Leg; 504 miles / 811 km
Total; 1396 miles / 2247 km
(Please check out our Instagram profile for regularly updated photos of our cycling adventures!)
Our rest day in South Range was not what we expected. After sharing a beer with the campground owner, she asked her son to take us shooting the next day! He was happy to and turned up with an arsenal of guns. We went to his uncle’s house and shot guns and clay pigeons in the garden. Surreal experience but very grateful for the opportunity and pleased it was with someone so experienced, if very young!
After our firearms lesson we crossed the massive Bong memorial bridge from Superior to Duluth and then climbed up the (as we’d find out) only hill in Minnesota. We stayed in Floodwood where, yet again, we had the campground to ourselves. The next day we cycled to McCarthy Beach State Park; voted one of the 17 best beaches in North America. Don’t think we’d rate the beach that highly but it was an amazing campground where we feel asleep to the sound of howling Timber Wolves!
We got up early the next day and cycled the first hour in pouring rain; our first since leaving Toronto. We got drenched but the rain seemed to make us go quicker and the 90 miles to International Falls seemed easier than some much shorter days. We were so hungry we had a McDonalds in the car park! Not something either of us would do back home but we needed a burger and quickly.
The next morning we crossed the border easily and made our way to Caliper Lake via the aptly named Emo. Caliper Lake was astonishing, easily the best campground so far. Our pitch was right on the lake and we had an amazing beach with floating dock all to ourselves. There were loads of red squirrels who ate raw almonds from our hands and happily crawled all over our tent. Would definitely recommend Caliper Lake to nature lovers.
The ride from Caliper Lake to Rushing River was out of this world. Literally! Was like being in Jurassic Park, with huge rock formations by the roadside, ancient lakes and things rustling in the leaves the whole way. The most ‘Canadian’ scenery we’ve seen so far. We were also very lucky to bump into Gareth outside Nestor Falls laundromat. He, like many people, recommended Rushing River, but said we’d struggle to get a pitch because it was a Friday. He called them and wouldn’t get off the phone until they gave us a space, even though they were fully reserved.
We had a very short day the next to Kenora. Lots of people had recommended Kenora to us and we wanted a rest day in Winnipeg but that was too far from Rushing River after all the previous rides. So we casually pedalled to Kenora and moped about before we headed to Winnipeg.
We stayed at a great donation campground in Whitemouth and then rode to Winnipeg. We got halfway along a dead straight country road, before the sky turned grim and a thunderstorm was clearly brewing. We hid in a gas station for two hours, along with a motorcyclist who hadn’t ridden in the rain before, and then wrapped up as best we could against the relentless downpour.
The roads in Winnipeg were atrocious. We’ve never cycled anywhere as potholed and cracked before! Our panniers were jumping around all over the place and we constantly worried about pinch punctures. We stayed in a great Airbnb place though and met up with our friend Les, who showed us the sights and treated us to an amazing evening of home cooked steak, corn and slaw.
Wildlife spots; pelican, prairie dog