The 2022 Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour

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May 17, 2022, 6:06:26 PMMay 17

Finding the Way


The morning began clear and cool for the Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour and that made some of the Nutters suspicious. We seem to be a bit uncomfortable with pleasant surprises, situations or lucky outcomes since we all know the weather here in the upper reaches of the Louisiana Purchase can turn on a ha’penny. Against all logic and reason, we pressed on with our preparations, registrations, prizes and finally The Blessing of the Bicycles. As unlikely as it seems, all the fussing and milling about was gathered into a surge of riders rolling out in the general direction of Fort Clatsop.


Crossing the Mississippi was the first order of business and it was made easier with the new cycling path on the new bridge. Pressing on to Wisconsin Highway 35, most bypassed it and chose an alternate route over farm and field that was quite delightful and scenic that brought everyone straight into Bay City. Some paused here briefly but all would eventually face the stick-in-the-eye known as The Bay City Hill. A big one, this, and soul crushing as well; just as you think you are nearing the summit, nope, another half mile up to the next bend and then it’s still going up. The wildflowers are stunning through here but no-one can remember them since your vision fades in and out faster than your breathing.


A brief stop at Tabor Church provided abundant pats on the back to provide the gentle push to rocket down the backside of the SITE. Most are thankful that they installed those new expensive brake pads for this plummet until they realize the smoke trail behind them is all that is left of those previously mentioned expensive pads.


The new Loch Pepin roadside marker was the most photographed feature of the day and we were able to re-enact cherished images and traditions from years ago. Oddly enough, when some returned to the scene for another look, it had vanished without a trace.


The Smiling Pelican at Maiden Rock was next on the expedition route and it did not disappoint; treats of all descriptions that were artfully prepared and served in the delightful English garden. We always linger here while we contemplate a nap in the grass or another treat to fill the saddlebag since, buggers, it’s a long way to Stockholm.


A few minutes and another Scenic Overlook later we rolled into Stockholm for, wait for it, more snacks and treats.


Moving on, we rolled through Pepin, enjoyed a light tailwind across the doldrums (with raindrops) of the Chippewa River delta that pushed us to [Lord] Nelson for ice cream then over another new bridge into our overnight stop at Wabasha.


Brenda at Turning Waters had arranged a food truck feast for us and her Hoppy Girl Brewery made sure no-one was thirsty after a long day in the saddle.


A good night’s rest found us facing another suspiciously delightful day with good weather and once again, Brenda provided an excellent breakfast. Once underway, the lakeside rolling hills provided vistas of the full length of Loch Pepin that were unforgettable since the view was unobstructed and conditions were crystal clear.


Lake City was the next stop and the Brew-Up is always intricately planned and highly anticipated. The displays of food, artwork, English china, silverware, stoves, tablecloths and ground cloths are second-to-none and everyone is a winner here but Russell took home the main trophy with his display that included a 1920s Peter Pan victrola that was operational and merrily played away while his group enjoyed the picnic. We have another trophy this year; the “Palmer Cup” that was donated by John Palmer and according to John, the cup and saucer was nicked out the basement kitchen at Buckingham Palace without knowledge of The Queen. Tim and Jo took this one home.


Pressing on to Old Frontenac, we gathered at the Civil War era Old Stone Wall for a bit of socializing and photographing while some pulled out their Dr. Grabows and lit a bowl. Eventually, everyone went silent and stared at their shoes while they pushed bits of gravel here and there. Nobody could say it, but, there comes a time in every expedition when you have to march on.


Red Wing was our own personal Fort Clatsop and some took the pass-storming route up and over Hill Avenue while some chose the vistas of Ski Road and others went to New Frontenac for a beverage. No matter your choice, it’s all a ploy to delay the inevitable; the end of another Tour as we rolled into Red Wing.


Others have come before us wanting to see the lay of the land, plat the rivers or find the elusive Northwest Passage. This is nothing new. Lewis and Clark for example, relied on their own resourcefulness, kindness of others and a healthy dose of adventure to arrive at Fort Clatsop on the Pacific Ocean. Our Pepin expeditions are the same; we search for scenic paths, dramatic vistas and, of course, a chosen path through life simply to see what is out there. All made possible courtesy of your Trusty Steed; the ‘umble 3-speed bicycle.


Best along the Path,
Jon Sharratt, Shirt-Tail Organiser

Ride report and photos:
Use the little pull-down menu to view reports and photos from past years.

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