Sunday, June 10, 2012
Paul Bunyan Country
Ya Betcha, that's olde Paul himself. Took this photo when I stopped for lunch after my ride. But, I am getting ahead of myself.
Plans were to ride the Paul Bunyan Trail this morning. When I stuck my head out of the hotel door, it was overcast and threatening rain. Weather.com was showing showers moving in the area, but looks good by 9/10 am. After light breakfast, I went back to bed for some more recovery. Before I knew it, the sun was shining.
The Paul Bunyan State Trail runs some 110 miles through the northcentral Minnesota woods from Brainard (Baxter) to Bemidji. Its a Rails-to-Trails on old railroad bed. The trail is paved the whole length.
Kitted up, prepared supplies, and loaded the road bike onto the car for the drive to the trail. Planned to park in Jenkins, ride South (into the wind) to Nisswa. There is no "trailhead" parking lot for the trail in Jenkins. At the convenience store, I was told most park along the road at the trail, or across the highway at the old "Dollar" store.
As it started heading South on the trail, it was 80+ degrees, humid, and partly cloudy. Wind was gusting, with some places no air moving. Stopped it several times to take photos of the trail. Rode on through Pequot Lakes.
My legs were telling me it was not a good idea to make Nisswa, even if I have the wind with my on the way back. At a little over 8 miles, I came across a bench with a view of Little Cullen Lake. Looked a great place to turn around and head for the car. Drank some of G2 and back on the bike.
Now, I thought I would have the wind with me on the way back, but it seamed at times I was back into the wind! Stopped at the old Depot in Perquot Lakes for a rest and finish my GC. Chatted with a couple others at the depot. I though the trail was very busy (at least Perquot Lakes and South. I was told that the traffic today was actually pretty light today.
North from Perquot Lakes to Jenkins, almost no one on the trail. Think met 2 folks total (counting both ways) on the 3 miles. Getting back to the car, I probably couple have made the extra miles making it to Nisswa. But, it was better to be safe. Did not want to bonk.
As I rode South from Jenkins, I noticed a crowd at A-Pine Restaurant at the South end of Jenkins. Looked it would be a good place to eat my late lunch. It was. After a sandwich (grilled ham & swiss) and wedge fries, treated myself to a slice of wild berry pie with ice cream.
Now that the photos are processed and blog entry is written, time to get horizontal and relax.