Minnesota Nice and Wisconsin’s Blue Gill Festival

July 17: 74 miles from Little Falls, MN to Dalbo, MN

The heat wave was still going strong as we struggled through this scorcher. But we knew that awaiting us would be a biclycle-only bunkhouse, and we had high hopes. Our expectations, however, were blown out of the water when we arrived in Dalbo at the Bicycle Bunkhouse, run by Donn Olson and his family.  They transformed an unused barn into a beautiful bunkhouse, complete with three rustic bedrooms, a comfy living room and dining room area, a fully stocked kitchen and pantry, hot solar heated shower, and most importantly for our well-being: air conditioning!!  We chatted with Donn and admired his wall of pictures showcasing the many grateful tourers that have passed through over the years. Then we got clean, got fed, and got cool. A real cyclists’ paradise! Talk about “Minnesota Nice”!

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July 18: 81 miles from Dalbo, MN to Amery, WI

This hot, hot day was made bearable by a long air conditioned second breakfast at Cafe Stuga in a tiny railroad town. We are doing a GREAT job eating our way across the country 🙂

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Our second long break found us on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin where we swam in the red-clay waters of the St. Croix River.  It felt sooooo good to cool off!

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Then it was good bye Minnesota, hello cheese country!

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July 19th: 69 miles from Amery, WI to Birch wood, WI and July 20th–Day Off!

The heat finally broke!  Our morning began with long stretches of tree-lined, shady roads winding and rolling through farms and by lakes.

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We had a good feeling immediately upon entering the Doolittle campground on the lake and after hearing that we had landed here just in time for the annual Blue Gill Festival, it was an easy decision to stay and take a day off to enjoy the scene!  And we’ve done it right!  Here are some of the day’s highlights:

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Awesome campsite!  We had a blast swimming in the lake yesterday before heading into “downtown” Birchwood for the festivities.

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The festival attracts a regional softball tournament!!  And these guys are really good!  Our campground neighbors are playing, so we’ve cheered them on today and last night. After they won yesterday, we enjoyed their company and their beer around a camp fire!

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Touring the town, Christine’s first time seeing  real gun, and playing and beating Ian’s butt at cards at the all-day breakfast cafe. So far in this town we’ve eaten at the local greasy spoon “almost” famous for their hashbrowns, had a Friday Fish Fry, which evidently is a thing, and sampled strawberry and rhubarb pie at the Pie Social. Seriously–eating our way across the country!

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Before settling back into the softball bleachers, we toured the local historical society’s preserved homesteads. Learning is fun!!!

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2 thoughts on “Minnesota Nice and Wisconsin’s Blue Gill Festival

  1. Food is a “thing.” I was so desperate today after just 35 miles on the Jersey Shore (in 90-94 F heat) that I ate a “British Cheese Steak,” which is a Philly Cheese Steak made with cheddar cheese instead of American. And it has bacon. Grilled onions, no peppers. Four bottles of Gatorade. Home now, and about to go to Best Market (you’ll be sad to know they’ve rebranded while you were away) for pineapple and watermelon chunks. Really. All I want is fruit. Had the most amazing warm (it was 97F and I was at the Union Square Farmer’s Market) organic yellow peach. So ripe and sweet and sloppy! You getting any fresh food in farm country?

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