This ride on the Lake Wobegon Trail took us from Melrose, MN, where we were camped, to St. Joseph, the eastern terminus, and back. It ended up being my longest ride of the year to date at over 58 miles. Here's a map of the trail showing where we rode, from Melrose on the left to St. Joseph on the bottom right.
There are several charming trail towns along the way. We reached Freeport first. I learned from Wikipedia:
Garrison Keillor, creator of Lake Wobegon and host of the radio variety show A Prairie Home Companion, has written that Stearns County in general and Freeport specifically, in addition to other small Minnesota towns, were inspirations for his fictional town, Lake Wobegon.
The trail itself takes its name from Keillor's show and is a really big deal in this area. It must draw an incredible number of visitors to these small towns.
We continued on through the towns of Avon and then Albany, where we stopped at a wonderful bakery for a selection of goodies to fuel our ride.
The selection was extensive.
Here's what we ended up with -- all delicious. We brought the ginger cookies back and enjoyed them over the next few days.
We passed many of Minnesota's pretty small lakes, enjoyed seeing plenty of wildflowers, attractive farms, and even spied some Sandhill Cranes feeding not too far off the trail.
Here's the trailhead at St. Joseph.
After reaching the St. Joseph trailhead, we continued pedaling a little bit farther to pick up a couple of Egg McMuffins at McDonald's. It was nice to eat something that wasn't sweet after the pastries.
See that crack in the wall above our bikes? This tiny green tree frog, no bigger than your fingernail, was hanging out there. He appeared to be sleeping soundly.
After lunch, it was time to turn around and head back to Melrose.
We met a young cross-country touring cyclist, Brent. He'd come from Massachusetts and rode with us from St. Joseph to Melrose. I was surprised he was able to stay with us with all his gear; he is a strong cyclist. We enjoyed his company and hearing about his journey.
Along the way, there were several spots where homeowners had planted beautiful flower gardens. Flowers do so well here in Minnesota!
We were glad not to have to ride the old tandem above!
We had a great ride, and with this 58+ mile day, we completed the main trail. Although we did a couple of miles on the northern spur looking for a Little Free Library, we did not complete the spur, which is also considered a part of the Lake Wobegon Trail. Maybe another time and another visit is in order, but for now, it was time to head on to our next spot!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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