Well Spoke'n

Exploring the World by Bike

Big Falls to Little Falls

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I wonder if the people who planned this trip had a bit of a sense of humor when they picked out our final destination for the ride. Twelve days ago, we set out from Niagara Falls, not the tallest waterfalls in the world, but the one which has the largest flow rate of any waterfall in the world. Today, we finish at Little Falls, Minnesota.  Big Falls to Little Falls.

Little Falls is located 100 miles northwest of Minneapolis, on the mighty Mississippi River. Established in 1848, it is one of the oldest cities in Minnesota. Little Falls’ most famous citizen was Charles Lindbergh, who in 1927 at 25 years old, became the first pilot to fly on a solo non-stop flight from New York to Paris. The flight was 3600 miles and took 33 hours and 30 minutes.  His plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, is on permanent display in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Today was a bit of an unusual day in that we had an early deadline.  We needed to be off the road by around noon to allow time for lunch, to pack up the vans, load our bikes and start the drive north.  The plan is to spend the night in Grand Forks, North Dakota and then drive to Winnipeg on Saturday morning for our homecoming.

We had 120 kilometers to conquer in five hours so there was no time for dilly-dallying.  Our leisurely rest stops of days past were replaced with quick fuelling stops.  My group allowed just enough time to refill water bottles, pop back a few snacks and head off again.  I was a bit frantic early in the day, hoping that I would have time to finish the daily distance.  I had ridden every kilometer so far and I didn’t want some roadside disaster to cause me to come up short today.  I didn’t have time to deal with a flat tire so I crossed my fingers that all would go well.

The route was lovely.  Mostly along the shores of the Mississippi through cottage country, the road was flat with few hills.  Rounding one corner in the city of St. Cloud, we were assaulted with the scent of donuts.  Two fellow riders were standing on the street enjoying a freshly baked donut.  Braking hard on my bike, my plan for the day temporarily forgotten, I pulled in for a fast “fuelling” stop.  Soft, sweet and still warm, my honey-glazed donut was absolutely first rate.  It was from one of those old time bakeries that I remember from my youth with the glass display cases full of fresh baked goods.  In my haste to eat my donut and get back on the road, I didn’t even note the name of the bakery nor take a picture!  I go to Minneapolis every fall for a little shopping and I pledge to make a small detour into St. Cloud this fall to find this little gem of a bakery.

Back on the road again, recharged, we easily finished our ride by our noon deadline.

Our group spent our last evening together in Grand Forks.  Virtually taking over the Italian Moon restaurant, we ate our way through their Italian buffet.  We swapped stories, shared laughs, recognized and congratulated people for a job well done.  We have covered so much territory together over two weeks and though it was hard work, we all felt a great sense of accomplishment and kinship.

Details for today Distance 119 km. / 1513 km. total

Route Map  Monticello to Little Falls, Minnesota

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