David Freeze Day 20: The pursuit of the perfect day!

Published 4:11 pm Monday, August 14, 2023

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

The pursuit of the perfect day.

It’s more than that.

I count myself very fortunate to make these adventure-filled bicycle trips. Lots of factors all add up to make me feel that way. I am going to recap 19 days on the bike and three days of driving that make me happier than if I won a lottery.

When I first started cycling these adventures, I told people that it would be the scenery that made it wonderful. How wrong I was! Yes, the scenery was great this time and usually is. Anything to do with the Mississippi River stands out. I saw the biggest freshwater lake in the world and all kinds of things to do with both. The Portage Great Monument, actually a late 1700s stockade, trading post and fur storage facility with room for 1,000 people is very hard to beat. I saw several waterfalls, more lighthouses on one trip than anything to do with the Atlantic Ocean and more humorous things than I can count.

Those things are just a few memories I have brought home with me. I learned within 10 days of beginning my first cross-country trip in 2013 that is not the scenery at all. It’s of course the people and I am going to name a few with the maybe futile hope that I won’t forget someone. I started way back near Marquette and Macgregor when Jon Stravers and I met outside the town’s post office. He gave me endless help on how to proceed on the upper Mississippi and made it fun. Then I got to use the knowledge of Michael Zachow in Bemidji, mostly on how to proceed around the upper Mississippi near Lake Itasca. He didn’t stop there, because of the very last day of my ride from Barnum to the St. Paul area, I asked him for more help. I needed someone to help me find a reasonable motel just 10 miles from St. Paul and Michael did that with the Emerald Inn, an exact 10 miles away. I owe him free entry into Winter Flight next year.

Then it was Dr. Mark and Anita Goellner who I met when she held a cold drink out to me out to me from their van door on the way into Duluth. I ended up spending a night with them and Mark helped me route the last part of the ride from Duluth on down to Hinckley. Andy Eller got me out of the gravel road maze that Siri put me in.

I rode and talked with Mary Beth Lawson as she gave me tips from the seat of her electric bike. I saw Postmaster Laurie at Lutsen twice and she had tips too, but the best thing was her rushing to the post office door to make sure I was stopping on the second morning I passed by.

I met Bill Kuhn at Grand Portage and he communicated the rest of the way and actually took me and the bike to the airport to pick up the rental car for the trip home. Allison Tuck arranged yet another fantastic journey with the one-way rental cars for this trip. Rayna Gardner managed the whole thing again and finally gave me the approval to do the trip just a few days before it started.

I got to see China Grove’s Ethan Horne and his fiancée, Kim, in Minneapolis and he rode with me for a day on the bikes. We stayed in touch nearly every day, picking his brain for knowledge of the area. All this, and I was only riding for 19 days! And all these people helped and wanted to do more, just an incredible heartwarming package.

Near to my heart is the bottomless Y Service Club ice cream, the ever-present Kwik Trip and Holiday convenience stores, the World’s Best Donuts, Betty’s pies (the Bombleberry is absolutely the best ever) and the Mariner, Lake George, Water’s Edge Motels among many others, all the tailwinds and flat terrain I could get and all 2,552 miles of the Mississippi. History made its impact with the homes of Charles Lindbergh and Laura Ingalls Wilder. I hated the flies and mosquitoes, but they mostly left me alone, didn’t care for the bluff riding, nor Bigfoot not showing up. Thanks, Carol O’Brien for the honey, I have nearly finished it.

I will tell the real story of the crappiest motel ever and what really happened on the fall on the gravel road in the book.

Finally, my thanks go to the sponsors who made this happen, Cindy Atkins, Father and Son Produce, Dick and Jean Richards, David Post, St. Paul’s Lutheran Men and Luis Villareal of Gear for Races. Your contributions are so valued and important! Next to make the list are Andy Mooney, the magician who makes these adventures look so good in the Post, and then always the readers who carry me through the hard times. Lastly, thanks to God for riding with me each and every day, good or bad!

I will see you in the papers with my column and the county seat resumption, and maybe we should start planning something else! Thank you all for riding along and your meaningful communication, once again!