July 18. Day 35.
Jackie made us an amazing breakfast and we said goodbye to the Hayden’s at 8. The forecast was sunny skies, which was good because there was no rain, but bad because it’s super hot. We were headed for the Twin Cities! Ethan was excited and I was a bit less than thrilled. I like cities when I’m in a car (being driven by someone else) or can use public transportation, but I get really stressed out when I have to bike in traffic. With the promise of Chipotle though, I figured it would be worth it.
We started the day on a lovely bike path that took us pretty close to St. Paul. We never actually went into Minneapolis, which is on the other side of the Mississippi. The path took us along the river and through some really nice parks. It was winding and a little hilly, but I’ll take that over traffic any day. We also went through some neighborhoods. The riding was fairly easy so we made good time to the University of Minnesota campus. It was four more miles to Walmart then a few more miles to Chopotle and I was getting really hungry.
As we neared Walmart, we could tell we had entered a rougher part of St. Paul. And when we got there, it was even more evident. We didn’t feel comfortable leaving the bikes unattended, so Ethan went in while I stayed. We only needed two things and we didn’t dilly dally. Chipotle was calling and I really wanted to get out of that area.
We were full on city biking at this point, so I was getting pretty uncomfortable on my bike and really wanted to get food and get out of the city. Of course, we had to stop at the Capitol building first. We finally made it to Chipotle, but because the universe decided to punish me this day, it was closed. Why?!?! What did I do to deserve this?! Ugh. Apparently it’s only open M-F (for the business people I assume). Lord have mercy. Ethan checked the map and found a Jommy Johns nearby and at that point I was just hungry. I really didn’t care what we were eating.
Jimmy John’s was yummy and the break was good, but I was more than ready to get out of the city. We headed east then crossed a bridge over the river. I felt better as soon as we were on the other side. Then Ethan told me we still had 45 miles to go. Dear lord. On top of that, we also weren’t 100% sure where we were staying that night. This was going to be a tough afternoon.
It was the longest afternoon. Oh my gosh. We ended up crossing back over the river a few times and over a highway a few times. This involved going up these spiral sidewalks and it was just annoying. Eventually we got back on a road and we’re doing ok, until it started to get hilly. It was seriously just up and down, up and down. Some of the hills were so steep too… There was definitely walking involved. It was the last thing I wanted to do at the end of long, stressful day.
We stopped at a Walmart with 20 more miles to go and knew it was going to be a late night. We grabbed what we needed for dinner and got going. At some point we actually crossed over into Wisconson, but we had to cross the river again to get to Red Wing back in Minnesota. We finally made it to Red Wing at 8pm. 12 hours of biking later. The day before, Jackie had called a friend that lived in Red Wing to see if she could host us. The friend couldn’t, but a friend of hers had said yes. We had also messaged a Warm Showers person, but they still hadn’t gotten back to us. So, we headed to the friend of a friend of a friend’s place!
His name was Hugh and lived over the top of a very big, steep hill. We walked. As we were headed up a car pulled over headed the other way. The guy leaned out and said “Are you the ones staying in my yard tonight?” Ethan said “Are you Hugh?” It was! He was running to the store and would be back in a few minutes.
Hugh had two awesome dogs named Gus and Bruno and was a great host. We ended up camping in his screened in porch, which was actually really nice because it was breezy. Very nice sleeping weather that night. We chatted with Hugh for a bit, made dinner and showered, then hit the sack. We had a little shorter day the next day, for which I was thankful.