Day 1 - Monday, 5/19/97, 6:55pm
St. Paul, MN - Somerset, WI
33.79 Miles; 4 hours, 31 minutes
On-bike time: 2 hours, 54 minutes
Avg speed: 11.62 mph
Max speed: 32.4 mph

Picture 1: Trish at the beginning of the Gateway trail
Picture 2: Dave at the beginning of the trail
Picture 3: Trish on the trail
Picture 4: The bike
Picture 5: Ben on the Trail
Picture 6: Angry skies over the Gateway trail
Picture 7: Pond on the Gateway trail
Picture 8: End of Gateway trail rest area
Picture 9: Gas station at Stillwater
Picture 10: Climbing out of the St. Croix river valley into Wisconsin
Picture 11: Trish making dinner
Picture 12: Coleman's Constellation tent
Picture 13: Bike and trailer
Picture 14: Intel laptop and Casio Cassiopeia

Trish at the start of the Gateway TrailDave Krafft at the start of the Gateway Trail

At around 10:45 am, Trish and Dave Krafft and I finally got our recumbent and Burley trailer into his van. We drove from St. Louis Park over to the beginning of the Gateway trail in St. Paul.

The gateway trail is an 18 mile long bike and walking trail that begins near the capital building in St. Paul and ends near the Minnesota/Wisconsin border. It took us about 2 hours to ride to the end of the Gateway trail. The trail becomes more and more scenic as it leaves the St. Paul metro area and goes into rural country. The trail passes by over a dozen small lakes, where water fowl and other plants and animals abound. Near the route, there is even a Geodesic dome house! Trish and I had ridden the Gateway before, so we weren't all that excited by it. Nonetheless, it is a wonderful riding experience.

All during the Gateway ride, the weather kept changing from sunny to downpour and back again.

Upon reaching the end of the Gateway trail, we turned south towards the town of Stillwater. It took us about half an hour to get there. We stopped at a gas station and bought a better map of Wisconsin. From the bluff, we rode down into downtown, where we crossed into Wisconsin on highway 35. The going up the other side was just as steep as coming down into Stillwater, and we had to walk the bike for quite a ways.

Riding on Highway 35 was a pretty scary experience. People in Kansas were much nicer than Wisconsin drivers. We got honked at several times. After 8 miles of crippling uphills and downhills, we reached Somerset. We rode through the little town (population 1070), and found a campground to stay at. Actually, the campground doesn't open until Friday, but the kind owner allowed us in early. the campground is right on the Apple River, famous for its "tubing." We're staying right on the river, the only tenants in a 300 site campground.

We're using many things for the first time on this trip. I just managed to install the new components Shimano sent us. We've got a new front and rear derailleur, as well as brake handles and V-brakes. The Shimano V-brakes work great, allowing us to stop almost instantly. They are so powerful that we can actually make the front wheel skid when we're both on the bike!

Another new piece of equipment is the Coleman Constellation tent. The Constellation is a 4 season, 3 person tent. It has a number of great features, like a front vestibule, in addition to being very well made. We're also using Coleman's Bike Bags, sleeping bags which are extremely light and compact, with a comfort rating of 32 degrees. It should get nearly that cold tonight, so we'll see how well they perform.

Another piece of equipment we have along on the trip is the Casio Cassiopeia. It's a handheld computer which can, among other things, allow the user to retreive E-mail and surf the web. What were using it for on this trip, though, is to type up the text for the web pages, saving the Laptop's battery power to manipulate the image and compose the webpage layout.


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