An Early Day

KY 5 400px days to Itasca!

Wheel full 70px I got up at Zero Dark Thirty this morning to call the Minnesota State Parks Reservation Center when it opened to make campground reservations for our stays at Itasca and Crow Wing State Parks.  There was only one site (!) left available at Itasca for the 25th as of last night, so I wanted to nab it.  I attempted to do this online yesterday, but my profile came up “already in use” when I tried to set it up n the Reservation Center’s website and I thus couldn’t proceed on to make the reservation.  A call to the nice lady who assisted me this morning cleared that up- my wife Heather and I stayed at Itasca five years ago before Minnesota adopted a state park campground reservation system and our old landline home phone number, collected at the time, was somehow creating a glitch in the system.

Wheel full 70px So Gary and I are now paid guests of the State of Minnesota at Itasca SP on the 25th and Crow Wing SP on the 30th.  A ten dollar call center reservation was added to each night, so I start the day a sawbuck poorer but relieved that this task is taken care of.  I hope Minnesota puts the money to good use.  It is fortunate that friends are hosting up over Labor day weekend- I never thought about that until yesterday.

Wheel full 70px Three nights and a wakeup until I fly out of Anchorage!


Almost but not quite just about final itinerary

IA 8 400px days left!!

Wheel full 70px One more stab at an itinerary.  The total mileage is pretty much set at 2416.4 miles/3,882 kilometers- about 54 miles/87 kilometers per each riding day.  We are still looking for hosts/places to camp in Tunica, Scott, Mayersville and Natchez, Mississippi and in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Friday, August 25 – Day 00 – Lake Itasca State Park, MN (0) – Itasca State Park Camp
Saturday, August 26 – Day 01 – Itasca State Park, MN to Cass Lake, MN (54.3) – Stony Point Resort (Camp)
Sunday, August 27 – Day 02 – Cass Lake, MN to Deer River, MN (107.4) – Blueberry Bowl (Camp)
Monday, August 28 – Day 03 – Deer River, MN to Jacobsen Campground, MN (153.7) – Jacobsen Campground (Camp)
Tuesday, August 29 – Day 04 – Jacobsen Campground, MN to Aitkin, MN (201.9) – Aitken Campground (Camp)
Wednesday, August 30 – Day 05 – Aitkin, MN to Crow Wing State Park, MN (257.2) – Crow Wing SP Campground (Camp)
Thursday, August 31 – Day 06 – Crow Wing State Park, MN to St. Cloud, MN (323.1) – Friend host (Residence)
Friday, September 1 – Day 07 – REST DAY (St. Cloud, MN) – Friend host (Residence
Saturday, September 2 – Day 08 – St. Cloud, MN to Elk River, MN (365.1) – Friend host (Residence)
Sunday, September 3 – Day 09 – Elk River, MN to South St. Paul, MN (428.2) – ???
Monday, September 4 – Day 10 – South St. Paul, MN to Bay City, WI, (479.6) – Bay City Campground (Camp)
Tuesday, September 5 – Day 11 – Red Wing, MN to Winona, MN (543.4) – Warmshowers host (Residence)
Wednesday, September 6 – Day 12 – Winona, MN to La Crosse, WI (573.5) – Warmshowers host (Residence)
Thursday, September 7 – Day 13 – La Crosse, WI to Prairie du Chien, WI (625.2) – Frenchman’s Landing Campground (Camp)
Friday, September 8 – Day 14 – Prairie du Chien, WI to Cassville, WI (682.4) – Whitetail Bluff Campground (Camp)
Saturday, September 9 – Day 15 – REST DAY (Cassville, WI) – Whitetail Bluff Campground (Camp)
Sunday, September 10 – Day 16 – Cassville, WI to Dubuque, IA (727.4) – Massey Marina Campground (Camp)
Monday, September 11 – Day 17 – Dubuque, IA to Fulton, IL (792.3) – Warmshowers host (Residence)
Tuesday, September 12 – Day 18 – Fulton, IL to Davenport, IA (842.5) – Warmshowers host (Residence)
Wednesday, September 13 – Day 19 – Davenport, IA to Keithsburg, IL (902.8) – Big River Forest Campground (Camp)
Thursday, September 14 – Day 20 – Keithsburg, IL to Nauvoo, IL (968.9) – Warmshowers host (Residence)
Friday, September 15 – Day 21 – REST DAY (Nauvoo, IL) – Warmshowers host (Residence)
Saturday, September 16 – Day 22 – Nauvoo, IL to Quincy, IL (1021.9) – Bear Creek ACE Campground (Camp)
Sunday, September 17 – Day 23 – Quincy, IL to Ted Shanks Conservation Area, MO (1065.7) – Ted Shanks Conservation Area Campground (Camp)
Monday, September 18 – Day 24 – Ted Shanks Conservation Area, MO to Hardin, IL (1121) – Church host (Camp)
Tuesday, September 19 – Day 25 – Hardin, IL to Wood River, IL (1183.2) – Warmshowers host (Residence)
Wednesday, September 20 – Day 26 – Alton, IL to Columbia, IL (1223.67) – Friend host (Residence)
Thursday, September 21 – Day 27 – Columbia, IL to St. Genevieve, MO (1272.2) – City park (Camp)
Friday, September 22 – Day 28 – SHORT DAY – St. Genevieve, MO to Chester, IL (1304.1) – City park (Camp)
Saturday, September 23 – Day 29 – Chester, IL to Grand Tower, IL (1338.7) – Devil’s Backbone Park Campground (Camp)
Sunday, September 24 – Day 30 – Grand Tower, IL to Cape Girardeau, MO (1371.9) – Warmshowers host (Residence)
Monday, September 25 – Day 31 – Cape Girardeau, MO to Columbus, KY (1439.4) – Columbus Belmont Landing Campground (Camp)
Tuesday, September 26 – Day 32 – Columbus, KY to New Madrid, AR (1486.4) – Donaldson Point Conservation Area Campground (Camp)
Wednesday, September 27 – Day 33 – New Madrid, AR to Caruthersville, AR (1539.4) – City park (Camp)
Thursday, September 28 – Day 34 – Caruthersville, AR to Osceola, AR (1594.1) – City park (Camp)
Friday, September 29 – Day 35 – Osceola, AR to Memphis, TN (1655.6) – Family host (Residence)
Saturday, September 30 – Day 36 – REST DAY (Memphis, TN) – Family host (Residence)
Sunday, October 1 – Day 37 – Memphis, TN to Tunica, MS (1699.2) – ???
Monday, October 2 – Day 38 – Tunica, MS to Clarksdale, MS (1760) – Quapaw Canoe Company (Camp)
Tuesday, October 3 – Day 39 – Clarksdale, MS to Scott, MS (1820.8) – ???
Wednesday, October 4 – Day 40 – Scott, MS to Mayersville, MS (1884.8) – ???
Thursday, October 5 – Day 41 – Mayersville, MS to Eagle Bend, MS (1930) – Yore Country Store (Camp)
Friday, October 6 – Day 42 – Eagle Bend, MS to Port Gibson, MS (1997.6) – Grand Gulf Military Campground (Camp)
Saturday, October 7 – Day 43 – Port Gibson to Natchez, MS (2064.1) – ???
Sunday, October 8 – Day 44 – REST DAY (Natchez, MS) – ???
Monday, October 9 – Day 45 – Natchez, MS to Old River Lock Campground, LA (2109.1) – Old River Lock Campground (Camp)
Tuesday, October 10 – Day 46 – Old River Lock Campground, LA to New Roads, LA (2152.9) – City park (Camp)
Wednesday, October 11 – Day 47 – New Roads, LA to Baton Rouge, LA (2200.2) – Warren and Grace Farr Park Campground (Camp)
Thursday, October 12 – Day 48 – Baton Rouge, LA to Lutcher, LA (2268.1) – Warmshowers host (Camp)
Friday, October 13 – Day 49 – Central, LA to New Orleans, LA (2304.5) – ???
Saturday, October 14 – Day 50 – REST DAY (New Orleans, LA) – ???
Sunday, October 15 – Day 51 – New Orleans, LA to Davant, LA (2366.2) – City park (Camp)
Monday, October 16 – Day 52 – Davant, LA to Venice, LA (2416.4 + 10.4 mile backtrack) – Fort Jackson Park Campground (Camp) RIDE OVER!


Fun Facts #2

LA 11 400px days until the start!

Wheel full 70pxGary and I will ride our bicycles through 10 states on the way down the river.  Without looking at a map or otherwise using the Internet, can you list which side of the Mississippi each is on?  There are three possible answers: East, West or Both.  Post your answers in the comments below.  The winner will receive one gasp of awe and three “We are not worthy’s” from each of us.

Wheel full 70pxWe will stay a total of 53 overnights on the trip counting Lake Itasca on Day Zero and Venice, Louisiana on Day 52.  Twelve of those will be in Minnesota, followed by 10 in Illinois, eight each in Mississippi and Louisiana, five in Missouri, four in Wisconsin, two each in Iowa and Tennessee, and last but not least one night apiece in Kentucky and Arkansas.

Wheel full 70pxThe response to our Warmshowers’ requests and inquiries made to overnight locations where we couldn’t find a Warmshowers host and there was no nearby campground, along with kind offers of lodging/camping from out of nowhere, mainly on facebook, has been simply overwhelming.  We have gone from upwards of 35 “open” nights to five in a matter of a few days.  In several instances we have multiple offers of hosting from the same city or town.  Wow- you folks are incredible!!  If you have offered to host us for an overnight the plan is to contact you back confirming our stay or to thank you for doing that if we are going to wind up staying nearby in another location by no later than the evening of Thursday, the 17th.  Please let us know if you check your email of Friday and have not heard from us.

Wheel full 70pxThe five locations where we are still looking for a host are

  • Caruthersville, MO on Wednesday, September 27th or Thursday, the 28th
  • Tunica, MS on Sunday, October 1st or Monday, the 2nd
  • Scott, MS on Tuesday, October 3rd or Wednesday, the 4th
  • Natchez, MS on either Saturday, October 7th or Sunday, October 8th and the next day after the day of arrival (Rest Day)
  • Phoenix, LA on Sunday, October 15th

Wheel full 70pxOh, and my bike shipped from the Trek Bicycle Store in Anchorage [link] today.

BikeFlights Airbill

Wheel full 70pxBikeFlights [link] is really a class act.  I used the company for shipping my bike last year twice and they provided service that was both flawless and attentive.  Highly recommended!



Spending the Night

Ilinois Master 400pxdays left.

Wheel full 70pxLast year during my 80+ days of riding down the Atlantic coast from Halifax, Nova Scotia and Key West, Florida, I spent close to $5,000 on lodging, averaging a little more than $60 per night.  My stays were pretty much divided between campgrounds and mom and pop/”budget” motels, but nowhere was cheap.  When a Motel 6 is, at $85 a night plus another $5-10 in tax, the least expensive thing going in an area where there are no campgrounds available, what can you do?  I paid these prices because I had been lulled into a false sense of security during my long rides in the 1990s- “Hiker-Biker” campsites in California State Parks were only six bucks and you could find clean older motels that were still around $25.  No more.

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