Mille Lacs Lake
A completely different day from yesterday. Left Brainerd early enough to complete the estimated 132 miles to Minneapolis. Headed east on Minnesota Highway 18 to Garrison on the shore of Mille Lac Lakes. A surprisingly large lake. You can't see all the way across it at it's widest. South on US Highway 169 hugging the shore of the lake through Mille Lacs Lake Indian Reservation and the mandatory Native American Casino filled with an army of fools throwing their money away as fast as possible. Quite a big operation for such a small res.
Turned south on to Minnesota Highway 47 and hit a brutal headwind out of the South. I distinctly remember the Weather Channel saying winds would be out of the Northeast today. I think what the meant to say was that the winds would eventually switch to northwest after the front passed. Well, the front didn't pass all day. This basically ground the whole day down to a brutal 6 to 9 mph for hours and hours. It would have been a nice ride, but I had the distinct feeling that I could have walked faster. Highway 47 runs through some nice, pastoral country. Dairy farms, corn, the usual.
Called Leif and Marcia at 5:00 PM to tell them I would be late. With an estimated 40 miles to go I should be arriving at around 9:00 PM, just ahead of darkness. No such luck. Minneapolis was 20 miles further away than I had estimated.
Approaching Anoka, I notice an increase in traffic, homes, and development. The way is still scenic, but I am not enjoying the wind. The road twists and turns, which breaks ups the monotony. Many of the drivers are spooked at the sight of a bicycle on the road. I decide to take up Leif on his offer for a ride. I meet him in the parking lot of a place called Crawdaddy's Lodge and Grill. It's nearly 10:00 PM and I still have 20 miles to go. The day was way too long. A bad combination of headwinds and excessive distance.
Leif & Marcia prepared a sumptuous African feast of groundnut soup and plasas (greens). Excellently prepared and more authentic tasting than anything I've ever made. Again, it's like stepping into a time machine. Somehow I had expected that everybody I knew in the Peace Corps would look wretchedly old after ten years. Such was not the case. Leif is teaching in the Minneapolis public school system and Marcia has just completed a masters in public health. They have three kids now. I sleep in their basement next to a fish tank with two bluegills and a crappie (Wisconsin game fish). Leif feeds them a homemade fish food made from ground breakfast cereal and old meat.