Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Preston, MN - Bluff Country 7/31/13 - 8/5/13

As we travel across the Midwest, one thing is always key, to approach each day leisurely.  There is no rush in the towns we have traveled and that is enjoyable.

The Bluff Country has Heritage Farms (passed through generations), bike trails galore, Amish areas and even caves.

First day here was the Mystery Cave tour.  The Mystery Cave is located in Forestville State Park.  The cave, spanning over 13 miles underground is the longest discovered cave in Minnesota.  Included within the cave were stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, fossils, and even a couple of underground pools.  Some of the fossils seen in the cave (sea type creatures)were over 4 million years old.  That is twice the age of the dinosaurs!  We toured with just 4 of us and a very informative guide.

We enjoyed our remaining 3 full days in Bluff Country riding some absolutely wonderful bike trails.....trails full of wildflowers, trees and occasional deer.  We visited many of the neighboring towns.  I think our favorite was Lanesboro and we will return.  We went to the Pedal Pusher café in Lanesboro twice.
The food was excellent.  Bob twice had the Buffalo burger with Cheddar and bacon and onion rings on top.  Teri had the Swedish meatballs first trip there and the PB and A burger the second time around (peanut butter, bacon and apple slices).  Excellent on all but would probably hold the apple slices on the PB and A on a return.  We also splurged on their sinful ice cream one of the days.

Two of the days we rode the Root River trail, a 60-mile paved trail network through trees, prairies and the surrounding bluffs.  This trail took us through many of the surrounding towns of Fountain, Harmony, Preston, Lanesboro, and Whalen.  Whalen has the distinction of being the home of the standstill parade.  The town is so small that each year in the one block stretch of downtown, they host a parade.  The parade, however, does not move.  The spectators instead walk around to view the parade from beginning to end.

We also rode the Shooting Star trail while here from Leroy to Taopi and back which took us through the Lake Louise State Park and also though huge fields of wild flowers.  After all the steep hills in CA we are finding it refreshing to ride more gradual climbs.  The weather was beautiful the entire time we were here.

Our last day in this area we rode back to Lanesboro to watch the local Buffalo Days parade. The parade had bands and barbershop singers as well as a good Elvis singer.  And where else would one find a buffalo walking in a parade?  All the parade participants threw candy to the kids and one could not help but get caught up in the excitement that we were surrounded by.

While there was lots of road construction, which made it difficult to get around, (remember the slowing down part) we had a great time riding some really beautiful trails and the weather was fantastic.

Heritage Farm
Amish Buggy
Soda Straw Formations in Mystery Cave
Flowstone in Mystery Cave
Water Pool in Mystery Cave
Don't even ask
Bob stops along the wild flowers
Fields of Wild Flowers
Canopies of Trees
A Working Wasp
Whalen the home of the stand still parade
The star of the Lanesboro Parade
The excitement of the kids

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