My Route

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Day 37: Tuesday, 7th August. Destination: Super 8, Milaca, Minnesota

An early start and a long day, with the return of hot sun plus a steady uphill gradient and headwind. Nothing too arduous, but tiring over the distance. Karen had thought the suggested route a lot less attractive than a more direct one she knew, and I was glad to take her advice, but there was no getting round the fact that this was going to be a long day. Alternative accommodation listed on the map, which would have broken down the journey, were either closed or full and I couldn’t find anywhere else on the internet.

The first bit was very pleasant, following the Saint Croix river passed the pretty hamlet of Marine on St. Croix and the wooded William O’Brian state park. But then it was back out into open country winding through small dot-on-the-map towns with pretty much empty space in between, until arriving at Cambridge sometime in the afternoon. With a population of 5,594 it was quite the metropolis, with a mall and a Wallgreen’s store. I stopped there to get my photos downloaded onto a CD because my camera’s memory card was full, and while waiting wandered the aisles of the huge, nicely chilled store gazing at cookies and travel-sized toiletries (my latest obsession).

Back on the road there was still a long slog to Milaca (just past Dalbo on map 6b). Not so bad, really: I was stocked up with snacks and energy bars. As 7:30pm came around I was on the final stretch into town when some jackass in a pickup threw a bottle of pop at me while overtaking. Imagine a full bottle travelling at, let’s say, 30 miles per hour thumping you square in the back. Leaves quite a bruise. Hitting the target lead to whoops from the bottle-thrower and his mates, which gave me a furious burst of energy: I imagined myself catching up and tearing into them like Begbie from Trainspotting (except he'd have been the one throwing the bottle...). It’s amazing how adrenaline overwhelms logic. I’m sure it’s fortunate that I didn’t actually find them, and even at the time I couldn’t help thinking that that burst of energy made the last mile seem effortless. No pain no gain.