David Freeze Day 16: An up-and-down day was still fun!

Published 11:55 am Thursday, August 10, 2023

Editor’s note: David Freeze is cycling along the Mississippi River. This is part two of his adventure, riding from Dubuque, Iowa, up to the source in Minnesota. He is now riding around Lake Superior. Contact him at david.freeze@ctc.net.

Last evening was perfect at the Aspen Inn in Grand Marais. I wrote my article to the sound of rain and thunder and enjoyed the coolness in another non-air conditioned room. Minnesota needed the rain and some of the Lake Superior north shore area got as much as 9 tenths of an inch.

Water was still standing as I left this morning with mixed thoughts. I traveled today on the same Grand Marais to Silver Bay that I had done in reverse just two days ago. The route is reasonable except for dreadful hills the last 20 miles into Silver Bay and one segment of poor shoulder, about six miles of trying to squeeze out a few inches extra to stay away from moderate to heavy traffic.

The first town was Lutsen, where I met Postmaster Laurie two days before. She had already seen me on her way to work and was waiting and waving. That was a big lift, as we talked about her cycling and travel and why I preferred to keep visiting new parts of the same states I had visited before. This was one of the top conversations of the whole trip and I will stay in touch. I grabbed a breakfast bagel and some cookies at the country store next to the post office.

On down the road a few miles was Tofte, with the only Holiday convenience store on today’s ride. I stopped there to make something right. I had promised the young cyclists I met a few days back to try out the World’s Best Donuts in Grand Marais, yet I had not because the store has not been open when I was in town. The convenience store had them and  I got a Long John with caramel topping. Was it the world’s best? I need to sample more.

When I came out of the store, a life size Sasquatch had my bike. I got it back.

On to Schroeder, the next very small town with the bakery. Just three miles after the Long John, I got a cheese danish thing and a cinnamon scone while talking to the owner about the weather and the rain.

In this area, the e-bikes were again in heavy use. One group had two kids, mom and dad and two grandparents.

Those were the highlights of the day, as the headwind got stronger and brutal hills and road shoulders appeared again. The last 20 miles were a real battle as the distance slowly went by. I had 56 hard fought miles today.

I got another great room at the Mariner Motel, then rode up a low-gear hill to check out the town of Silver Bay. I heard from the desk clerk that Silver Bay is the second largest town on the north shore next to Two Harbors which I will pass through again tomorrow.

I have two major tourist attractions to visit tomorrow and will report on them afterward. I learned that Lake Superior holds 10 percent of the world’s fresh water and it is down about a half inch this year due to the Minnesota drought. It usually adds a couple of inches each summer.

A big challenge is brewing. Too early to talk about, but I will tomorrow if all comes together. That is about it for today, so join me again tomorrow.