The William Dodd Road Ramble traces parts of the original wagon road from St. Paul to St. Peter, built by Captain William Bigelow Dodd in 1853. For some background on this notable Minnesotan and his road, check this YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ri44LnMyf9c.
Our brevet route focuses on the sections of Dodd Road still remaining from Apple Valley to near Le Center, all on paved roads. Dodd Road was an important transportation link between St. Paul and St. Peter, particularly during the winter and spring when the Minnesota River was frozen or impassable. It was used for freight for less than 20 years until the railroads were built along the Minnesota River Valley. The Jesse James-Younger gang used this road to escape after the famous Northfield bank robbery in 1876.
This route is generally rolling with lots of lakes, farms and fields. As you ride along, try to imagine how Dodd and his crew of 10 men and horses were able to build a 75 mile useable wagon trail in 109 days. In general, he tried to stay on the ridges to ensure a solid track for the wagons, but had to hack through several forests and stay away from low marshy areas. Dodd only lived a few more years, before becoming a casualty of the early stages of the Sioux Uprising in 1862.
This route has been updated for 2022 to utilize some newly discovered good roads that will expand the view the rider will see. The area NW of Faribault is a mini Lake Country, with numerous small lakes, cabins, some resorts, farms and really nice roads.
This ride has some really good control stops with several options for healthy (or not) foods and beverages.
Lonsdale (mile 28 and 98) is attached to Mackenthun's Fine Foods which has a deli and full produce and other grocery items. There is also a Subway across the parking lot.
Faribault (mile 48) is the HyVee C-store, which is adequate, but a full HyVee is next door and there is a Subway a few stores back up the frontage road.
Le Center (mile 76) is a Casey's which is adequate.
Apple Valley Start/Finish In addition to the 7/24 Perkins restaurant there are numerous other fast food options within easy reach. Rando beverages are probably best served after the ride at Castus Jacks, kitty corner from the Perkins on Cedar Ave/CR-42.
For more background on the William Dodd Road from the Minnesota Historical Society go to:
William Dodd Road History