Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Riding to the Root: Mystery Cave is no longer a mystery

Blanche DuBois had a classic line in "Streetcar Named Desire":

"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."

That saying rang true today, when my planned detour to the Mystery Cave (added on about 15 miles to my trip) almost went to waste. I was biking east on Highway 16 between Spring Valley and Preston when I came across the road I needed to head south on to get to the park. As it turns out, it was gravel. And if that wasn't enough, according to a passing motorist, it was freshly-laid gravel (meaning it was even looser than normal). At that point, it also started to rain.

(this pretty much sums up my reaction to the situation)

Discouraged, I resigned myself to the notion that I might just have to bike to Preston without seeing Minnesota's largest cave. As much as I wanted to see the park, I wasn't going to bike on a gravel road for eight miles to get there. The chances of my bike getting through that without a flat tire were zilch.

So I pressed on toward Preston on Highway 16, reasoning that I would be able to spend more time on the Root River Trail instead. After all, that's the main reason I decided to take this trip in the first place.

However, about a mile down the road, the same motorist I had asked previously about the gravel road honked his horn at me and asked me if I wanted a ride to the cave entrance. He wasn't headed that way, but he said he thought my trip was "pretty badass" and he didn't want to see me not get to where I wanted to go on account of some unforeseen bad roads.

So after thanking him about a million times, I loaded my bike into his trunk and headed to the cave. As you can see from the photo, it was definitely worth the detour (fun fact: the cave is more than a mile long).

However, it wouldn't have possible without the kindness of a stranger.

Thanks man, you made my day.

As for my current location, I'm in Preston and am hoping to make it to Lanesboro in time to beat the rain and possibly grab some dinner.

On that note, see y'all later.

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