Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mankato, MN - Day 30

We were up before the sun and on the road, leaving our lovely Super 8, as the sun  rose red and resplendent over the little town of Worthington, MN. In that early morning light when we looked down the straight, long highway toward towering silos and grain elevators, it felt like we were heading toward Oz and were off to see the Wizard. For those of you who thought South Dakota was flat - you ain't seen nothing until you ride across Minnesota. All you see for miles and miles is corn, soybeans, corn, soybeans, farms surrounded by trees, a few windmills, and did I say corn and soybeans? As we rode 108 miles today, in the heat and humidity, we have very few pictures - plus it just would have been one more shot of corn and soybeans. The most interesting thing about the fields is how a single renegade corn plant will grow up here and there among the soybeans - either an errant wind blown seed, or more likely a seed left over from a previous year's planting of corn.

Tonight we are in Mankato - a charming college town with lots of old red brick buildings, and cute places to grab a bite to eat. We had to hit the bike shop for a few little items, then went to "Tandem Bagels" for a yummy salad and bagel. We are now at our very nice hotel, City Center Hotel, and and lounging around and doing laundry.

Now when I say very nice hotel - I think both of our standards may have slipped. However, after living the dream on the "garden level" at last night's Super 8 just off I-90, where the "garden" we looked at was the parking lot and the tires of the cars parked just feet away, we are now happy to have sliding glass doors that open to the pool room, and a bathroom with a big counter for our toilet bags. We are becoming experts on three star hotels. If you want recommendations call on us. Our favorites so far: Holiday Inn Express - we each had our own room with a shared bathroom and common area. That was also true at the Best Western in Chamberlain, SD of all places. We also had good experiences at Courtyard by Marriott. Our least favorite: Super 8 - we have stayed in two so far and neither have been standouts to say the least! Both times we got the "garden" level smelling slightly of cleaner, I fear to cover up the wet smell! Budget Burley Inn (anything with the name budget in it could be dangerous) was maybe the worst. On the OK front: Quality Inn - not all the name implies, Comfort Suites, Econolodge - not standouts, but adequate. Here's a tip for ranking hotels: count how many pillows are on the bed and check to see if there is a hairdryer.

Most of the time we are just happy for hot water, a bed, and now some air conditioning! And, most of the time we arrive around 1 or 2 in the afternoon and leave by 5:30 or 6 in the morning. We don't need much for very long!

Day 30
Miles: 108
Total Miles: 2208
Elevation Gain: 1598 (loss 2405) - heading back to sea level!
Next stop: Rochester, MN

Link to Mimi's Garmin info

Soybeans and island farm

Biggest hills of the day and corn everywhere!

Welcomed shady bike path at mile 100 and 90 degrees
Minnesota skiing!
OK - there are hills, er... mountains in Minnesota
The obvious reason Ward, a MN native,
moved to Colorado!

And what would a ski area be with out a ski team?!

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