Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cycling Root River

We decided to take advantage of the nice, though cool, weather and took a trip to Lanesboro, MN to experience the Root River Trail we have been hearing so much about. We took the back roads to Lanesboro through Chatfield. As we were driving the rolling hills up and down and around, it occurred to us how great it would be to have a group ride go through here. The hills are not for the faint of heart... or thighs. And there isn't much of a shoulder so it would have to be something organized to avoid traffic. Anyway, we pulled into Lanesboro and immediately wondered why neither of us had been there before. The Root River Trail goes right through town! We parked in a Library/Town Park lot, which felt very safe and then rode to the trail head. We decided to go toward Fountain. There was no logic to the decision. We just went. But it ended up being a good choice. Neither of us are in the greatest shape of our lives! So the trail was about 11 miles gradually uphill to Fountain, which apparently is one end of the trail. Cool! It's not high tourist season so that town was pretty dead on this Sunday! We turned around and headed back almost right away. Then came the best part of riding uphill for 11 miles. Downhill for 11 miles! It took so much less time getting back than it had getting there. Lorrie was even flying! We could tell when we started getting close to Lanesboro again as there were more and more people out enjoying the warm afternoon. I still have a hard time with people who take up the entire trail and then are surprised when someone comes up on them. I never try to startle anyone but they often seem totally in their own world. Which is a great use of being in nature! If you stay off the side out of people's ways AND stay in the same basic line so people don't have to try to predict where you're going to be walking. Just a little rant. The leaves has already changed and mostly fallen off. So the ride was a little stark. Though I still thought it was beautiful! We got back in to Lanesboro and were immediately on a quest for food! We went back to D'Azul where Emma Blue was sleeping soundly enjoying being out of the house. We changed clothes then drove downtown for food. We walked around a little checking out menus and such. But you know how it is after exercising in cool weather. We started getting chilled. Not fun! We needed to get inside, get warm, and get some food relatively quickly. Maybe lunch earlier would have been a good idea eh? Anyway, we decided on Pedal Pushers Cafe because it was all local fare, family owned, and we wanted meat! That ended up being a perfect choice for us! Great food and service! I wasn't sure about the decor... a mixture of bicycles and 50s. I understood, of course, "Pedal pushers" as a double entendre. Just seemed a little scattered to me. Lorrie liked it though... and she's the one with style. So there you have it! We walked around town a little more. Checked out the Little River General Store where the people were not very friendly. That was surprising! After our experience in Wabasha and their incredible hospitality, this seemed almost rude. I am in the market for a single speed rear gear but they weren't interested in my business. Again, I'm a little more sensitive to that but Lorrie agreed with me. We walked around a little more but it was getting late enough that shops were beginning to close or were already closed. So we took one more little detour, by SUV, up to Church Hill Condos. Nice! Great view! Then we headed home, mainly by highway this time. One remaining question has lingered... is there tent camping anywhere near Lanesboro? We saw a lot of RV sites in town and 1 rugged tent site along the trail. Something more for us to explore! We will definitely be going back.

I also recommended Lanesboro to a co-worker/friend who has two young children. There are a lot of different styles of bicycles for rent there as well as the river to keep young'ns busy.

I forgot to charge my camera battery. So the only photos we have are from my phone. I will get them uploaded soon. Most of them will be at TwoTireDoc's Flickr.