Today we had a goal. We had 30 miles to bike to get to Alma, where my grandma sent us a care package! So we set out before 8:00 after I (proudly) washed my hair in the little sink at the park.
There was more wind today than any other day, and we had some real hills! Early on in the ride, a woman pulled over to say hi and to hear about our trip. We told her about our planned route to Alma, which was apparently the best way to go! She warned us about some upcoming hills, but assured us the views and the eventual downhill would make it all worth it. And she was absolutely right.
It was even windier on the ridge, but it was so great to look out to the farms and hills in every direction. And then came the down. There was so much wind that we could barely break 30 mph coming down, but the switchbacks were so fun to navigate – especially since there were no cars to be seen!
Aidan has been reflecting on how grateful he is to have a granny gear. We were both spinning along in our lowest gears all morning up the hills and even on the windy flats. Thanks to his Aunt Les for funding the granny gear addition!
It’s interesting to see the differences in signs from state to state. The bigger highways are numbers (for example, we were on highway 95 for a bit today), the county roads are by letters, and many smaller town roads are numbers (fourth street etc.). And whenever it’s flat terrain, the layout of the roads reflects that. Flat land is gridded out into straight roads spaced out evenly, and hilly sections get winding roads that weave around mountains and rivers. We reached Alma and found the post office. Our package was scheduled to arrive sometime today, but the post office closed before it got there, so we’ll pick it up in the morning. Luckily, we needed a rest day, and were planning to spend the night here, so we made lunch outside a cafe, admired their gardens, and charged our phones.
Aidan here. The highlight of my afternoon was visiting a leather craftsman here in Alma. Larry has a storefront on the main street selling belts, bags, sheaths and custom orders, all of which he makes right here by hand. He showed me around his work space, describing the history of the leather and answering all of my questions. I find this craft so fascinating and functional and durable, I hope to work with leather in the future. I am proud to say that before leaving I made my first non survival-driven purchase of the trip, with a beautiful leather wallet!
We had really enjoyed the library environment yesterday, so we brought our bikes into the library and relaxed there for a couple hours.
It had been awhile since we’d knocked on a door for camping, so we gave it a try. The first house where we found someone home was a success. Our tent is set up in their yard now, and we found yet more friendly people!
Alma is right on the Mississippi River, across which is Minnesota – our next state!