Journey to the East: 28 June 2012


Flooded roads

Ice is civilization.
-Paul Thoreaux, The Mosquito Coast

Walking on water wasn’t built in a day
I fled from the mosquito infested campground without even cooking breakfast and headed to the tiny town of Jacobson where I got my coffee. The locals there told me the flooding had my the genially bad mosquito situation worse. Signs of the flooding she everywhere with rivers running to the edge of the roads, portions of resorts under water, access roads closed and so on. I rode through these flooded wood lined lakes and rivers in the morning and then after a more real breakfast at the Roasting House I turned westward. The road was marked as closed but rode past the barrier and soon found out why. A good stretch, maybe 1/3 of a mile was fully underwater and the current indicating more ws still coming in. I rode through the flooded section, the water reached up beyond the bottom of my front panniers. The rode turned due west which in some sort of cosmic injustice the wind had finally returned to coming out of. So another 15 miles or so of he’s wind before turning. This last stretch before Aitkin was in more open land near the Mississippi and signs of flooding where again everywhere. Pretty highly trafficked road and with little shoulder and sidewinds not much fun. In Aitkin, where I’d planned to stay for the night, the campground was flooded and closed, so I just pressed on.


Sunset over Mille Lacs Lake

Pretty hot ride in the late afternoon, but away from the lakes and rivers at first. Also some altitude was gained, but about all I think at least until after the Twin Cities. Thankfully the route returned to the woods and larger lakes appeared. As did resorts and campgrounds and I finally settled at Castaway’s Campground just outside of Malmo, MN on Mille Lacs Lake. The most expensive campground to date and not much to justify said expense. Methinks they are jouking the fishermen. Still talked to some good people here as has been the case generally in Minnesota. Ended up riding over 80 miles today; the longest ride to date.

The waters
of the flooded roadway
are cool against my feet

6 thoughts on “Journey to the East: 28 June 2012”

  1. Congrats on pulling off a long ride, even though it wasn’t what you planned (which seem to be a big reason why we tourons do longer days.)

    Out of curiosity how much are those “resorts” charging for tent camping? We saw a lot of them in that area, but I avoid private campgrounds because of higher prices and suckier facilities.

  2. I’m right with you in avoiding these “resorts” so I can’t really generalize, but this one was US$35. Like I said the most expensive c-ground I’ve stayed at on this tour. Maybe ever. Even moreso than the KOAs I’ve (unfortunately) stayed at. But OTOH private places aren’t all a shaft – the place I’m staying tonight is US$3 for cyclists and it has free and clean showers, a swimming pool and WiFi!

    1. Yeah, I can’t really generalize regarding all private campgrounds, though my experience with them leads me to believe they are generally more expensive/not good for cyclotourists.

      We had to do our share of them on our Trans-Continental jaunt as in the midsection of the continent the amount of public (state, federal) campgrounds go drastically down (though there is an increase of municipal campgrounds.) A few private campgrounds were okay but most cater 90% to the RV set and any tent camping is an afterthought.

      The crappiest private campground experience we had was when we were in the Idaho Panhandle on the Coeur d’Alene Trail. $20 a night wasn’t exorbitant mind you, but the downright casual nature of the management and the dearth of services left something to be said. When asked if there was any particular spot was less buggy, they said, “Yeah, Motel 6”. Oh they provided water–that you had to boil. (I managed to flag down the lone employee before he took off for the night to get a gallon of drinking water. “You guys need water?” he asked. Sheesh.) And the promised showers were a jury-rigged outdoor structure with a garden hose with no water pressure.

      Anyways, enough of my ranting. Good to hear that tonight’s experience is positive.

      1. Yipes that’s a bad ‘ground. I too prefer the state, federal etc but this trip I’ve stayed in more RV parks and private ‘grounds than ever. I’ve been plesently surprised that most RV parks I’ve stayed at have had a separate tenting area and tend to charge 10-15$. Several have occasionally catered to touring cyclists. But yeah there have been the bad ones. The worst places tend to be the city parks IMO. Cheap sure, but the bathrooms are uniformly disgusting and they are usually right in some neighborhood so the night activity can be high. Still nothing has been unbearable and as they say, any port in a storm.

        1. We didn’t camp in city parks when crossing the Canadian Prairies (since there is no “TransAm” or equivalent in Canada, they don’t cater as much to touring cyclists), but we stayed in many a municipal campground, which there were a lot of. Prices ranged from $10 to $20 CDN and typically had better facilities than camping in a town park.

          But there was quite the spectrum in quality, and you could never tell by price. For example, we stayed at the city campground in Yorkton, SK. $20 a night and the campground seemed to be a way to use up otherwise unutilized land. Next to the highway, train tracks, a factory, and the dump. Tent sites were on crappy piles of sand practically on top of each other.

          The next night we camped in the city campground in Roblin, MT. $10 a night on a spot on a rise above a pond (and not buggy!) Good bathrooms and an ice-cream shop right there in the park!

Leave a Reply