Day 31 - Mankato to Rochester MN
Mileage: 100 miles
Weather: Mid 60s to start. Barely touched 80 to end. Light winds in our face.
Highlights of the day:
Construction season in Minnesota continued today. We started the day with 9 miles on a state numbered route with a fair bit more traffic and more trucks than we’d like. Combine that with narrow shoulders & rumble strip, you get a stretch of road on which the riders were very motivated to finish and stay single file. A left turn into St Clair and we were all relieved to be back on quieter country roads.
If we drew a line from Mankato to Rochester, our day could have been a mere 80 miles. Drawing a straight line through farmland gets a little tricky when all the roads are on a grid. Grid seems simple but toss in road surfaces that change to gravel and you get a route that frequently zig zigs through corn & soybean fields. In my opinion, those turns break up the day. There’s something about having a cue ever couple of miles to keep the brain occupied. It makes the miles tick away more quickly.
Our stint on “ker-plunky” or “ka-dunky” roads was shortened this year. Ker-plunky roads are older concrete with seams that, over the years, have deteriorated and expanded. It makes for a very bumpy ride. Hwy 24 was a prime example that is famous at AbB. Ask just about any AbB North alumni about Hwy 24 and I bet you’ll see the same shudder in response. It’s definitely one for the memories. A planned re-route got us off the worst of it and it seems that Minnesota is going to do something about it too. The stretch we did ride was all down to dirt. We hope we’re not getting prematurely excited but it appears that it will be completely replaced. 🤞
Back on route, we continued through lots of towns, past lots of farms, and ended with a bike path in Rochester. Quite a few towns along the way have had extensive bike lanes and bike paths. Our routes use them whenever possible. We are staying in larger towns as we move east, and the bike paths are a big help in avoiding downtown traffic. Rochester is a sizable city with lots of auto, bus, pedestrian and bicycle traffic particularly around the Mayo Clinic. The bike path provided a slightly calmer, saner way to end the day.
Our run of dry weather might be coming to an end. We haven’t seen any rain since we rode into Dubois WY. Guess it’s time for that to end. Perhaps the forecasts are wrong? Doesn’t matter, does it? Tomorrow will come and we’ll be back on the bike. I think I’ll pull out my booties and fender.