Day 32 - Rochester MN to La Crosse WI

Mileage: 88 miles

Climbing: 2850’

Weather: Low 60s to start. Low 80s to end. Humidity is coming back, a bit.

Highlights of the day:

The weather continues to be something worth smiling about. Mild temperatures. Humidity is starting to sneak up but nothing to fret over. We saw clouds and scary green blobs on the radar to the west of us but they came to naught. The wind did pick up and not in the most friendly way but with this group, after their experience into Sioux Falls, it was nothing. So, boring weather. Darn! 

SAG stops today are worth mentioning. Location, location, location. SAG #1 – roadside park complete with a stream and little falls. SAG #2 – Bistro’s Coffee House in Houston MN. Iced coffee, smoothies, sandwiches, and raspberry cream cheese croissants. Both stops provided the standard break for the riders to refuel and top off water bottles but with the added scenery and gourmet treats, they also gave the riders something to talk about after the ride today.

On the bike, riders were treated to more two-lane country roads through farm land. We added a new olfactory note to our repertoire – turkeys! We could smell them before we saw them and they were indeed most fowl. The farms are looking more eastern than western. By this I mean rolling terrain covered in corn and soybean. Large red barns next to two or three dome-capped silos. Images worthy of jigsaw puzzle status.

We had another very nice bike path. Described by riders as mostly downhill, tree-shaded, and in good condition, especially considering the rain damage they had last week. It provided a great way to spin out 13 miles. Off the bike path, there were the hills. You might have heard that the Midwest is flat. Not so much. The rivers & streams did a fine job cutting into the landscape. Ridges flank the roadways winding along the river. Our big climb of the day was on a road that went up, along, and then back down a ridge to the Mississippi River. The riders referred to it as the hat at the end of the profile as it looked rather like a top hat, straight up then over and then down. It wasn’t quite that in reality but the climb was about a mile in length and kept up at a steady 8-9%. It definitely got our attention.

The Mississippi River is the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. We crossed over our 5th border and into our 6th state. Arriving at the hotel, we were presented with platters of French tarts - chocolate, raspberry, blueberry, and apricot were our choices. Seems one of our rider’s daughter has a dear friend who married a French pastry chef and happens to live near La Crosse. That dear friend decided to have her husband whip up 84 amazing tarts. The smiles and the sugar buzz should last most of the evening.

2019Judy Clawson