Unexpected Island Visit

I make my way out of Cloquet through a circuitous route avoiding the many roads and bridges damaged and even washed away in Duluth’s ten inch rain deluge from two weeks earlier. It even flooded the zoo allowing a polar bear and several seals to swim to freedom. But all were subsequently recaptured. This is one part of the US where people talk openly and comfortably about climate change. It’s happening.

It was a beautiful day for a bike ride, made even more so because I was on small county roads weaving my way back to Route 2. I found an old bridge over the St. Louis River underneath an even older train bridge. All the signs suggested even a loaded touring bicycle might be too much. But I am not loaded.

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Not sure if you can get a sense from the photo but all the rivers are well swollen beyond their normal banks.

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Cool temperatures, low humidity, big puffy white cumulus clouds overhead providing moments of shade now and then. It was a bit sad when I finally made it to the highway after fifty km of cycling bliss. It was back to Route 2 with its two, three and sometimes four lanes overly exposed to the sun and wind. At a lunch stop, I meet a dozen women who are celebrating eight years of friendship with a cake. Turns out all of them are widowers who get together regularly. They sweeten the rest of my ride with a big slice of cake.

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I pedaled through what seemed like endless road construction, some with very little space for a cyclist. And all the new pavement did not have markings for a shoulder so I felt quite exposed. When I finally came upon the a long single lane section bordered by hot poured asphalt, luckily Leisa was nearby. I abandoned this section and took a tow to Route 13, which leads north up a peninsula to the Apostle Islands National Seashore and Madeline Island, where Leisa and I decide to take a rest day before she heads back to British Columbia. Turns out this is where she spent a few summer vacations as a teenager. I make it to the ferry just as it is about to lift its loading ramp. Leisa here is either contemplating how to deal with someone who is chronically late or her childhood.

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We get to Madeline Island as the sun is setting and find a little Inn and a place to eat on the water. What ocean like beauty Lake Superior is able to mimic.

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Stats – for Monday 9 July 2012

Start: Cloquet
Finish: Madeline Island
Distance: 93 km (cycling)
Time on Bike: 4 hrs 26 min
Average Speed: 20.7 km/hr
Distance to Date: 4,316 km

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