Big Ride Update: Day 27 & 28
Saturday we had a rest day in New Ulm, that German-founded “town of charm and tradition” in southern Minnesota; and Sunday we rode 72 miles through farm country and various towns to Owatonna or “O-town” a city in Steele County with significant manufacturing, insurance and historical buildings that include the Minnesota State School for Dependent and Neglected Children and Louis Sullivan’s beautiful National Farmer’s Bank. We are camping at the Steele County Fairgrounds, site of the largest free fair in Minnesota.
One of several bookstores on Minnesota Avenue in New Ulm.
The Hermann Monument, also know as Hermann the German, is on a hill overlooking New Ulm and the Minnesota River valley. It commemorates Hermann’s uniting of Germanic tribes to defeat the Romans in 9 AD.
The entrance to Martin Luther College, where we are staying in New Ulm. It is a college of ministry operated by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
The copper kettle at the Schell Brewing Company in New Ulm, the second oldest family brewery in the country.
Big Rider Tod lines up half a dozen different bottles from the Schell Brewing Company that we got to sample on our tour.
View from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway as we ride from New Ulm to Owatonna. The highway, part of US Highway 14, connects places that relate to the life of author Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote Little House on the Prairie.
Crossing the Minnesota River as we enter Mankato
A farm near Janesville
A Dakota Minnesota and Eastern railroad car as we enter Waseca
Loon Lake, one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. Several Big Riders jumped in to cool off.
As they enter Owatonna, the Big Riders find paradise: an ice cream store that shares ownership with the bicycle store. So they gorge on milk shakes and ice cream floats in the shade at the “S’Cream”–“the Betty” stands for a female cyclist–before picking up new chains, tires and other biking paraphernalia at the Straight River Sports and Fitness.
The ice cream store proprietor, Julie, let’s the world know how she feels about the Big Ride in big, bold white chalk
The bike store owner, Anne, opens up her shop on a Sunday to let the Big Riders pick up bike supplies.
The front of the National Farmer’s Bank, Louis Sullivan’s glorious 1908 arch-within-a-square design that is an exemplar of the Prairie School of Architecture. Today it houses a branch of Wells Fargo and is a National Historic Landmark.
Gene, officially the Big Ride mechanic–one of only three support staff, along with Charlton and Lynn–but also an all-purpose problem-solver,reclines on a bench at the end of the day’s ride. Today was his birthday. Happy Birthday, Gene!