Dave Story: Boyhood Bicycle Trip
Dave Carlson - November 26, 2005
If I ever write an auto-biography, this story most likely will be there. It is a story about my life I thought you might find interesting. Many times when I tell my stories, people say, “You should write a book about that.” So, here’s a start…
1967 Minnesota -- When my friend, Lee and I started High School we decided we were ready for a bicycle trip from our hometown of Little Falls, Minnesota to Crow Wing Lake where his family had a cabin on the lake. The trip normally was only about 20 miles by car on the highway, but we decided it would be safer taking the back roads. The “safe” route was about 48 total miles.
We got up early one morning; packed everything we would need for the trip and started on our grand bicycle adventure. For people who ride bicycles all the time, 48 miles is not a great distance.But for two teenage boys who had never done such a thing before, it was a long trip.
Our first challenge came about five miles down the road. It was one of the biggest honkin’ hills we had ever seen. We knew the hill was there, because we had ridden in cars along the road. The concept of a big hill sternly crashed into the reality of pedal power! Since I’m the one writing this story, I’ll give us the benefit of a doubt and say we made it half way up the hill before resorting to pushing our two-wheeled conveyance. I think it took us about 20 minutes to reach the summit.
We both were ready for our first rest stop, 5 miles early. After recovering from the ordeal we hopped back on our bikes and held on for dear life as we flew down the other side of that hill. I don’t know how fast we were going, but Lee had a speedometer on his bike that went to 45 miles per hour. He said his speedometer maxed out less than halfway down the hill. I thought for sure the tires on my bike were going to explode.
The momentum of the trip down the hill carried us almost to the top of the next hill. We made a few more rest stops and took two diversion activities along the way (both were planned). The first activity was to swim in one of the flooded granite quarries along the way. Of course, the deep pools were posted as off limits because of the danger of falling rocks and hidden underwater obstacles, but we were young and foolish, so we swam in them anyway.
Our second break in the trip was a stop at Saint Mathias store, a small country general store, where we purchased and consumed more candy that any parent would allow a minor child. Hey! It was our trip and we did not have any parents around to tell us we could not eat the candy. However, our bodies quickly informed us in a manner neither of us could ignore.
We both developed severe stomach cramps about ten minutes after we resumed our trip. Thus, an unscheduled third activity added itself to our itinerary. (I’ll let your imagination fill in the details).
After a not-so-brief rest, we completed our trip without additional incident. We both ran straight for the cool water of the lake and jumped in to wash off the road grime and celebrate the successful completion of our first of many great travel adventures.