Independence Day Road Tour:
A few days before the 4th, Blake tells me he's going on a road tour and I want in. Having never done a two day, 200 mile, ride it's a chance to pick up new skills. Blake is more experienced on road tours so I will learn from him and get the experience of a multi day ride. I already know I like long rides so this ups the game and I have the Epic later this summer.
We do not have much of a plan or a map. We know we can navigate using our phone if we need to find something otherwise we expect to wander and ride. It isn't until we get out an hour that we agree to go to a state forest that allows dispersed camping. That means you use the land as is, no campsites exist. A little rugged but I can always find a proper spot to make camp.
It takes over 2 hours to get away from town and we already using phone maps more than we want but we are not making progress as we guess at what trails go north more than west or east.
Finally breaking out of the metro.
Following the Rum River Trail is nice but it's not going to last.
Here we follow a trail for a few miles only for it to turn to gravel and then just stop. We have to ride back the entire way. At which point to take a road that also dead end. Maps show it goes through but a manufacturer fenced off the entire lot. More backtracking.
People have a lot of time to waste out here. Besides cutting acres of grass they so this.
Into 'camp' at mile 117. We ride up a forest road less than a mile and find this grass knoll. It's almost ideal. Far from the wood line keeps the bugs down, flat, and grassy means you can easily walk around. Downside is it's close to the road.
My gear rig worked good and the old steel Bianchi Road Champion was awesome.
Fog clears, we don't bother having breakfast. We just pack up and head out.
Frequent stops are welcome as all calories are needed to fuel the legs.
I get my childhood favorite, Rainbow Bomb Pop.
Blake get his, a 'Ninja Turtle'. A what? You got a silly green frog and I got a red white and blue symbol of the American Space Race on Independence day. Kids!
Back at the Coon Rapids Dam.
Out of left field I couldn't help but stop and take a picture of this graffiti. It was on the back of a metal warehouse. I've seen a lot of street art but this is the finest detail and shading I've ever seen. I have no idea what the artiest was trying to say and I'm extremely comfortable not knowing.
I said I road from my place to Blake's and that means I needed to ride back after dropping him off. An extra 17 miles. I feel ok when I leave his place and I know I should eat something but I don't. It's only 17 miles and I'm not rushing it. About mile 12 I bonk, real bad. Legs go to ham. I just have to push 4 more miles and I'll stop at a store and get something. I need to eat. Chocolate milk. I drink the entire 1/2 gallon in minutes. What you see is what I drank from the register to the sidewalk out front. I drink the rest on the mile home.
It was an easy ride and I'm looking forward to a repeat. I've already registered for several 200 miles bikepacking trips in 2016. Going to be a lot more road tours in my future. I've found independence on the open road and a pannier full of camping gear.