Tail Winds -n- Wheel Spins

Today would be a travel/transition day, so we grabbed a quick breakfast and hit the trail early toward Eveleth. After a couple of loops around Ely Lake on County Roads 96 and 97, we were back at camp with 21 miles down. The sky was partly sunny, and the air was cooler than the past couple of days, but Arizona residents Kathy and Dennis still appreciated the coolness compared to riding in the heat of Phoenix. On the other hand, they were reminded of something that they don’t miss about Minnesota in June…mosquitos, mosquitos, and more mosquitos. For three days the swarms of mosquitos have been pursuing all day long, any time we stop for more than a minute. There is so much standing water in northern Minnesota, creating a robust breeding ground for these nasty insects. All things considered, however, we appreciate the beautiful tree-covered Mesabi Trail, with its stunning scenery on the Iron Range.

We biked to Virginia across the Thomas Rukavina Memorial Bridge over a former taconite pit mine. In the city we looped around Virginia Lake a few times and then returned across the bridge back to camp, stopping for a few photos along the way. Kathy spotted a rock face engraved “Tail Winds -n- Wheel Spins,” which is how the ride today was feeling. We made a quick lunch stop and then went for a repeat out-and-back trip to Virginia. 

While we were gone, Doug thoroughly cleaned our grill, which was covered with grease from top to bottom. Ann organized the cupboards, cleaned out the refrigerator, and did her best to clean the RV with a meager assortment of cleaning supplies. It’s like a bunch of dudes have been living in the RV with no real concern for cleanliness, no offense intended to the Leg 1 team. A good friend of mine opines that saying “no offense intended” is usually followed by an offensive statement. I will allow the Leg 1 team to interpret as they choose.

Leg 3 support driver, Matt Stepanek, showed up at our campsite in early afternoon after dropping his riders off in Grand Rapids. While spending time to organize the massive amount of luggage brought by Team 3, he received a call from his team and had to take off. Unfortunately, neither one of the RV sliders slid all the way back in, which Doug and Ann noticed as Matt was driving away, the instability causing coffee cups and food to fly out of the cupboards. Matt returned, but he and Doug could not get the sliders to move. Doug tried checking the fuse box, but access was extremely limited since the slider couldn’t be extended. Blindly, he was able to wiggle and push on the fuses, and eventually the sliders started working again. Whew!

At the completion of our ride in mid-afternoon, Team 2 loaded bikes and gear and headed for home. Thanks to all of our supporters! We are already looking forward to next year’s ride; it was so much fun getting back together on the trails!