Alternate Routes

Before we get too far into the day 2 ride, we certainly didn’t want to leave the readers hanging with how the day went for Justin and his youth helmet. After the first climb to Harmony, it was clear why the helmet was made for an adolescent-sized head, and not an adult. The helmet began squeezing Justin’s head so hard (or that was his perception because he was hot, tired, and sore) that it felt like a vice grip, and every mile he rode someone tightened the vice. Luckily Kyle had to travel to a bike shop in Rochester for his tire repair, and he was able to secure a proper adult helmet for Justin. This made day 2 immensely more pleasant.

We rose on day 2 early, with Matt preparing an egg scramble and sausages. Justin and John sleep in the bunk trailer, and Justin was chastised by Matt for entering the RV too early to make coffee but it was essential to get an early start on a day with predicted temperatures near 90 degrees. Upon completion of breakfast, all three riders departed on the trail separately and a fair bit apart, with Kyle being the first to hit the road around 8:40 am. The day’s planned route was a 70-mile ride out of the campground to Houston, meet the mother ship in Houston for an early lunch, and then ride back. Kyle stopped at a park in Peterson, Minnesota, to take a work call and was lucky enough to witness a K9 police dog in training, attack mode and all. The ride to Houston was relatively uneventful for Justin and John; they happened to meet up in Rushford for a brief rest stop. They discussed several ice cream shops they had seen along the route, and decided the day would be in good form to patronize one of these local establishments before the day’s end. The trail was relatively flat with only one short climb, and they all arrived in Houston to greet Matt who was waiting with sandwiches and cold Sundrop.  An important decision was then made: as long as Matt was there with the RV, why not have him bring the riders back up to Harmony and enjoy the wild downhill switchback ride that Kyle had missed the day before? Let’s do it! And while we’re at it, let’s have Matt pick us up at the bottom and bring us to the top of the Fountain hill and go down that one as well! Downhill from Fountain and conclude in Lanesboro where there happens to be an ice cream shop! So off we went on some of the worst maintained roads you can imagine. The RV was shaking so hard some of the cabinet trim began falling off and our large 4-gallon water jug fell off the counter and exploded, with fresh drinking water splashing all over the cabin of the RV. But alas we arrived in Harmony, and made a fast 13-mile run downhill to Preston, where Matt retrieved us and dropped us in Fountain, for a fast 12-mile run to Lanesboro. Matt was waiting on us, eagerly anticipating ice cream at the “Another Time” ice cream parlour. We were the only patrons at the shop, and Justin asked if he could sample one of the many flavors. “We don’t do samples” said the girl behind the counter. Well then, how to choose?  Fortunately everyone chose right, and it was the perfect way to cool off after the day’s ride  We also noted how lucky the small town of Lanesboro is to have both an ice cream shop and a Merchants Bank branch right there in downtown!  

Our day was done relatively early, and we were back to the campground before 4 pm. There is a restaurant on-site, and we decided to take a cooking break and check it out. How lucky for us to find that Wednesday night is “buck a bone” night. BBQ ribs for a dollar per bone. Jackpot! We ate these delectable ribs until we were all overly full, and proceeded back to the RV for a couple more hours of solving the world’s problems. Tonight’s topics included the ridiculous commitment level of today’s kids sports, upcoming hunting prospects, and the rising and falling water levels out in the great west. Off to bed to rest up for this group’s final day of riding.