Sunday, August 29, 2010

Paul Bunyan Trail

I know I have 2 weeks of vacation photos I haven't commented on or posted yet. We'll get to those. I've been busy renaming, pruning, deleting, resizing, and doing all manner of things that precludes actually posting them. But I came back from two weeks of vacation to a short week, only four days, taking off Friday to do a two day bicycle ride on the Paul Bunyan Trail in Northern Minnesota with Ming and Adam.

It was a great trip. We did about 54 miles each the first day, and just 16 or so the second day. Adam did it a bit more evenly as he didn't want anything to do with the 8.5 mile trail cutover that turned out to be a lot of up and down.

The fun started before we even got to Brainerd. We bumped into one of my high school classmates at her new breakfast joint in Elk River. As we were walking to the door I was wondering, out loud, if the place was hers, because I remembered a post from Facebook about her buying a restaurant. Sure enough, she showed up at our table. Later, I had Ming call Adam to verify his address and, while Ming was reading it aloud to me, flipped to the address I'd preprogrammed earlier into the GPS. Ming wanted to know how it had gotten into the GPS so fast. I told him it could recognize an address that was spoken. So he tried to speak his own address into the GPS, then gave up and decided it couldn't account for his accent. I confessed I was yanking his chain.

Ming and Adam at the start of the trail in Brainerd. Very close to two liquor stores, both with a very good selection. I went with the Hop Nest Monster. It was about 85 degrees out, which seems reasonable, but after many hours I had way too much sun. I spent part of yesterday and today battling what I thought was allergies at first, but which may have been a minor sun allergy given the headache, fever and chills, and general redness that never made it to a sun burn.

The big caterpillar that saw us off from the parking lot. I drove off before he/she could hitch a ride on the Focus.

I'm going to blame Ming for the switch to black and white. Here he is at Ye Old Pickle Factory in Nisswa. We didn't actually go in, it was just funny.

Me riding the Nisswa Express. Whoo Whoo!

Ming standing in front of the Pequot bobber.

Pine River. Can you see the geocache? I found four on the trip, most of them in Pine River. Those are Paul Bunyan's shoes in the background, and his footprints in the foreground.

Colonel Cobber. Scary. Looks like it belongs at the Minnesota State Fair. They have a butcher in Backus that Ming and Adam stopped at for beef jerky. It made for a good dinner that night.

No riding on the sidewalk! In Hackensack, near Sweet's, where we ate lunch/dinner and breakfast.

Paul Bunyan, in Hackensack.

Ming and I in Hackensack. Such a sweet picture. You can see the love in our eyes.

Lucette, Paul Bunyan's wife. This was someone's Eagle Scout project.

After Hackensack, we took the trail north and west, which included 8.5 miles of nasty up and down (at least if you'd been riding for 40 miles already). The signs told you when there was a downhill, but never an uphill. When we got to the end, we looked for a place to pitch a tent, but most of the places told us it would be $54 to $80. To pitch a tent. Seriously. WTF. We finally went back to Hackensack where we found a place with a shower for $21 (with tax) that was just down the road from the theater, where we saw "The Other Guys" (funny at first, so slow later). The campsite was great and the only real noise, other than our neighbors, was the raccoon who showed up in the middle of the night. If you're looking for a place in Hackensack, I recommend Pleasant Pines Resort.


Shawn said...

How coincidental! Friday I was doing 14 miles running on the P.B. Trail. We must have just missed each other! I was on the trail between Brainerd and Merrifield, from 8:50am - 10:50am. Did another longer run there this morning as well. Wife and I were up at Madden's resort for our wedding anniversary.

Scooter said...

You were probably there well before us, Shawn. We couldn't manage to get our act together enough to get on the trail before 11:00. There was breakfast to eat in Elk River, beer to buy at the liquor store, and our third rider to pick up. Made for a long drive before the bicycling could commence.

My friend Adam that went with us lives right next to Madden's, however (you could almost chuck a rock at it from his house...or maybe a super ball if you had a tennis racket) - we probably passed you on the road.