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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    nomadic
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    7

    Winter Touring in MN- cheap lodging suggestions?

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    Hey!
    Anyone know of any cheap lodging ideas in northern Minnesota?
    I am planning to cycle across MN, north to south, this winter, starting in International Falls and then going through the Twin Cities on my way to Ames, IA.
    I got all the gear and stuff, but I hear MN can get real cold at night this time of year and would prefer a shelter.
    Also, I'm looking for very cheap lodging. I'm grad student and don't got a lot of extra moneys. I'm planning to stay at synagogues when I travel south of the cities.
    Also also, safe lodging would be prefered. I'm going solo.
    Thanks!
    L
    2012 Specialized Dolce Sport
    2003 Specialized Hardrock

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    perpetual traveler
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    I am on the route down from I Falls but I bug out for winter. What are you going to do about snow and the risks of dangerous weather? When are you going? It is possible, you know, to have 40 below zero weather in January and February. You can have day after day of below zero weather. The 55 miles between I Falls and Orr is mighty desolate and Orr is tiny, not much choices in lodging.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 11-30-2012 at 06:21 PM.
    Trek Madone 4.7 WSD
    Cannondale Quick4
    1969 Schwinn Collegiate, original owner
    Terry Classic


    Richard Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    nomadic
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    7
    I plan to go end of December. Very good points, though. I'm not much into such cold and haven't cycled in it for more than couple days, just want to do it for the adventure. I am creating a list of hotels as fall backs.
    I wonder if route starting from Grand Portage would be bit less desolate?
    2012 Specialized Dolce Sport
    2003 Specialized Hardrock

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    perpetual traveler
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    This really is not the time of year for a Minnesota adventure, especially if you are not much into cold and snow.

    The route from the border to Grand Marais has been improved so there are shoulders and less traffic (but also less services) but from Grand Marais south to Two Harbors it is without shoulders for much of the way , though they have been working on road improvements and I did not go up the shore this summer beyond Two Harbors. There are some bike trails following the road for part of the way but they are unlikely to be plowed in winter. This is the only way up the shore so there is a lot of truck traffic, which I would find worrisome especially in the winter when shoulders may be not accessible or nonexistent.

    If you camp the state parks may be open on the route for winter camping but the water and electricity is off entirely so no showers and only pit toilets. You would have to bring quite a bit of equipment and appropriate clothing. Plowing of the camping areas may or may not be done. The sun will set before 4:30 and rise about 8:00 so your days are short. In northern Minnesota the average low temperature is below zero at the end of December and the high in the teens. The record low for I Falls in December is 42 below zero.

    I hate to be a party pooper but frankly I cannot imagine a bike trip in northern Minnesota that time of year. It is possible you would be fine (given the warmer winters of late and December is better than January or February) but it is also very possible that you could end up with bad weather that is dangerous and you face difficult routing choices.

    Today in Grand Marais it is 30 degrees, relatively warm for this time of the year, with ice crystals in the air. It is snowing in International Falls today. I just left Minnesota and am on my way south. There was about 8 inches of snow accumulation on the ground when I left.
    Trek Madone 4.7 WSD
    Cannondale Quick4
    1969 Schwinn Collegiate, original owner
    Terry Classic


    Richard Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    Quote Originally Posted by Lizzy View Post
    I plan to go end of December. Very good points, though. I'm not much into such cold and haven't cycled in it for more than couple days, just want to do it for the adventure. I am creating a list of hotels as fall backs.
    I wonder if route starting from Grand Portage would be bit less desolate?
    Sorry to wonder if you are serious but can't help but wonder. When you do decide to go for a tour, check out Warmshowers.org and Crazyguyonabike.com
    Sky King
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    662
    Have to agree with goldfinch. MN winters are nothing to take lightly. While we had a mild winter last year, you never know what to expect and the temp can and does get below zero for stretches at a time and this can and does hurt (frostbite) or even kill people. I am all for a grand winter touring adventure, but you may want to try something like this after you have done some winter touring in less potentially extreme conditions. It really is a matter of survival. I suggest trying this route in another season - autumn would be gorgeous.

    2001 Trek 7500 FX, converted to a hauler - Serfas
    200? Marin hybrid - Selle San Marco
    2004 Trek 5200 - Avatar
    2011 Trek 6.2 Madone - Ruby

 

 

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