Our tour ends with rain, art and a comfortable ride to Minneapolis.
Due to the weather forecast, we expected rain. When we woke up early in the morning, however, this was not yet there. Thereupon we dismantled our tent in record time. To do this, we first pulled Ariki into the trailer, where he could wake up and watch us. Unfortunately for him, by the time he was fit, we had already packed the tent. At the last overnight stays he had started motivated to help with the assembly and disassembly within the scope of his possibilities.
Just in time for the end of the dismantling it started to rain. Fortunately there was a roofed outdoor area at the sanitary facilities, which we could use for a cool but dry breakfast. After an hour, the rain had subsided enough for us to start dry. As expected, after Taylor Falls we climbed steeply up the ridge of the hill above the river. Again we were lucky, it didn't start raining again until we were at the top. Despite the heavy rain, we enjoyed the short but rideable Swedish Immigrant Trail. We left the trail early to pay a visit to the Franconia Sculpture Garden. Arriving in the pouring rain, we were able to put our bikes in the dry. After a short break under the roof the rain disappeared so that we could explore the interesting sculpture park.
After the tour, we were able to ride without rain to William O'Brien State Park, where we had reserved a walk-in camp site. The break in the rain was just enough to set up the tent. For cooking it rained again - but not after that.
The following Saturday we enjoyed a rest day in the state park. After a late breakfast we made a trip on foot to the beautiful old General Store of Marine on St. Croix. In the afternoon Sigrid and Kevin arrived at the campground. Just like old times (on the 2017 North American tour), we cooked z'night together and then played Farkle.
After the cold night, we drove to Marine on St. Croix after taking down the tents, where we had breakfast together in the park in front of the General Store. Afterwards Sigrid and Kevin drove back to Minneapolis by car and we went there with the bikes as well. Most of the way we rode on the Gateway State Trail, which we reached after a steep climb up the ridge above the river.
This trail, like the Gandy Dancer, used to be a railroad. This trail was in contrast to the last one, but paved throughout.
Watching the other trail users, we noticed that we were, to all appearances, under-equipped: A noticeably large number of the other users were riding fat bikes and/or e-bikes. Likewise, it seemed unusual to ride the entire trail in one piece and not just make a trip from a parking lot. Further, we pulled the age average down significantly.
In discussion with a small group of local cyclists, we noted a great deal of interest in our tour. As we repeated several responses we also suspect some lack of understanding of our adventure. Part of the lack of understanding could also come from poorly adjusted hearing aids 😊
We then reached the city of St. Paul without any problems, even without extra wide tires and without a motor. The trail led relatively far into the city area. For the most part, the trail was lined with trees, so you noticed the city mainly at the more frequent street intersections. From the trail end, we were on bike lanes and bike paths through St. Paul and Minneapolis. Based on our experience in San Francisco (once across town can't be that difficult...) we had invested a few hours planning the route for this part. It was worth it! We had only a few climbs and largely routes with little traffic that were easy to drive.
In the late afternoon we reached the house of Sigrid and Kevin shortly after crossing the Mississippi.