Donn Olson has been inviting touring cyclists to camp in his yard since 2005 when he helped two cyclist pushing their bikes through the deep sand of road construction. Every year he's added a new feature. This open-air bunkhouse has three private rooms, a refrigerator stocked with goodies for purchase (at cost, I'm sure, since the posted prices are so cheap), a microwave, and comfortable gathering area. By next summer there will be a washing machine also. Outside, there is an outhouse, shower, lawn space, and shed. In 2009, he had 25 guests altogether. This year he's already had 48. Last night was his biggest group ever: a group of 8 on an organized Adventure Cycling tour, a couple from San Francisco, and a solo rider.
Donn is also a wealth of information. He told us the Isanti County Fair in Cambridge had just started so camping at the fairgrounds might not work, or if it did, we'd have a noisy night. Since we had to ride farther than expected, the shortcuts Donn suggested were invaluable. Stay on SR 47 the east on SR 95 all the way to Taylors Falls. From a scenic lookout just before Taylors Falls, you can see the St Croix River.
Crossing the river. It was fun to fly down the hill to this bridge, but a steep climb on the other side.
Thanks to Donn, we saved 13 miles by NOT following the AC route and rode 67 miles to Interstate State Park in St Croix Falls. Whew!
Miles completed = 2411