My husband, Rich, designed the route to cling to the Mississippi River, focusing on the upper sections and the bluff country. He also wanted to take advantage of some nice bike trails along the way. The first was the Great River State Trail which took us from Marshland to La Crosse along the river in Wisconsin. On our return through Minnesota, we detoured away from the river to take the Root River Trail through rural towns near the Amish country, from Rushford to Fountain.
We intended to return to the Mississippi River and travel up to Red Wing to follow the Cannon Valley Trail along Cannon River to Cannon Falls. But not everything in life and cycling turns out as expected! Upon leaving Chatfield, unrelenting headwinds blowing unimpeded across the farmland slowed our progress down to a crawl. Since we were camping that night, we took advantage of our flexibility and changed course to a more practical cycling direction. We discovered historic Mantorville as a result, and were rewarded with SE winds the next day to push us onward.
Our final leg took us to the Twin Cities, with the goal of reaching Shakopee by mid-afternoon on Saturday – cycling up to our daughter’s house where family and close friends had already gathered to cheer us home for an anniversary party and BBQ!
Here is a day-to-day account of our trip. Total final mileage = 465 miles.
Day 2: Wabasha MN to La Crosse WI, 72 miles (motel) – Cycling into Hefty Headwinds
Day 3: La Crosse WI to Prairie du Chien WI, 60 miles (B&B! Special accommodations for the night before our 30th wedding anniversary) – Clinging to the Mississippi River
Day 4: Prairie du Chien WI to Caledonia MN, 60 miles (motel) – Cycling and Executive Decisions
Day 5: Caledonia MN to Chatfield MN, 66 miles (B&B) – Root River Trail Surprises
Day 6: Chatfield MN to Mantorville MN, 56 miles (camping) – Have Tent Will Travel
Day 7: Mantorville MN to Northfield MN, 47 miles (Warm Showers home) – Dallying Through Southern Minnesota
Day 8: Northfield MN to Shakopee MN, 48 miles (home in our own beds!) – A Perfect Cycling Grand Finale
Here are additional posts about our trip:
Molly’s blog posts – All blog posts related to the Upper Mississippi River Cycling Tour, including those leading up to the trip and after thoughts.
Rich’s view of the trip – He posted to the Crazy Guy on a Bike website, which is a widely used portal for long distance cycling trips. Scroll down to page to Table of Contents to find the individual posts.