MMM’s third in a series of Rides and Routes

Figure Eight
Where: Cannon Falls and Northfield, MN
Length: 96 miles
Duration: Minimum 2.5 hours

by Gus Breiland

HTR85Why do we ride? Is it the social aspect? How about getting away from the husband and kids? Could it be that your plumbing project has you stumped and you need to “clear your mind?”

Whatever the reason, we all like to find new paths and sometimes you come across them exploring that countryside or in this case, you can read about it today and plan a little trip for the weekend.

I am going to take you on a little tour of the countryside that I grew up on. I like to ride this figure 8 when I review motorcycles for the paper because it has a little bit of everything. The first leg will take you through some gentle sweepers to aggressive corners one after the other, up and down, side to side. The second half will take you through little farming communities while giving you a chance to just sit and ride.

Get your group together and meet up at Little Oscars in Hampton Minnesota. Hampton is about 45 minutes south of Minneapolis on 52 just north of Cannon Falls. Look for the Hampton silver water tower on the west side of the road. Little Oscars is on the east side with daily hours of 6am to 8pm. There is gas next door so everyone can top off.

Once you have swapped some lies over a cup of joe and a plate of hashbrowns head on out of Little Oscars parking lot south bound on Hwy 52. Head south towards Cannon Falls and take the Hwy 19 exit. Take a left and head east into town. Hwy 19 runs past a set of lights with a left and then a right that takes you out of town.

Follow Hwy 19 through the farm fields and state forest land of southeast Minnesota. Breath in and smell the manure and crops growing, Hwy 19 will take you up to Hwy 61. Take a left; you will be heading west up hill away from Red Wing. Get in the left lane and start looking for the church steeple.

Take a left onto County 7. Welcome to Welch Village road. What a wonderful road for tossing the bike back and forth. Stop in Welch and continue over the bridge; stay on 7, back and forth, up and down until you get to the little village of Vasa. Follow the truck route to Hwy 19. Once there, take a right on 19 and head back towards Cannon Falls. A little ways down the road you will come to County 8. Take a left on County 8 and enjoy the scenery.

While riding County 8 I counted 5 deer. Keep you eyes peeled, they’re gunnin for you. County 8 takes you into White Rock and then Belle Creek. Continue on until you get to County 9 and turn right. You are heading west now and will be for some time.

County 9 takes you through Sogn and up Sogn Hill. Keep heading down County 9 even when it turns into Hwy 246. 246 will take you into my hometown of Northfield. I want you to continue into downtown on Division Street. This is where the Jesse James Gang was defeated and you can get a great sandwich at Hogan Brothers. If you are looking for something a little lighter, Goodbye Blue Monday will sling a cup of coffee into your hand while you take a break before continuing on.

Head out of town on Division and then straight onto Hwy 19; there is a little jog in 19 in Stanton where people jump out of perfectly good airplanes and fly gliders from the local airfield. Stay on 19 and you will notice something, you’re heading right back into Cannon Falls and those beautiful roads that lie slightly beyond. What’s that I hear? Your wife’s tapping foot next to the lawn mower and hedge trimmer? Kind of makes you want to gas up and hit Welch Road just one more time before you head home, doesn’t it?

Ride along with our driving directions — it’s easy! The approximate odometer reading is printed after the written direction. Have fun!

• START: Little Oscars – Hampton Minnesota – West side of Highway 52 about 30 minutes south of Minneapolis St. Paul.
• Head South South Hwy 52 0.0
• Veer Right Exit Hwy 19 / Cannon Falls 8.3
• Left Hwy 19 East into Cannon Falls 8.3
• Left Hwy 19 East continued 9.3
• Right Hwy 19 East continued 9.5
• Left North 61 (West) 25.9
• Left County 7 (Look for the Church) 31.8
• Stop – Straight County 7 continued 34.3
• Stop – Right Norelius Rd – Truck Route 40.2
• Stop – Left 152nd Ave Way 40.4
• Stop – Right Highway 19 West 40.5
• Left County 8 South 47.3
• Stop – Right County 8 continued 54.1
• Left County 8 continued 54.4
• Stop – Right County 9 West 58.8
• Stop – Straight County 9 West – Cross Hwy 52 69.9
• Straight County 9 West changes to HWY 246 West 75.0
• Stop – Continue Hwy 246 into Northfield 80.7
• Stop – Straight Division street (Hwy 246 turns left) 81.3
• Main Street of Northfield
• Stop – Straight Division ends. Hwy 19 East 81.9
• Stop – Left Follow Hwy 19 (Hwy 56 North) 89.9
• Right Follow Hwy 19 East 91.0
• Hwy 19 / Hwy 52 intersection 96.1
• Gas – Oasis Market 96.3
• Gas up and Repeat


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