The first day was filled with challenges, but we got in about 70 miles.
We started off at the airport, where we dropped off the rental van. All went smoothly until Joshua popped out his iPod and begin snapping pictures. The airport police didn’t like that, and when one pulled up to ask us what we were doing, he was not amused with, “Riding bikes to Minnesota.” Fortunately, he let us be and we rode about a mile and a half out to join the Mississippi River Trail.
The first part of the trail was pretty amazing. The two lane paved trail sets on top of the levee which give you incredible views of the river and the huge barges and boats.
A few miles in, Josh’s bike stopped shifting. We stopped to take a look and all the gears had come unscrewed from the hub and were flapping around. The clip on his pannier had caused the problem. I took the wheel off the bike and we were able to put it all together again. A few minutes later he had the same problem, this time with the rear derailure. As I was looking at it, another biker rode up. He took a look and noted that one part of the derailure had been placed on it upside-down. So… a few minutes we were back on the road.
We noted that we had left on Saturday and the ferry to the west side of the river did not run on Sundays. By staying east for an additional 8 miles the guidebook said we could use the 1323 bridge. On we rode, but when we say the bridge we were a bit taken aback. It’s big, it’s steep, and it’s filled with cars going very fast.
What could we do? Not much but go up and over. The views were stunning.
The scenery on the west side of the river was a bit less stunning. You are riding through the rurual south – people are very friendly but we were riding through a big manufacturing area. We ran out of water and were pretty thirsty when we finally found a gas station that also served “food.” I will say no more about the cuisine, but we aren’t going back. The rain started about this time but it felt pretty refreshing and didn’t last too long. By the time we rolled into our hotel (no camping available in this area) we were pretty whipped and had sore hind ends.
We took a dip in the pool, had Subway for dinner, and are now relaxing for the night.
All in all a pretty good first day. Tomorrow will be a bit of easy day – I have to take it easy on these two young men, after all.
Stats: 69 miles
Text: Acts 4:13-9 (yesterday we read Acts 1-4:13)
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