Distance 44 miles, 9.8 mph average, 4:24 ride time, total time 6 hours and 10 minutes. Expenses $20.67
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Somewhat of a late start this morning but no problem as the distance to Prescott, WI was about 20 miles shorter then I had estimated. After saying goodbye to my latest Warm Showers hosts Andrew, Christine and Madelyn I easily jumped onto the bike trial about a block from their home. The trails through Minneapolis are fantastic as they have nice smoothly paved asphalt, beautiful landscaping, great views of the Mississippi River and surrounding area. The trails are well used by pedestrians, joggers and of course bicyclists. It is easy to see why Minneapolis is rated the 3rd friendliest bicycle friendly city in the USA. I venture a guess they would be #1 if they installed signage for their trails, especially for us out of town touring cyclists who are not familiar with the area in the least bit. Without the expert guidance I had with Eric yesterday it didn’t take me long to begin making wrong turns costing extra time and extra effort. My first wrong turn came at the Ford Street Bridge I couldn’t decide if I was at the right bridge or not. I ended up climbing a steep grade twice there. After making it to the St. Paul side of the river there was pretty much one trail until just past downtown, then once again due to no signage the trail ended with a choice of two roads to take, I took the wrong one of course. Stopping two people to ask for directions was an exercise in frustration, too. I quickly learned most folks in big a big city know how to get from their home, to work and to their favorite trail but don’t know street or road names or even compass directions. Guess I’ve become too much of a country boy as I like to know where I am and where I’m going whether it be by street or road name, north, south, west or east or anywhere in between. I finally figured out how to get to the I-494 Bridge via trail and street I had good directions to follow provided by tonight’s Warm Shower host Bicycle Bob. Now don’t start thinking I’m all down on Minnesota because I have to say the state overall has some of the finest smoothest roads in the USA which were a pure joy to ride. Liz, hope you’re reading this journal and you can convince your superiors in the MNDOT to post MRT signs throughout the length of the State. If you do that I’ll give my vote as the #1 state for bicycle friendly.
Crossing over the St Croix River via US Hwy 61 into Prescott the bridge was under construction with only one lane but was a piece of cake to cross as the flagman allowed me to ride on the side under construction as it had plenty of width for a bicyclist. Since I had arrived in Prescott much sooner than Bicycle Bob would be home from work at about 4:00 PM. Saw an interesting bar and restuarant The Brickyard Bar and Eatery on Main Street. The food was really good and ice cold beer was just what the doctor ordered for the Old Guy and the waitress Carolyn was friendly, helpful and allowed me to spend the afternoon there without spending much money. She even knew Bicycle Bob and gave me the directions to his home; she had taken five bikes to him for service recently. Bob is actually quite well known in and around Prescott for his bicycle repair expertise but that is just the icing on the cake sort of speak. Bob has a sign in his front yard requesting folks who no longer want their bicycle to give it to him and he’d recycle it for some needy rider. Visiting with Bob later in the evening I learned he had given away over 400 bicycles to Boy Scouts, other organizations and kids in general and that was just over the past couple years. Bob not only gives away bicycles but he teaches folks how to maintain and care for them too. I’d venture a guess Bob had over 50 bicycles in his garage and yard in various states of reconditioning. I truly felt blessed to have met Bob, his gracious wife Jackie and their daughter Melissa as all three are active bicyclists, advocates and philanthropist promoting bicycling as a viable means of transportation and form of exercise. What a feel good experience to end this day.