John aka Mulligan bike-walk On Lake Woebegon Trail

June 1, 2012 · 0 comments

in Guest Posts, John Killam aka Mulligan

Hi Everybody!

I started my bike-walk in Central Wisconsin on May 14th and am now in Albany, Minnesota which is northwest of Minneapolis along Interstate 94.  Believe it or not, I am going to be riding the Lake Wobegon bicycle trail today.  You probably know of Lake Wobegon from the “Prairie Home Companion” of Garrison Keillor (sp?).

On the third evening of my trip I  unexpectedly and luckily stumbled onto an “Ice Age Trail Event”, that is, a trail work crew was preparing to camp and eat the evening meal near the Forest Service campground where I planned to camp in the Chaquamegon National Forest..  I was invited to eat, camp, and work with this Ice Age trail crew.  I worked two days, spent three nights, sang around the campfire, and ate eight (count ’em, EIGHT times) with the crew.  The crew was building a 67-foot wooden bridge across a stream that can be dangerous to ford in high water.  They were also relocating the trail to the new point of stream crossing.  I helped do some “sidehilling” and clearing of the route for further relocation work to be done in August.  In case you don’t know the Ice Age Trail is a hiking trail, not a bicycle trail.

Completed Bridge

Above is a late revision bonus. The Ice Age Bridge over the Yellow River is completed. Here’s a photo compliments of John.

A few days later, while camping in my tent at the Interstate Park on the Wisconsin-Minnesota state line I endured a night of rain.  The precipitation (make that deluge) began at 11:00 p.m. and continued until dawn.  Oh, I wished I had re-sealed my tent seams before starting this trip!  I counted nine cycles of approaching thunder, hard rain, and then quiet.  I suppose I might have slept through several additional “waves” of water, but I surely didn’t sleep much.

 

The next day I rode the bike through lots of rain and endured one of the hardest downpours of my life while waiting for a traffic signal to change in Cambridge, Minnesota.  Many miles and lots of traffic later, complete with water spray, I stopped for one of my most enjoyable nights.  I was privileged to meet a kind gentleman who has converted the family’s old dairy barn into a “cyclists only bunkhouse” for riders on Adventure Cycling’s route through Dalbo, Minnesota.  He had a jet-blower 115,000 BTU heating device that was wonderful because everything I owned was wet.  Also in the bunkhouse was a refrigerator, microwave, cooking oven, coffee pot, and a supply of pizza, candy, sodas, milk, eggs, oatmeal, cereal, etc.  Most of this food was available for a very small donation.  The milk and eggs were free.  He has built three bunks rooms which sleep 6-8 people and he has plans for two more bunkrooms.  Jim (not his real name),  by the way is a retired military helicopter pilot who served in Viet Nam. Jim suggested that I might want to ride the Soo Line, Lake Wobegon, and Central Lakes bike trails which are on more than a 100 miles of former railroad lines.  So, his suggested route has brought me to this motel and the use of this computer.

 

I must not fail to mention the town of Bowlus, Minnesota which is only 2.5 miles west of the Mississippi River.  To cyclists Bowlus is known for its town park where they can camp overnight free of charge.  Its also known for the lady who owns Jordies’ Trail Side Cafe.  If you like to eat, then you need to visit Jordie’s and meet the owners who welcomed me and even let me sit in the cafe and read books and newspapers while I waited on the next round of showers to end.

 

Well, that’s all for now folks!  Take care! —- John (aka Mulligan)

John promises some pictures yet to come. When I get them I’ll add them to this post.

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