Day 23: Alexandria to Clearwater, MN

My first trip  to Minnesota was many years ago.  I went dog sledding across the Northern part of the state during a very cold January.  How cold was it?  We had a number of days when the temperature was minus 40 degrees.  Minus 40 is where Celsius and Fahrenheit  converge and there is no need to convert from one measure to the other.  At minus 40 it sometimes hurts to breathe and strenuous exercise is hard to do outside.

I went dog sledding because of a beer commercial.  Molson beer at the time frequently showed a commercial on television of a man standing on the runners of a sled with a large team of dogs pulling him across the snow.  It looked magical.

The reality was quite different.  Besides it being numbingly cold, I was immediately dispelled of the notion that the dogs do the work and humans stand back and enjoy.  In reality dogs pull the sled and humans push the sled.  Dog sledding ended up being a lot of work.

I left Minnesota with a number of impressions.  It was cold, exhausting and relatively empty of people.  My current trip through the state has been quite different.  So far, Minnesota has been the easiest state.  I haven’t hit a gravel road yet.  Everything has been paved.

Services and people are relatively plentiful.  Today, about ten miles into the trip I needed to go to the bathroom.  In a western state that meant doing my business by the side of the road.  Today, I just pedaled a couple of miles and the next town showed up.   It had a tourist information office with a sparkling clean bathroom and softer toilet paper than any motel I have stayed in yet.

Lunch today was in Avon by the side of a small lake.  There were people swimming and fishing.  The bench we sat on for lunch was shaded by a large tree.  It all felt so civilized.

The miles still need to be pedaled.  Today, I was only able to do 81 miles before calling it a day.  Unlike, my first experience in Minnesota, pedaling through it this summer is easy sledding.

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