July 19. Day 36.
We spent most of this day continuing on the MRT. After leaving Red Wing, the terrain was mostly flat and cruised along at a nice pace. Eventually the route brought us along Lake Pepin, which was really pretty. The lake is just a very wide part of the Mississippi. Being along the lake gave us lots of shade and nice, cool breezes. We only had PopTarts for breakfast, so when we came upon Burger King in Lake City, we couldn’t resist. We ordered pretty much everything off the dollar menu and it wasn’t as good as McDonalds, but it did fill us up.
We continued to ride along the lake and the road got a bit more hilly. The hills were small though, so it wasn’t that bad. As we rode we saw several bald eagles soaring around. It was a dream come true for Ethan. He loves his bald eagles! We were making really good time, but eventually I got hungry for lunch. We stopped in Wabasha, which wasn’t quite on the highway, so we had to ride a 1/2 mile out of the way. Ethan was pretty annoyed, but I was hungry and there was no way I was biking any further without food!
We ended up getting Arizona teas and chips and taking them into Subway, which they didn’t say anything about. After we left, we decided the giant bag of chips was unnecessary and vowed to just get the meal at Subway. Anyway, after lunch it got really hot and that slowed us down a bit. We ran into a guy biking in the other direction and he was pretty strange. He wasn’t really doing anything weird, it was just the way he talked and carried himself. He had biked from California to Florida, up the east coast then to Wisconsin. I think he said North Dakota would be the 48th state he’s biked to! Good grief!
Our destination for the night was a town called Winona. Ethan had contacted several Warm Showers hosts there and gotten a few positive responses, but we wanted to wait to hear back from the first person he messaged. Her name was Rosemary and she promised dinner and breakfast. When we got into town, all we wanted was an ice cold treat so we headed straight for DQ. Ethan got a blizzard and I got a smoothie. After that we still hadn’t heard from her, but I called and left her a message so that she knew we were in town. We decided to go to the city park to wait. This was probably the coolest city park we’ve been to so far. The whole park is along this small lake and has a bike path that runs the whole length. The park was several city blocks long and had everything. We found a picnic table near the water and sat there for a while and waited. We decided that if we didn’t hear anything at 6, then we would just go to her house. Wouldn’t you know… right at 6 on the nose, she called.
After we showered and started laundry, she treated us to a fresh-from-the-garden dinner of homemade pesto pasta, sautéed zucchini and snap peas, pesto pizza, and cold beet soup. Apparently this soup, called borscht, is a traditional Ukrainian dish. Neither of us had ever even had a beet in our lives, so we were super nervous. It wasn’t our favorite thing, but it was pretty good, for cold soup. It was so good to have fresh veggies!
After dinner, Ethan wanted to check out the river and get another treat. Treat yo self!! We headed over to an ice cream place called The Penguin Zesto. It reminded us of Dairy Hill in Mason. After we got our treats, we we’re treated again, but this time to a lovely sunset over the mighty Mississippi. The rest of the evening was spent chatting with Rosemary about traveling and her time spent in Haiti. She also hiked El Camino de Santiago, which was really cool to hear about. We went to sleep excited because Wisconsin awaited us the next day!! Yay!