Day 39: Walker to Lake Itasca, MN

I suppose if I'm honest with myself I have to admit that along the way of planning for, and then actually riding, Tom's Big Ride there have been some niggling doubts about whether we would be able to accomplish this feat in the time we had allotted for it.  What if my back started to bother me?  What if someone had a serious accident or got sick?  What if we got socked in ... [Continue Reading]

Day 38: Brainerd/Baxter to Walker MN

I love riding my bike.  I love riding my bike on the Paul Bunyan Trail in northern Minnesota.  I love riding with friends...and today I got to do all three...at once.  As I've said before, I'm a blessed man! We set a leisurely departure time from the beautiful Arrowwood Lodge in Baxter of about 9:00 AM knowing that we had fewer than 60 miles ahead of us today, and ... [Continue Reading]

Day 37: St. Cloud to Brainerd/Baxter, MN

Once again, we were blessed today with a day that felt so much more like mid-September than mid-August...low temperatures, clear blue skies, low humidity, and just a hint of a breeze as we pulled out of the Kelly Inn in St. Cloud, where we stayed last night, at a leisurely 8:15 AM start time.  We headed north through Sauk Rapids and Sartell, communities that I have seen ... [Continue Reading]

Day 36: Minnehaha Park to St. Cloud, MN

If we were concerned about a letdown for these last four days of Tom's Big Ride after Friday's joyful and emotional homecoming at Minnehaha Park, we shouldn't have been.  After a relaxing and restful weekend in our own beds (well, except for Bob) we were ready to go by about 7:00 AM this morning at the same place the ride left off on Friday.  This morning we were joined by ... [Continue Reading]

Day 33: Red Wing to Minnehaha Falls

Everybody has days in their life that stand out more than others for positive reasons...marriage, a job promotion, an epic vacation, the birth of a child or grandchild...and I am no different.  I have all of those, fortunately, but today I gained another day that will forever be etched in my memory. We were joined last night by even more riders for the second day of ... [Continue Reading]

Day 32: Winona to Red Wing, MN

Today felt different.  Not only was it the first day that we started riding in our own great state of Minnesota, but it was also the first day that we had more than one additional rider join us...in fact, we had many!  Barb Lindberg, Connie Johnson, Brian Knapp, Tom Trutna, Dave Engel, Phil Bruneau, and Tom Schmidt all came down to Winona to ride the two day Stage 6 that ... [Continue Reading]

Day 30: Lansing, IA to Winona MN

A couple months ago I was contacted by a representative from the Family and Children's Center in La Crosse, who had seen a Facebook post about Tom's Big Ride and inquired about whether we would be interested in a small deviation from our route to cross over to the Wisconsin side of the river to meet them and some of the local media.  We are always interested in ... [Continue Reading]

Day 29: Guttenberg to Lansing, IA

There was no breakfast available at the Landing, so we pedaled to a small local restaurant called Rausch's Petroleum and Restaurant (no kidding!) for something to eat before attempting to conquer the monster hill that waited for us north of town.  I had decided to wear my Golden Gopher kit today since it was our last full day in Iowa, knowing full well that it would likely ... [Continue Reading]

Day 28: Bellevue to Guttenberg, IA

The dreaded day arrived. Just as a trip to the dentist to remove a tooth or to the doctor for an annual physical are dreaded, so too was today…the day we really started hitting the hills of eastern Iowa. We’ve been talking about it for four weeks now, so it certainly wasn’t a surprise, and I suppose in some way we were also happy to finally have them in front of us so that ... [Continue Reading]

Day 27: Davenport to Bellevue, IA

We welcomed Andy Lewis as our fifth rider for Stage 5 and his dad Dave as our support vehicle driver for Stages 5 & 6 this morning as we headed out from Davenport after two days of rest. For the rest of us, we also welcomed something else we hadn’t experienced in the last four weeks…morning temperatures in the 50’s! We pedaled about five miles down the hill from ... [Continue Reading]