Day 38: The Bunkhouse

I’m off bike trails and back on rural roads again. Seeing a lot of huge lawns being mowed on riding mowers… oh, right, today is Sunday. The days of the week have become irrelevant. The smell of freshly cut grass reminds me of my first paying jobs when I was twelve, cutting much smaller lawns for our neighbors in Connecticut on hot, sweltering summer days.

It’s another beautiful, sunny day with little climbing and I push for 100 miles so I can stop for the night at the “Adventure Bicyclist Bunkhouse” on Donn Olson’s Farm. This special place is almost exactly midway between Anacortes, Washington and Bar Harbor, Maine along the ACA Northern Tier route.

Donn and Sherry take the idea of “Minnesota nice” and crank it up to 11. They’ve been hosting 150-200 cross country cyclists a year since 2006, gradually converting an old barn into a haven for the weary traveler. I’m their 88th guest this year and the latest-ever arrival. It feels like a Darwin award but I’m going to wear it with pride. October 17 is the date to beat.

The latest incarnation of the bunkhouse has a new kitchen with two stocked refrigerators, heating and air conditioning, flush toilet, shower and enough space to accommodate the groups of 25-30 cyclists who come through a couple of times each year.

Donn is apologetic about the water being turned off due to the late season and impending frost warnings but I improvise a shower with my water bag and bake myself a pizza before calling it a night on a comfy cot.

In the morning, Donn comes over with a fresh pot of coffee and shares stories about past visitors. Mine is the first solar bike he has seen so I expect future visitors will hear about, “this one time a guy showed up on a solar contraption he had built.” He clearly enjoys meeting the parade of interesting characters who’ve come through over the years. I try to express my appreciation but it feels inadequate. Having signed his guestbook, I ride off to my next destination.

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