COTTAGE GROVE, MN
DAY 31 JUNE 27 63.6 MILES
It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.
On a day when rain is forecast and you can see on the radar that it is ready to strike, there generally is no way to avoid it short of staying indoors. Today was one of those days and remaining indoors was not an option. Fortunately, it was only a light rain but it still made us wet four separate times over the ride. By the time we neared our destination, however, our clothing had completely dried and we were happy again.
We had heard reports of flooding in the area but had not observed anything more than some large puddles here and there. Today, however, we witnessed it firsthand. On two occasions, roads we had planned to take were closed due to the flooding, necessitating a short detour. A park along the Mississippi was rendered unusable by the high waters and, on another occasion, water covered the lower third of a fireworks store. Unfortunately, there will be no sales from that location for this 4th of July. In most cases, however, the homes and commercial buildings have been situated sufficiently high to avoid any high waters. Apparently they have learned from previous experiences over the years.
Other than the rain, today's riding was incredible. The roads had shoulders nearly a full lane wide and they generally were fairly smooth. Also, a good stiff tailwind made the pedaling significantly easier. There were times I was certain that we were going downhill as speeds of 22 miles per hour were easily attainable. I love it when that happens!
After three days of bonding, we have now parted ways with the Mighty Mississippi. It is truly an amazing river! The longest and, with its tributaries, the largest river system in North America. It drains all or part of 31 states, nearly two-thirds of the lower 48.
For the last two nights, I have found a hotel near the group's campsite and I will have one for the next 3 nights as well. I really do not mind camping as much as I had anticipated--but I still prefer the hotel room by a large margin. I hope this does not spoil me!
Tip: Wash your water bottles in the dishwasher on occasion.