HENNEPIN CANAL TRAIL
Day 2 - 46 miles
After an excellent continental breakfast at the Super 8, I headed direct to the canal heading east.
Lock 23 between Atkinson and Annawan.
Day use area at Lock 23
I pulled off the trail at Annawan, probably the closest town to the trail between Colona and Bureau Junction, and had lunch at the Purple Onion. Another small town cafe I can recommend.
Between Annawan and Mineral. For several miles the trail became packed pea gravel on crushed limestone, but still very rideable.
The confluence of the main and feeder canals opens into a lake.
A private dock between the confluence and visitor center.
Bridge 15 crossing the canal towards the visitor center. There were no signs; but it was pretty obvious that taking a left at the road in the background would take one to the center.
I soon found the visitor center where exhibits describe the history of the canal. But my main objective was to find the easiest way to get onto Ill 40 and across the Interstate to the Sheffield Inn, my destination for the night. The choices were head south out of the visitor center grounds, turn left, and then left onto Ill 40, or head east on the trail and hope there was access to 40 from the trail. Since the latter was 1.5 miles shorter, I gave it a try. It required pushing my bike up a short, steep embankment and climbing over a railing, but doable.First Previous Next Last
From there it was a only short way to the Sheffield Inn. Although the interstate exit seemed to have seen better days - several abandoned businesses, the motel itself was fine. The problem was that the restaurant in the same building was one of the closed businesses, although it did have a "opening soon" sign, which didn't help me. The choices were a pizza place in Sheffield, 5 miles away, which delivered, or a sub shop in a gas station 5 miles north on Ill 40. I opted for the latter. On the way I detoured into the small town of Manius, which had two primitive bars, but no food. So I got in 12 extra miles for a total of 46 for the day.