went a different way. Snicker. Some of the roads were ok but one stretch of about 8 miles was like cycling in a video game, no shoulder, fast moving angry drivers and obstacles. Paul broke his chain outside of New Market where he stopped for - what else, pie and ice cream. There was a lot of hilliness going on. But I seem to have reached a truce with the climbs, actually it's more of a surrender. We stopped at the bike shop in Northfield and they checked over my bike and I finally retired my much abused helmet. The parting was bittersweet and I know my very worn gloves are thinking they're next. On the way to Randy's house I heard a sound like gunshot- Pauls' amazing exploding rear tire blew off the rim. About a mile and a half from our destination. I went ahead and Paul walked his bike in. I met Randy's daughter Annie, home from college for the summer. They gave us the run of the house and PC. Randy has a vrex (recumbent) but gave it up because of the hills-so I guess its not just me. Him and his wife Lois have done some group touring. We also met his youngest Johnny. It was nice to finally get clean AND wear clean clothes- at the same time, together. We hit 2000 miles today and we should be in Wisconsin tomorrow.

7/12 54.9/2066.0 Northfield, MN - Elsworth, WI
ANOTHER STATE DONE!! I'm in Wisconsin-the 'cheese curd' (whatever that is) capital of the world. We didn't ride yesterday, there were thunderstorms overhead all morning and it was raining and nasty. So we took Randy to breakfast, I did some phone and lazed around all day. We got a late start today. We just met Lois; Randy's wife this morning and we yakked at her for quite awhile. Then the post office, and of course by now the bike shop's open so... short story, we didn't get out of Northfield til after 9. On the way we met a couple of guys driving to our destination; Cannon Falls for the beginning of a bike trail to the border. John and Neil were going to ride the 20 mile trail to Red Wing and back. So of course we had to visit with them for a few. The trail to Red Wing was glorious- paved, shaded, lined with fountains of champagne... We met up with John and Neil after Paul fixed his chain(broke again) little more than 1/2 way through the trail. They turned around and rode to Red Wing with us and bought us lunch. We milled around Red Wing for a bit (the home of Red Wing steel toed boots), goggled at the Mississippi (didn't look that mighty to me), and then hit 63N to WI. Shots at the border, and of course a steep a$$ hill to welcome us to a new state. We're spending the night at the fairgrounds, we got showers! AND electricity!