Day one: Thursday August 18. MSP to Montfort Wi. Met at Wayne's house and after prayer and scripture reading headed south. The plan was to take mostly side roads all the way through SE MN into NE Iowa before crossing into Wisc. This would make the four hour trip into eight. But that would be OK, since we were on vacation and the trip is about the ride not the destination.
At noon we stopped at the Covered Bridge Restaurant for lunch in Zumbrota. From here we'd continue on fun roads south, bypassing Rochester. (We dislike riding in cities). But there was a wrinkle I (Wayne) couldn't find my cellphone. I surmised that I threw it on top of my duffle bag at home and it slid into the street. After borrowing Bill's phone and making some calls/texts we decided to head into Rochester and pick up a new one. That was a fine solution except it forced us into the city and onto not very much fun roads. BTW, it turned out that I hadn't lost my phone at all but merely left it on my desk at home (!).
After we finally got south of I90 we were back onto some fun roads but the sun was getting low and we had a long way to travel before we rest... Did find a DQ though:
We twisted our way down and around SE MN and eventually dropped into Iowa and crossed into Wisconsin at Lansing. Then we crossed some hills east rising off the Mississippi valley on a nice road through multiple large apple orchards before getting onto US61. It was now getting very late and we needed to get rolling. The trip into Rochester ate up way too much time. South on 61 and east finally got us to Montfort Wisc as the sun was going down. Didn't look forward to taking the side roads in the dark to our rental cabin but figured it'd be OK. Stopped at a gas station/convenience store to buy some food. But then we looked at the sky. The western sky was darkening quickly not because of the setting sun but because of huge thunderclouds moving in. A quick look at weather.com confirmed the worst, a huge thunderstorm was bearing down on us!. We donned rain gear and were about to head into the now beginning rain but when the wind picked up to what felt like hurricane gusts we decided to wait it out. Graciously an employee let us park our bikes in a car wash bay so the wouldn't get blown away.
While we were eating gas station sandwiches I got a call from the owner of the cabin wondering about our status. I told her we were in town waiting for the rain to quit then we'd head out in the dark and try to find the place. Turns out she wasn't actually expecting us until tomorrow night and was surprised to hear how close we were. But she said we'd never find the place on our own in the dark so she'd send her son into town to show us the way. And turns out that this was sage advise because this place was hidden! Her son showed up and we loaded up. The heavy storm was over but it was still drizzling. He said, "you know we have no potable water at the cabin, right?" "Ah,,,, no not really"... Lloyd ran into the store and bought a couple of cases of bottled water for the weekend. Then we followed him to the farm where the cabin is located. From the farm, the cabin is through a corn field, across a creek and through the woods on a glorified cow path. In the dark and wet we didn't dare try to make that trek on our bikes. So he let us park our bikes in a farm building. We loaded all the gear and ourselves into the back of his pickup and made the foray to our home away from home. The house was way cool in a great back woods location. As advertised, the cabin was "off the grid" which normally was not a big deal since they have a generator. However, at this time, the generator was broken so the only lights we had were 12v battery lights and our own flashlights. Still, we each found a place to sleep, three on beds, two on couches and hit the hay. A long, adventurous day that had it's share of challenges but we were all glad to be there and looking forward to what was to come.
Caleb, our host and chauffeur.
Our rental home: