Day 30 – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – La Crosse, WI to Lake City, MN

miles biked – 82

9/29/2009 Our second try for leaving La Crosse went much better than the first.  This time, when one of our hosts, Dylan, offered to make us pancakes for breakfast, with followed our gut reaction and said “yes!”.

Fed and caffeinated, we hit the road.

Well, actually, we made it at far as the drive way before we realized that Sara had purchased bus tickets to Denver for the wrong day.  We bike all the way to the Greyhound station to make the change, only to find out that the station wasn’t open, so we just started our ride, figuring we’d get the tickets sorted eventually.

The ride started out a bit slowly.  To avoid riding on the larger highway, we road 2 miles up hill onto the bluff above the Mississippi right after crossing over into Minnesota.   Our host has told us it was going to be a tougher hill than our ride into La Crosse, so we were preparing for the worst.   We are either getting stronger by the day, or it was not that bad of a hill because when we got to the top we all felt like it just wasn’t that hard.  (It could have also been the full day before of doing nothing…)

However, to get down the bluff we had to do something that we would have avoided if we had known it was coming.  We had to do a steep one mile downhill on a loose gravel road.  The scariest thing we have done thus far. Tracy took a small tumble into a dirt ditch but otherwise, we made it down unharmed.

Then it was 70 more miles along the Mississippi river with the hopes of making it to the Frontenac State Park for a night of camping.   It was going to be a long day.   Twenty miles in, we decided we had to take a coffee break, not so much for the caffeine as to warm up.  It may not have been 40 mile an hour winds, but it was COLD.  We stopped in at the only thing we’d seen in miles, a diner with one car in front.  Coffee turned into coffee and turkey melts, which were surprisingly delicious.  Then it was back on the road.

When we were nearing our midway point, we did a quick pit stop at a gas station (who knew they had coconut m&ms?) and got a lunch recommendation from the cashier “oh, you HAVE to stop at Buck’s Bar”.

Buck’s bar was an awesome hunter bar, also the only place to stop for miles, but this one was hoppin’, with lots of senior citizens stopping in for pizza and ice cream.  It was awesome.  We had some tasty burgers, including Caroline’s very first elk burger.  Then it was back on the bike.

For as hard as we were riding, we just weren’t making great time.  It was cold, we had a fair amount of winds and even though the terrain LOOKED flat, there were a fair number of long rolling hills that slowed us down when we didn’t even realize it.  Around 6pm were started thing we might not be making it to Frontenac State Park.  So we did the next logical step:  we stopped at Dairy Queen for Blizzards.  Bellies full of ice cream and chocolaty goodness, we started calling motels.

This was quite possibly the smartest move we’ve made on the trip thus far.  Instead of biking in the dark for 5 miles, we stopped in Lake City, right at sunset (yes… very apropos) and checked in at The Sunset Motel.  Not only did the friendly owner help us out with the rate, he also, after hearing about our trip, put us up in the penthouse!  We each had our own bedroom, the hot shower we’d been hoping for, and we had a full living room with a deck and a kitchen to make hot chocolate and popcorn.  After our longest day of riding yet (though not highest in mileage, we were on the road for 11 hours) we ended in luxury feeling totally relaxed and ready for another day.

Day 30

Day 30

Day 30

Day 30


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