Sunday, July 28, 2013

Day 25 - July 28 - A quiet Sunday in the cornfields of Southern Minnesota

Day 25 - July 28 - Marshall, MN to Mankato, MN - 83.3 miles ( kms); total so far -  2006.7miles  (2995.4  kms)

Distance: 83.3 miles (134.1  kms)
Total time: 7hrs 20 mins (including lunch and some sightseeing in Austin when arrived) 
Average Moving Speed: 14.2mph (22.9 kph)
Maximum Speed: 31.2mph (50.2 kph) 
Calories burned: 3764
Elevation gained: 1299 ft (396 meters)

Weather:  Cloudy and cool in Marshall at 10am in the morning with temperatures about 50 degF (11C) with mild north winds at 10 mph (16kph). It moderated during the day but remained northerly. It provided a tailwind for me for about half the day's ride.  Temperatures only warmed up to the mid 60sF(17C) after the sun came out about noon.

Powered by:  Breakfast -bowl of Raisin Bran, banana, bagel, boiled egg,; Lunch of bagel chips and peanut butter, 1 banana, 1 Calif bar, 1 Coke, 1 big double chocolate muffin,  1 liter of water and 1 liter of Gatorade

On today's ride, I passed 2000 miles (3200 kms) since I left the Oregon coast just under 4 weeks ago.  It seems as if I'm now about 2/3rd of the way to New Jersey if my calculations are correct, or about 2 weeks and a bit to ride.  It seems both a long time  and a long mileage ago that I started.   Something about 27 hotels and countless peanut butter and banana consumptions have certainly marked the journey.  I don't think that I've lost a lot of weight but I can consume prodigious amounts of food at one sitting, often ordering two entrees for dinner - followed by a large ice cream dessert.  The all-time record was a "concrete mix" at Culver's, an Upper Midwest chain of burgers and ice cream, that tilted the calorie scale at 1311 calories.  It was a giant (tall) mix of ice cream, milk, cream and bits of cookies.   

Today's ride was a quiet one along empty country roads for the most part, after the Sunday morning rush-hour to church had passed.   It was the same unrelentlng alternate of corn (maize) and soy bean fields.  I passed through a series of towns - Mapleton, Richfield, Blooming Prairie - that looked as if they could be the settings for "Lake Woebegone'. (This is from a long-running radio show, Prairie Home Companion, from St.Paul featuring a fictional town, Lake Woebegone, where 'all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average').  Funnily enough, the program was on two Minnesota Public Radio stations that I tuned into during the ride.  I always take a short detour off the by-pass to see the town center and the  state of its retail activity.  Compared to towns further west, those of southern Minnesota are certainly tidier, cleaner, look more prosperous  and have the appealing qualities of small-town life in well-cared-for parks, nice school sports facilities, small children riding bikes and skateboards in the middle of the streets, lots of shady trees, and imposing brick churches erected in the later nineteenth century.  Most of towns date from the 1850s, which is about a half-century earlier than those I saw in the western Dakotas and eastern Montana.

On a Lutheran church in Mapleton - St. John's Church (in German)

Every little town should be the 'capital' of something.  They must be a contender in the north for the statewide title.  At least, they spelled 'capital' correctly.

One of the many tidy farms that I passed with manicured lawns and shade trees.  I don't understand the concept of a lawn on a farm

I reached Austin in plenty of time to explore the small city that Hormel made famous through its ham and pork products, especially Spam.  The family features prominently in their benefactor status for a lot of public infrastructure and medical facilities, and of course, the Spam museum is next to the corporate headquarters.   Entrance is free and maybe I'll visit in the morning for a giggle or two before heading for Iowa, the real pork fulcrum of the United States.

Old theatre in Austin restored inside and out and on the National Register

Not a place I'll be visiting, though it might be ironically funny

Why not? The Hormel family made Austin famous to an extent

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