It was still wet when we woke. The road bridge, no more than 200 yards from the hotel, was barely visible through the torrential rain. Our bikes looked particularly miserable sitting on their own in a puddle at the end of the car park.

Brigid tried to ring her cousin, John Du Cane, who we were supposed to be meeting in St. Paul, but got an answer-machine.

We had to check out by 10am, and we watched unenthusiastically as other guests donned their wet weather gear and made a dash to their cars.

All we could do was to pack our gear and wait in the reception area for the rain to subside. When we did eventually get on the road, we opted to stick to the Minnesota side of the river, which has an equally scenic Great River Road into St. Paul.

The sun had come out by the time we arrived at the Best Western Kelly’s Inn. We quickly made arrangements to meet John DC for dinner, and had a bite to eat in the hotel’s sports bar, before putting our washing on.

John and his wife turned up to collect us for dinner at 6pm. (Embarrassingly our laundry was still in the drier, thanks to a faulty washing machine.) We hastily unloaded the still wet washing and headed off to a Thai restaurant near their home.

I suspect that the Thai food on offer was much more authentic than anything we were used to in London – which is usually fully described in English. Confident that we would like almost anything, we allowed the Du Canes to order for us. This proved to be a smart move until John (DC) mischievously suggested we try a few extra chillis … Still smoking from the chillis, we were invited over to their home for coffee, and spent the rest of the evening talking ‘fitness’.

Fitness is John’s business. He runs a publishing company specialising in fitness and alternative health books. His speciality is a series of books written with the help of a Russian athlete who has perfected an exercise regime using bell weights.

Brigid hoped that somewhere in his catalogue there might be an exercise regime suitable for us, as all these weeks of travel were beginning to take their toll on our waistlines (as you can see!). All over America, she had been looking for a copy of the Canadian Royal Air Force program: a 10-minute a day regime, requiring no special equipment.

It must have been after 11pm when we got back to the hotel. So we were surprised when the phone rang. John’s daughter had kindly run a search on the Internet, and found a second hand copy of the book on Amazon …