This Blog will document the adventures of six Californian’s converging on Blackduck, Minnesota to embark on a 7 day bike ride, traveling in a 400 mile loop over 7 days and 8 nights… from 50 to 80 miles per day. We will be staying with our Minnesota host, Scott Peterson in Nevis before and after the ride. The organized ride from June 10 to June 17 with 140 other cyclists, will travel through small towns of Northern Minnesota and we will camp in tents and sleeping bags in public parks and high school football fields along the way.
Towns include those of Blackduck, Deer River, Nashwauk, Cook, International Falls, and Bigfork. A one day rest period in International Fall, Minnesota will allow a day trip across the border to Fort Francis, Canada. (thus the name ‘Ride to the Border’). Click link here for more details of the route via Google Maps.
I’ll be taking my I-pad with me with hopes of finding WiFi hotspots along the way to upload pictures and let the team document the trials and tribulations of ointment and Advil. So bookmark it, and sign up for e-mail notifications so you can be alerted of new posts. -Bob
Bob, Dan, Andy, John T, Rick and John M….and our Host Scott
May we return with lots of stories and few mosquito bites.The group's origin is from a group of guys that are known loosely as FishHook of around 20 men, from associations from Long Beach, mostly from days of coaching and participating in Youth Sports with our sons and daughters in Little League, soccer and other high school activities. Now the men gather monthly at local watering holes to share outrageous fish stories. This is the equivilent of our wive's 'book club', except we don't pretend to be intellectual.
Supplementary Introductory Statement by John T.
The notion that eventually became our “Bike to the Border” was born when Dan, one of the founding members (and the most active sustaining member) of the Fish Hooks, learned of Jim Klobuchar’s bicycle tour from Scott Peterson, a fellow tournament lawn bowler who winters in Arizona, summers in Nevis (Minnesota), and had completed the ride in 2009. Upon retiring from LAUSD after nearly 40 years of teaching, Dan has discovered in lawn bowling the glory that had eluded him in college athletics. Dan's lawn bowling travels have included destinations in China, England, and Arizona, where he met Scott, also a retired life-time teacher.
After learning of the bike ride in northernmost Minnesota, and receiving a generous offer of transportation and accommodation from Scott, Dan return to Long Beach and somehow persuaded five of the weaker-minded sextogenarian (or in Bob's case very close) Fish Hook members to commit to riding bicycles 400 miles and sleeping on the ground for seven nights.
By way of background, the Fish Hooks are a motley collection of Long Beach men who became associated through our children, decided to match our wives’ book club with a social club of our own, and who for the past 11 years have been meeting approximately monthly to explore the seedy drinking establishments in the area and to see if we can make each other LOL. The group has nothing to do with either fishing or bicycling, and was supposed to be called the Swordfish (a tribute to the Marx Brothers, who in one movie used that term as a speakeasy password), but between our first two meetings Dan inadvertently renamed the group Fish Hooks, and that moniker has stuck.
Dan and Andy, the only retirees of our group, packed all of our tents and sleeping bags into Dan’s Honda Fit, racked their bikes to the back, and proceeded to meander eastward to Minnesota via numerous points of interest and beauty. The rest of us packed our duffels and flew to Bemidji (a town we had never previously heard of) via Minneapolis. Dan Scott picked us up at the airport and drove us to Scott and Dolora’s summer residence in a beautiful locale on Quail (?) Lake #8 near Nevis, where we were comfortably housed in his nephew’s bunkhouse next door until the ride began. During the two days before the ride Scott graciously introduced us to the beautiful Heartland Bicycle Trail, took us to the best restaurants in the area (as well as the giant mascot figures that quaintly grace many of the town centers in that area of the country), and (with Dolora) cooked us some wonderful meals, including a couple featuring croppie freshly caught from the lake by Scott.
After pitching our tents at the starting point of the ride at Black Duck High School, we learned from other riders that this was the 37th consecutive year of Jim Klobuchar’s bike tour of various routes in Minnesota, that some of the riders had never missed a ride, and that many others had been participating for years. We were surprised to discover that, contrary to our expectations, most of the approximately 140 riders were in our age group, some were considerably older (two were 80), and about half the riders were women. Although several married couples participated, most of the riders were married but participating solo.