Lake Itasca to Bemidji
Miles: 33 * Avg. Speed: 11.7 * Crashes: 0 * Wildlife: 0 * Hotel with Pool/Spa: check!
Because we only planned to ride 30 miles our first day, we decided to take our time in the morning and head for Lake Itasca State Park just before noon. What a beautiful park.
We saw the visitor’s welcome center and then headed to the headwaters of the Mississippi.
We took about 1,000 pictures. The dividing line between lake and river is marked with a line of big rocks. People were walking on them to go across. Jane and I were going to go out to the middle for a picture, but just as we started out Jane saw a woman slip on the rocks and fall -getting soaking wet- and decided that maybe the rocks were a bad idea.
We went back to the cafe/store and looked around and then decided it was time to ride.
TWIT of the day award goes to …try to guess… ME! Mike and I have bike GPS devices and he loaned his to Jane. They mount on the bikes with a simple piece held on by, essentially, rubber bands. I removed mine just in case while we were driving because I don’t have a spare. That night in the hotel room, I put it in a safe place. A very safe place. So safe that I forgot to bring it with me to Lake Itasca and when I went to put the GPS on my bike…I realized I didn’t have the mount. It took me 15 minutes to remember where I actually put it and, of course, couldn’t go get it. Jane gave me her mount because she isn’t used to using one and wanted me to have access to the information I downloaded into it.
After a LOT of fiddling around (99% of it by me) we finally got on the bikes and started our trip. Our day was supposed to be 30 miles and we expected to be done in about 4 hours or less, including stops. As we rode out of Itasca State Park, we were routed onto some really quiet back roads. We not only saw very little traffic…we saw few signs of civilization too. It was a beautiful warm and sunny day and the road was mostly rolling hills that weren’t too daunting. At one point there was a hill I was seeing up ahead that I wasn’t excited about going up and just before we had to climb it, the GPS told us to turn left! Whew! We’ve agreed to stop for a little break every ten miles. We had a lot of impromptu breaks as I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the Mississippi nearly every time we crossed it!
At our first 10 mile stop, Jane was feeling like she needed some energy. She usually uses Gatorade, but hadn’t done so that morning. I grabbed my cell phone and Googled for a gas station or some type of service. Turns out the Becida Bar & Grill was only a few miles ahead. When I told her that she said… “Let’s go!” In short time, we were enjoying another break and lo and behold they had a big cooler of drinks and there was Powerade there. I had a diet-coke. For some reason when I’m riding pop refreshes me. I don’t know if it’s the caffeine or the bubbles…or both.
There were only a few people in there on a Sunday afternoon and we sat near an older couple that were just finishing up their lunch. The man asked us where we were riding today and we told him what we were doing. He, in turn, shared with us that he was a biker and had many years of doing the RAGBRAI (ride across Iowa) under his belt. He said he’d been a member of a bicycle riding club for 40 years. We thought that was pretty awesome.
It turns out that the Becida Bar & Grill was the ONLY business of that type we saw until we were on the outskirts of Bemidji.
Coming into Bemidji, which is located on Lake Bemidji, we could see our hotel across the lake -so close and yet so far!