Ride to Lanesboro
The International Motorcycle Show is coming to Minneapolis next weekend. Can spring be far behind?
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a concert in Lanesboro, Minnesota, and decided to book a stay at Iron Horse Inn and Outfitters. The Iron Horse is the newest place to stay in what is known as the “bed and breakfast capital of Minnesota”. A nod to Lanesboro’s railroading past, it’s specifically geared to motorcyclists.
Downstairs, Pat Shanahan has filled his old storefront on the corner of Coffee Street and Parkway Avenue with custom bikes and motorclothes. Upstairs, he’s built a beautiful four-bedroom inn. Each room has a comfy king-size bed, a shower, flat-screen TV, mini fridge and microwave. One room also features a loft. A large room facing the corner is the Gathering Place, where groups can chill out after a long ride. There’s a coffee maker and a big refrigerator where you can store your beer. Just down the hall, there’s a washer and dryer. Biker nirvana!
In keeping with the “iron horse” theme, the walls are decorated with old railroad photos. The handles on the kitchen cupboards are made from old railroad spikes, and pressed tin ceiling tiles have been used to decorate the headboards.
Of course, “iron horse” also refers to motorcycles! In the store, you’ll find jackets, belts, gloves, head wraps and Iron Horse t-shirts. (And maybe even a copy of Ride Minnesota or Ride Lake Superior!)
If you’re out riding Minnesota this summer, visit Lanesboro. If you’d like to stay at the Iron Horse, book well in advance. Lanesboro, about 45 minutes south of Rochester, is one busy little town!
The Call of the Wild
It was well past sunset, about 8:30 p.m., and the temperature hovered around 30 degrees. But that didn’t stop one adventurous biker from riding his motorcycle past our house Saturday night. If there’s a “call of the wild” for bikers, it’s the distinctive rumble of a motorcycle engine. I expect we’ll hear many more “calls” this week as winter releases its icy hold on the land and on our psyches. I’m looking forward to it.
I had the chance to run down to Lanesboro, Minnesota, last week and deliver copies of Ride Minnesota to Pat Shanahan, who will open his new motorcycle shop/hotel in May. Iron Horse Outfitters & Inn will be a place to buy and sell used motorcycle gear, purchase new stuff, and even some very special one-off motorcycles. A four-room inn is under construction above the store, and it will cater to bikers. Pat’s operation will be a great addition to Lanesboro, and a wonderful place to kick back after a day of riding. If you haven’t traveled the hills and curves of Fillmore and Houston Counties, you’re in for a treat. Southeastern Minnesota has some of the best motorcycle routes in the state. I describe some of them in Ride Minnesota, and I hope to ride a few more this year.
Another area worthy of attention is up around Ely. Folks in the Iron Range are working hard to promote motorcycle tourism in their area. The Minnesota Arrowhead Association has produced a map called “Ride the Arrowhead” that shows paved scenic motorcycle routes in Northeastern Minnesota. Ralph and I are going to try to ride some of these routes this year. You can download the map at Explore Minnesota. If you do ride to Ely, be sure to check out the International Wolf Center on the north side of town. It’s a great way to get in touch with your “wild” side, and your visit helps fund the study and preservation of wolves.
Get out and RIDE Minnesota!