Day 31 - Mankato to Rochester MN
Mileage: 100 miles
Weather: Mid 60s to start. Low 80s to end. Rear quartering to tailwinds.
Highlights of the day:
Another amazing day weather wise - cooler temps, favorable winds. We could get used to this! 🤞 We could also get used to the kind of construction we’ve experienced. I usually talk about 2 seasons in Minnesota - winter and construction. I won’t give too many details for fear of causing something tomorrow (last day in Minnesota) but we haven’t had much. Today, the “road closed” meant a ride on the shoulder for everyone (riders and vans) for all of a block or two. We’re ok with that. Please, Wisconsin, if you’re listening, do not feel obligated to make up for this.
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. Attention to all - Hwy 24 has been repaved! It’s like buttah! Beautifully smooth for the entire 8+ miles we were on it. We didn’t avoid all the kerplunky roads, it is the upper midwest, they have concrete roads, and they do have real weather here. But in general - what an improvement!
Back to the 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.
Won’t give any details about the weather for tomorrow. I’ll leave it at we’re ok with the forecasts that we’ve seen. We’ll enjoy what ever it is and I also think we’ll enjoy a day that is slightly less than 100 miles.