Make America Bike Again – Day 40
“You’re going to get wet out there if you leave today!”
It is the lighthearted voice of Donn Olsen, a cheerful generous man and the owner/operator of the Bicycle Bunkhouse. It’s early morning. Grey billowing clouds fill the sky and the sun, nowhere to be seen.
We’re seating at the table in this remarkably dry and cozy space. There’s a hot shower, a fully stock kitchen, and plenty of cots for any number of sleeping cyclists. Donn likes large groups.
So much to be thankful for.
His farm lies along the Northern Tier bicycle trail (Adventure Cycling Association,) just outside of Dalbo, Minnesota. Donn was born there. And, he returned here after his service in the military. His is the signature bicycle hostel, offering bunks, a stocked kitchen, and a hot shower to anyone who can pedal there. Guests are expected to share the accommodations. He only charges for the food and snacks used. Donations accepted. Among the bicycle touring community, his hospitality is legend.
To do the Bicycle Bunkhouse justice, here’s what his renovated barn looks like when the sun is shining.
In response to Donn’s warning, Robert explains our situation and the looming deadline of Friday’s flight back to Denver. They talk about the options. Our host advises us to go off the Northern Tier route. He produces a different map to explain the difference. His suggestion would cut the distance to the airport in half, an easy day’s ride away.
This continuing appearance of trail angels is one of great and unexpected luxuries of travel, balanced astride a bicycle seat. The encounters can become moments of great satisfaction and happiness. In all my years of city life, there is nothing to compare.
Thank you, Donn for your gifts.