Days are far longer up north than we are used to, and, even getting up at 6am, the sun was already high in the sky. We broke camp quickly and got out early, letting us finish 50 miles before noon, which was a first for our trip. We passed through Redwing, MN, the hometown of the famous Redwing bootmakers, and took pictures with the (Guinness-certified) largest boot in the world. That morning also gave us another unexpected sight: in the midst of Minnesota farmland we saw a Cambodian Buddhist temple under construction.
The main thing we were looking forward to was getting to Chanhassen, a suburb of the twin cities where Keene spent a fond portion of his youth. We would be staying with friends of his family whom he hadn’t seen in seven years, and we were all excited for the reunion.
Only miles from Chanhassen, we were forced to take a detour to avoid roadwork. In order to keep our mileage manageable, we decided to try to find a shortcut using Google Bikes. This app is, we are constantly reminded, still in beta (and seems to have been for as long as we can remember). This means that the routes that it directs you towards aren’t necessarily easily completed. We first ran into this issue in Pittsburgh, where it took us up an obviously condemned road at a 45° angle, and have, by this time, figured out that each time we use it we’ll probably get a good story out of the experience. To get around the detour, Google Bikes decided that our road bike were completely suitable for a hiking trail through a neighborhood park. We ended up just walking our bikes through (and up stairs) and finally arrived at our hosts’ house, where we were greeted very warmly by Keene’s friends.
We ate a hearty dinner and spent the evening talking and walking around the neighborhood, meeting old playmates and exploring old stomping grounds. It was really nice to meet such friendly and welcoming people and see Keene reconnect with them, as well as getting to look through a window into his childhood.