This past week started out with unusually hot temperatures and high humidity. Everyone was staying inside and trying to keep cool in whatever way we could. After about four or five days of heat, a storm moved through with heavy rain and wind, followed by a cool front behind it. The next morning I was out for a walk in our neighborhood. The lighter, cooler, fresher air was a welcome relief. I walked over to Como Golf Course and spent a few minutes watching the sun clear the hills and trees. People were out and about walking their dogs, running, and bicycling. It was as if everyone was anxious to enjoy the cool of the morning and the promise of a new day. I turned a corner and found this cat precariously seated on the house railing – as if he too was enjoying the morning and waiting to welcome the sunrise.
The weather forecast last Saturday morning was for thunderstorms and one to two inches of rain; not what you want to hear when setting out on a two-day, 120-mile bike trip. As we were driving to our starting point the skies darkened, the clouds billowed and rolled, and we saw lightning around us. Soon the rain started. We arrived in Osakis, Minnesota planning to ride the Central Lakes Trail. The rain continued while we wandered the antique stores in town and enjoyed a leisurely brunch, all the while watching the radar. Finally the summer storm moved through the area and the rain stopped. We packed our lightly-loaded gear and started on the trail. The clouds kept the ride cool and the tail winds helped push us through the countryside. We marveled at the scenery of farmland, barns, lakes, marshlands, and prairie, not to mention the birds, deer, turkeys, and gophers. Sixty miles and hours later, we arrived at Fergus Falls. In dire need of a warm shower, liquids, and food, our motel with its bar and grill was the perfect answer. We enjoyed watching the Twins win their baseball game while outside another storm was moving through, with heavy downpours accompanied with lightning and thunder. Sunday dawned with cooler temps and sunshine, and our luck held as the winds had changed direction after the storm and would once again be at our backs for the return trip. We toured through Fergus Falls, stopping at the dam and falls in downtown and at the world’s largest otter, Otto (this is Otter Tail County, after all). Then it was another 60 mile ride back to our awaiting car. We arrived tired and sweaty, but found a perfect antidote with a dip in Lake Osakis and root beer floats at the Tip Top Dairy in town. We had weathered the weather, explored a new trail, enjoyed the scenery, and had a great adventure in a short 36-hours.