Why are you in Aurora?
We woke to another beautiful morning, sun shining and already warming at Sherwood Forest Campground in Gilbert. Our morning was leisurely and relaxed as we strategized about the day’s upcoming ride. Doug and Ann made a breakfast feast of eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit, and toast to get us all going. After our customary reading of the diary, we took off on our bikes.
The campground is right on the Mesabi Trail, so we were able to ride straight out of camp to McKinley and then on highway 135 to Biwabik. Back on the trail outside of Biwabik, Dennis, riding at the back of the pack, took a wrong turn toward Aurora. You see, Kathy, it’s not just you who gets lost on the trail. Rounding a curve near Aurora, Dennis saw a bear crossing the trail in front of him, and he quickly stopped. While Dennis fumbled to get his phone out to snap a picture, which I’m pretty sure is not the recommended course of action, the bear stood on the trail on his hind legs and looked around. The two of them had a brief, but intense stare down. The bear did not seem the least bit intimidated, but it took off into the woods anyway. Dennis never did get the photo.
Dennis continued into Aurora, where the trail abruptly ended. Then the realization hit that he was way off course. While taking a couple of selfies in downtown Aurora, his phone rang. It was Kathy. “Where are you?” “Aurora” is the reply, like it’s completely natural. “Why are you in Aurora?” Good question. “Wrong turn”. Mild concern from Kathy, “How far behind are you?” Another fair question. “About 9 miles” is the response, but the thought was “not for long” as he pedaled back out of town on a mission to close the gap.
Meanwhile, the rest of the riders were well past Giant’s Ridge, fording streams and stepping over fallen trees. After a long climb, they were rewarded with a nice downhill run. Oddly, they noticed a shimmering on the horizon. It became apparent as they approached that they were about to ride across a bridge built like a metal dock on a lake. The bridge spanned a marshy area for nearly a mile before dumping the riders onto a gravel trail for another mile. They finished with a ride on highways into Embarrass, where Ann and Doug were waiting with a quesadilla lunch.
After our lunch break, John and Tony headed back to camp in Gilbert, while Dennis and Kathy continued with a 20-mile out and back toward Tower. John and Tony reported back to us that they made it without incident and were heading home after completing their 300K ride. Dennis and Kathy loaded their bikes in the RV and drove back to Gilbert with the support drivers.
From camp we walked to a local establishment in downtown Gilbert. While there we asked a couple if they knew John Phillipich’s dad, Bob, who grew up in Gilbert. Yes, they did, of course! You have to love small towns for that familiarity! Back at Sherwood Forest, we enjoyed a perfectly cooked steak dinner and another evening around the campfire before calling it an early night.