My Route

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Day 40: Friday, 10th August. Destination: Pelican Motel, Pelican Rapids, Minnesota

A morning’s cycle through the by now familiar scenery of peat bog & bullrushes, rolling land dotted by copses of woodland and dried-up wheat or sunflowers took me past Lakes Nelson, Fish, Jesse, George, Spitzer, Sampson, Belmont and Clitherall to the elegant town of Battle Lake. In contrast to recent homely dining experiences, I chose to lunch at Stella’s, a chic place serving delicious salads amongst other goodies. It was all dark wood and discreet lighting. Pleasant waitresses ushered me to my table, and there were magazines to browse through that weren’t all about hunting, shooting and fishing. It was lovely, and as I left I met a couple of friendly cyclists heading in. We chatted for a while and it turned out that they're doing this part of the Northern Tier east to west too, so we made plans to meet up in Fargo tomorrow. A proper introduction to them in my next blog, but for now I was left thinking how nice it would be to have travelling companionship for a while.

I headed out of town past the large, touristy Otter Tale Lake (the morning’s lakes were just puddles in comparison, but prettier for it). The road carried on another 24 miles, past some picturesque vintage tractors left to rust by the side of the road, turning occasionally but basically west, until I reached the tiny hamlet of Edwards, marked on the map by a pint symbol. No shop or cafĂ© in Edwards, just a bar - a red-painted timber-clad converted church by the side of the road. The friendly lady proprietor served me cola and home-made tomato soup while telling me about her relatives from the UK. Her favourite Daniel O’Donnell CD played in the background.

A little further down the road and there I was checking in to the Pelican Motel. The owner was a really nice young guy and he & his wife had bought the place recently. I hope it’s a success for them: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - I like these independent mon’n’pop places. He recommended an all-you-can eat fish place for dinner, but it was too low-brow for my Battle Lake state of mind (families chowing down on deep-fried fish nuggets served in red plastic wicker baskets). I ended up at a fancy - if pretty quiet - bar & bistro on Main Street, enjoying a home-made burger and local beer. To end the day, a T-storm pulled into town and it poured down as the bistro closed up, rain sparkling in the streetlights. The owner let me hang around till it moved on.