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#3867464 - 09/27/15 08:52 PM cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
I guess the title says it all ... around Lake Bemidji the first evening, then down to Baxter, and back to Bemidji over four days last week. What a great facility! Beautiful state, friendly people, and good food.

With side trips & detours, racked up 377 km (about 230 miles). Rode my '02 Rocky Mountain Fusion MB to match my wife's Giant Iguana MB. Youngest son rode his custom single-speed 29er that big brother had built for him.

Wish I could have brought back the the '70 Pontiac Catalina I saw for sale in Jenkins. Wouldn't have fit in the panniers ...

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#4110113 - 05/29/16 10:46 PM Re: cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota [Re: Number_35]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
Did the same trip with my wife this past week. It was quite different in May vs. our previous trip last September.

Rode the same mountain bikes as in my original post, and put on 369 km.

Just the one flat tire, and surprisingly it was a front one.

Beautiful state with lots of good people. Great pizza @ Ole & Lena's Sweet Revenge in Pine River.

The Pontiac was gone, but this time we saw a '72 Mustang for sale.

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#4128184 - 06/18/16 10:32 PM Re: cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota [Re: Number_35]
Cressida Offline


Registered: 10/16/02
Posts: 480
Loc: Joplin
Originally Posted By: Number_35
I guess the title says it all ... around Lake Bemidji the first evening, then down to Baxter, and back to Bemidji over four days last week. What a great facility! Beautiful state, friendly people, and good food.

With side trips & detours, racked up 377 km (about 230 miles). ...


Can you please post a bit more details about the route? What locations did you spend the night at and recommendations for overnight?

That is a trail that I hope to do in the future.

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#4129272 - 06/19/16 09:58 PM Re: cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota [Re: Cressida]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
[/quote]Can you please post a bit more details about the route? What locations did you spend the night at and recommendations for overnight?

That is a trail that I hope to do in the future. [/quote]Glad to! We started and finished in Bemidji, and stayed at the AmericInn. Nice clean rooms, and they let us keep the bikes in the room and our van in their parking lot while we were cycling.

The trail is about 100 - 110 miles long, depending on whether you take the Heartland connector or the shorter Shigobee bypass. Therefore, if you're doing the one-way trip in two days, it makes sense to stay in Hackensack. However, accommodations in Hackensack are quite spartan. There's the Owl's Nest Motel which is pretty basic but clean and functional. We stayed there in September but for our more recent trip in May tried the little lake front cottages. These were even more rustic albeit quite expensive for what you got. (This is not meant as criticism - there was a loft with extra beds, and for a large family or a group of fishermen it would have been pretty economical.)

We cycled around Lake Bemidji the first evening and then to Hackensack the 2nd day. An alternative would have been to cycle around the lake and then only to Walker for the 1st day, and then to do a longer day to Baxter the 2nd day. We stayed in The Country Inn in Walker on the return trip and loved it.

We stayed in the Comfort Suites in Baxter (only a mile or so off the Paul Bunyan Trail) and found it very good as well.

Restaurants we particularly enjoyed:

Zona Rosa (Mexican) in Walker

Prairie Bay (wood-fired pizza) in Baxter

Ole & Lena's Sweet Revenge (nostalgia-themed diner) in Pine River - superb pizza! Incredible desserts!

Viddles & Joe (hearty breakfasts) in Hackensack

Birchwood Char House & Bar (hearty suppers) in Hackensack

I hope you have the chance to do this! It's a great experience and I hope to be back.

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#4129352 - 06/19/16 11:48 PM Re: cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota [Re: Number_35]
Cressida Offline


Registered: 10/16/02
Posts: 480
Loc: Joplin
It looks like your route had some similarity to this current MN tour that I had looked at a few months ago but my schedule didn't work.

http://www.tourofminnesota.com/route.html

I've never been north of Minneapolis so this could quite interesting country to explore.

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#4129505 - 06/20/16 07:15 AM Re: cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota [Re: Cressida]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
That is great value! As part of the tour you get to cycle part of the Heartland Trail, which we'd like to do someday but haven't yet.

We found the Paul Bunyan an excellent trail to do a self-supported ride on. Of course I carry tools, and we did have one flat this past time.

I should have mentioned that there's a great bike shop just S of Jenkins - Crow Wing Cycleworks - lots of good merchandise at good prices, a manager (Tom) who's a really good person with a fascinating life story, and an array of self-serve tools.

I hope you do get to cycle this, and have a great time.

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#4557781 - 10/28/17 09:17 PM Re: cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota [Re: Number_35]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
Well, we did it again a month ago, with a few changes from our first two trips. Day 1, in the rain, around Lake Bemidji and then down to Walker. Day 2, we took the Heartland Trail W to Park Rapids and back to Walker. Day 3, S to Pequot Lakes. Day 4, N back to Walker. Day 5, back to Bemidji. Stunning fall colours, great people, good food ... it was a wonderful trip. About 360 km overall. We particularly enjoyed meeting 'The Madd Trapper' (Dave Belair) and his wife in Zappy's Cafe in Akely, and then a day later in Pine River.

We still need to check out the NE branch of the Heartland Trail, and to take the PB extension from Baxter/Brainerd down to the Crow Wing state park.

Highly recommended!

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#4690020 - 03/09/18 09:00 PM Re: cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota [Re: Number_35]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
Some photos:

Day 1 - Evening ride around Lake Bemidji, September 2015





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#4691901 - 03/11/18 08:39 PM Re: cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota [Re: Number_35]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
A few more shots - here's Bemidji to Hackensack, September 2015:





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#4691907 - 03/11/18 08:46 PM Re: cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota [Re: Number_35]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
And here's Walker back to Hackensack, also September 2015:




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#4691915 - 03/11/18 08:58 PM Re: cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota [Re: Number_35]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
Hackensack back to Bemidji, September 2015. The first part of the ride, to Walker, was quite misty:






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#4692636 - 03/12/18 04:41 PM Re: cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota [Re: Number_35]
Cressida Offline


Registered: 10/16/02
Posts: 480
Loc: Joplin
Looks like another great time.

If you are from the area, what can you tell us about this upcoming tour and route?

http://www.tourofminnesota.com/home.html

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#4692736 - 03/12/18 06:32 PM Re: cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota [Re: Cressida]
DangerousDan Offline


Registered: 06/20/13
Posts: 29
Loc: Fargo, ND
I have never ridden that ride, but the area is beautiful. Part is out on the prairies and will be fairly flat. Lots of corn and beans out there. Part is through the lakes country and it is always beautiful. Still a lot of corn and beans. You have to look for steep hills in that part of Minnesota, but not a flat as here in North Dakota. Do wear mosquito repellent or you will be eaten for lunch when you stop.
_________________________
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#4692811 - 03/12/18 07:14 PM Re: cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota [Re: Cressida]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
Originally Posted By: Cressida
Looks like another great time.

If you are from the area, what can you tell us about this upcoming tour and route?

http://www.tourofminnesota.com/home.html
That looks like a great deal! (But at this point I'm too old to pack a tent and sleep on the ground.) Formerly the 'Klobuchar Ride', I'm guessing it was likely initiated or popularized by Jim Klobuchar, Minnesota author and newspaper columnist in the Twin Cities. (Minneapolis Tribune?) A couple of friends here are Vikings fans, and back in late-80s one of them lent me Klobuchar's book about Fran Tarkenton. It was a good read. I ran the Twin Cities marathon a couple of times, and enjoyed reading Klobuchar's column when down there. This was all pre-internet when it was harder to get out-of-town news.

We're not from the area, but I read about the Paul Bunyan Trail in our local broadsheet, in an article lamenting the lack of similar trails here. It's only a half-day drive from Winnipeg to Bemidji, so it's not hard to get there.

The 'Tour of Minnesota/Klobuchar Bike Ride' looks to take place in part on the Central Lakes State Trail (Fergus Falls to Alexandria). We hope to ride it, and the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail, this summer.

http://www.centrallakestrail.com/

https://lakewobegontrail.com/

From what I can see on the 'net, the Tour of Minnesota looks excellent - if you can, go for it, and please let us know how it was.

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#4692825 - 03/12/18 07:21 PM Re: cycled the Paul Bunyan trail in Minnesota [Re: DangerousDan]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
Originally Posted By: DangerousDan
I have never ridden that ride, but the area is beautiful. Part is out on the prairies and will be fairly flat. Lots of corn and beans out there. Part is through the lakes country and it is always beautiful. Still a lot of corn and beans. You have to look for steep hills in that part of Minnesota, but not a flat as here in North Dakota. Do wear mosquito repellent or you will be eaten for lunch when you stop.
Dangerous Dan, most of the BP and Heartland Trails are rail-to-trail conversions, and so are quite flat. The exception is the bypass around Walker, which features some very steep hills. The alternative, which runs from S of Walker to Walker, is the Shingobee Connection Trail, which also features some good climbs. We've ridden the PB once in late May and twice in late September, and weren't bothered by mosquitoes. Perhaps it was too early or late in the season for them. Agreed, they do exist in northern Minnesota - we camped @ Lake Bemidji State Park in '98 and visited Itasca State Park, and were nearly eaten alive. It reminded me of home.

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