Got out for a quick 28 hours last Friday and Saturday.
After work on Friday I rode down to Preston Minnesota to meet Todd and my dad at the Country Trails Inn & Suites. This is a great place to stay if you're in the Preston/ Lanesboro area. It has a pool and hot tub, and is conveniently located next to a bowling alley, liquor store, gas station, and supper club. The area is popular for its trout streams, turkey hunting, paved bicycle paths, camping, and motorcycle roads. Expect to run into all sorts of happy folks eager to share stories of their adventures.
After a beverage on the hotel “patio” we walked up the hill to the Branding Iron super club for old fashions and steak dinners. Neither the view nor the cocktails disappoint, and the food is good too. Afterwards, we stopped in at the bowling alley bar to check out the local scene. Turns out that WE were the local scene. After one round we called it an early night and pointed our boots back towards the hotel.
the Branding Iron, Preston Minnesota
I had a route planned for the next morning that would take us on a tour of south east Minnesota and spit us out in Lansing Iowa around lunch time. Todd and my dad brought their adventure bikes so a little gravel was in order. The lack of paved roads differentiates the Minnesota and Iowa Driftless area from Wisconsin. Gota keep those milk trucks clean! If you want to explore the valleys of Minnesota, you’ll have to get dirty.
The usual cast of characters.
First on my list was Ox Cart Trail. It’s the back way into Lanesboro and goes up and over a limestone ridge. The highlight is a one lane section that hugs the cliff face on one side and provides views of downtown Lanesboro on the other. It was also a good warm up for what turned out to be reasonably loose gravel roads.
From there we hopped on highway 16, a blue ribbon road, and found our way over to highway 43. Forty three winds down into the Root River valley (south branch) following the contours of the land as it goes. In the town of Choice we head east on Fillmore County 13/Huston County15, following the river downstream.
an "abandoned" church on CR 13,
tents were pitched on the grounds this weekend
Minnesota 76 from CR 4 to CR 22 is a little piece of heaven which was discussed over coffee at a the Farmhouse Eatery & Gifts in Caledonia. I recommend the coffee cake. Heading out we found another gravel road (CR 249) that would take us to the big river. The closer you get to the Mississippi the grander the views get, towering bluffs and broad valleys. We even caught two eagles with their talons locked as they fell into the valley below us.
Bob Ross clouds over 76
We picked up lunch in Lansing before traversing the river and taking Wisconsin 82 over to 131 and Wildcat Mountain, roads we are all very familiar with.
Normal spring water levels in Lansing Iowa,
time to fetch the trailer.
Todd and my dad were staying in the Dells Saturday night before heading to the Slimy Crud run in the morning, I needed to be back in St Paul that evening. We parted ways in Ontario and I set out to find a nice place for a nap before making the journey home. The park at lake Neshonoc, just east of La Crosse, worked out just fine.
I took mostly straight roads back to highway 35 (108 to Mindoro is under construction) and followed the river back to Prescott. Around Pepin a powerful front came through blowing leaves and branches all over the road. Rain gear on, I watched the storm and lightning roll across lake Pepin. It was beautiful, if not a little damp. As quickly as the storm came it rolled out again leaving a spectacular sunset in its wake.
At the bird / drawn bow effigy. Hwy 35 north of Pepin.
Even the rain was good on Saturday.
Hwy 52. St Paul to Preston
Preston to Lansing
Lansing to Ontario and back to St Paul
Friday May 4th
112 mi. 1:48
5:00 - 7:00 PM
60 and sunny
Saturday May 5th
363 mi. 8:11
9:30 AM - 8:30 PM
70s and sunny with a popup storm in the evening
Rooster's rules of the road
The closer you get to your destination, the harder the rain falls.
I need to track one of these down.