Day 25 – Utterly Soaked

After a quiet night in the campground, we awoke at 5:30 am. We packed, ate breakfast, and traveled south on the Central Lakes Trail. We soon saw a tent and bike with panniers next to the trail. Biking on a paved trail immediately rewarded us with peacefulness - no vehicle noise or wind blasts. Ponds, lakes, and wetlands appeared frequently along the trail. We found a snapping turtle on the trail and a painted turtle. We passed by Dalton and in 16 miles ate another breakfast at the City Cafe in Ashby.

After breakfast, we skirted Pelican Lake, then we saw several clumps of yellow ladies slipper orchids. We traveled onward, past three more small towns. At noon, we arrived in Alexandria for lunch, which we consumed while sitting at an information board. Thus far, the approaching storm stalled. The weather forecast predicted rain after 2 pm. We thought we could ride to Osakis and check into a motel before the rain arrived. We continued south, enjoying pleasant riding - especially where trees lined both sides of the trail (see photo).

About 4 miles from town, the rain arrived. We donned our rain jackets and rode into Osakis drenched. We walked in the tourist info center for advice on which motel to patronize. Alas, all three had closed. But Nikki, the friendly and affable person in charge, suggested that we ask the owner of the Sportsman’s Motel and RV Park (which had been converted to apartments) if he had a vacant room. We rode for 6 blocks in the rain. Betsy’s earnest pleadings were for naught. We biked back to the tourist info center in a downpour. When we arrived, Nikki handed me the keys to her van and told us to get our bikes inside. She would drive us to Sauk Center, 15 miles farther. She also called ahead and got us a room at the Palmer House Hotel. As we drove, I imagined what it would have been like to drive. We were wet and cold. Nikki dropped us off at the hotel. We wheeled our bikes inside, grateful to be out of the rain and cold. Thank you, Nikki!

Today: Fergus Falls, MN to Sauk Centre, MN : 65 miles

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