Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Just Needed a Deck of Cards and Someone to Play With

For today's ramble around Minneapolis, I set out for Lake Hiawatha. Since it is right next to Lake Nokomis, I knew the way. Lake Hiawatha doesn't have a path that goes all the way around it, but that's not why I was going there. I'd seen on Facebook that there was a Cribbage Board made from a downed tree somewhere on the banks of Lake Hiawatha. I wanted to go see it for myself. I used to play with my dad when I was a kid.  I was riding along the West River Parkway when I saw a bunch of kids running and squealing at the Minnehaha Academy (Lower and Middle School campus). It appeared they were chasing something. Then I saw this poor turkey running helter skelter to get away from the kids. It reached the road, but everytime it started to cross the road, a car would come, and it would run back. Finally the teacher called off the kids. Once again the turkey tried to cross the road (why? To get away from the monsters, of course!). This time there were no cars coming. I stopped so it wouldn't think I was going to run it over. It came across the road, and started walking toward me on the bike path. I stood still, and took this photo.
Whew! Made it across the road!
I got to the lake and could see the pile of debris from the tree. I rode down the path a bit until I came to the Cribbage Log.
Cribbage Board Log
Another angle
Since it was just 7 1/2 miles there, I decided to continue on the Minnehaha Trail past Lake Nokomis. I wanted to see where the trail ended. I came to what appeared to be the end, and did a short bit on the road to come out to...Lake Harriet! I had planned to just go back on Minnehaha, but now I had the option to go back on the Midtown Greenway and make a loop of it! 
Midtown Greenway
I came back the way I did the other day, only this time I followed the signs to the Dinkytown Greenway. I discovered, when coming from that direction, it is a better way to go to get to the bridge over the river than going down to the West River Parkway, then coming back up to the bridge.  So, although I didn't have any cards, or anyone to play with (and...I don't really remember how to play), I did see what might be the world's largest Cribbage Board. As a bonus, I saw a turkey and got to do a loop ride instead of an out and back!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Circumnavigating Four Lakes in One Ride

They don't call Minnesota the land of 10,000 lakes for nothing! Today I managed to circumnavigate four of them in one ride. It wasn't even that long of a ride (relatively speaking, it was my longest ride in Minneapolis, but still only 31 miles).  Once again I was primarily on separated bike paths. I returned to the Hiawatha Trail and the Midtown Greenway. The Midtown Greenway took me all the way out to the lakes. Funny thing, I was riding along, and things started to look familiar. Somehow when I was riding to REI, I had ended up on this one particular section of the Midtown Greenway. It took me awhile to remember how I had ended up there before!  I had made a plan of how to go around each lake with a minimum of backtracking. First up was Cedar Lake. I think it was the smallest of the lakes.
Cedar Lake from one of the fishing docks
Curiously, on part of the lake path, there were three seperate trails--one for one direction of bike riders, one for the other direction, and one for pedestrians. This was the only lake, of the four, to have two-way paths to go around. The other three had one-way clockwise directions. After finishing the Cedar Lake loop, returning to where I started, I rode back along the Midtown Greenway a short distance to the Lake of the Isles path. 
The Isles of Lake of the Isles
This was also not a terribly big lake. There were more people walking and riding, but with the one-way direction on the bike path, it made for easy passing. The third lake was Calhoun. In order to not repeat lakes, I did half of Calhoun to a connector path that took me to Lake Harriet. Then, after looping Harriet, I did the other half of Calhoun. It was weird because the wind was really whipping on Calhoun, but a short ditance away, Lake Harriet was pretty calm.
Lake Calhoun
Lake Harriet and some goslings
Cool Pavilion on Lake Harriet
One of the many people relaxing in a hammock
Back on the Greenway, I had the wind at my back all the way back to the Hiawatha Trail. As I was making the turn to go up to the bridge, I saw this.
Horse drawn carriage!
So, this was my longest ride, and I saw even more trails to check out! Here's the Google map of the trails and lakes.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Ride With Christian, and Minnehaha Falls

When Christian stopped by on Thursday to get his bike bag, we made a plan to meet at Minnehaha Falls on Saturday. I would ride from the house, and Christian would ride from the campground (it ended up being a hotel as he couldn't stay at the campground over Memorial Day weekend). Kyle, Mallory, and Grayson would drive and meet us at the park.  At the park, Grayson played on the toys.
Teeter tottering with Daddy
Climbing the monkey bars
Sitting on the sea lion
In the "tunnel" with Christian
After the toys, we walked down the stairs to the Falls. Mallory, being just one week from her due date, wasn't going to walk down the stairs, but decided maybe the exercise would kick start some labor (it didn't). 
Grayson wanted to hold Christian's hand
Hoping the Falls will encourage Mallory's water to break
Minnehaha Falls
Christian and I
Grayson and Kyle
We had lunch at Sea Salt restaurant, then the kids headed home. Christian and I rode the Minnehaha Trail to Nokomis Lake. This was the way I had come back from REI. This time I did it the correct way. The path around the lake is separate from the Minnehaha Trail. Somehow, when I did it before, I missed the connector from the lake path to the trail.  Christian and I leisurely rode around the lake catching up on what had happened since we last toured in Europe together. We were just riding along, chatting, when we came to a restaurant on the lake. First I thought it was another restaurant, but then I realized it was the same one we had passed near the beginning. We almost did another lap around the lake (which wouldn't have been a bad thing, but still...). We said our "goodbyes until next time" and I turned around to head back. I rejoined the Minnehaha Trail, stopping to take this photo of Minnehaha Creek.
Minnehaha Creek and Trail
Coming back along the West River Parkway, I decided to go across the Washington Ave bridge again. That meant climbing a steepish hill to get to it. As I crested the hill, I was rewarded with two $1 bills lying on the path. Sweet! Across the bridge, I took this photo of the Weisman Art Museum on campus.
Very arty building!
Today was a good ride, and I didn't have to use Google to find my way! 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Across the Mississippi River on My Bike

Even though the weather was a bit rainy (that misty kind of rain that seems harmless until you find yourself soaked), I decided to take the opportunity to ride to REI to pick up a few things I need for my tour. Since it's Sunday, I figured there would be less traffic. Of course, I've nothing to judge it by, but there seemed to be quite a bit of traffic!  The REI I needed to go to was the flagship store in Bloomington (not Indiana). I Google mapped the route. It was 12.2 miles away. I wrote the directions out on paper and stuck them in my map case on my handlebar bag. I don't know why I bothered. I just ended up turning the route on on my phone. Actually, the written directions were working fine...until the road was closed. Anyway, the bike route over the Mississippi River was on Northern Pacific Railway Bridge No. 9. What was once a railway is now a railtrail!
Northern Pacific Railway Bridge No. 9
The Mighty Mississippi
Minneapolis truly is bike friendly. Where Google wanted me to go on Lyndale Ave., I actually ended up on a parallel road that was a "Bike Blvd". It was a residential street. Eventually, I did go back to Lyndale, but then there was a bike lane. Closer to REI, and near a major freeway interchange, the bike lane ended, but it was just a short bit.  REI was a mad house! Of course, the Anniversary Sale is happening now. I managed to get all the things I needed. The reason I went to this particular REI was because they had the Sea to Summit X series fry pan in stock. It goes with my 2.8 liter collapsible pot (the pot nests in the fry pan--my bowl and my cup nest in the pot--it's like the Matryoshka nesting doll of cookwear!). The MSR fry pan that I've had since I started touring is looking a little worse for wear. After waiting in the long checkout line, I returned to Tilmann and loaded my purchases into the small panniers on the front. I Google mapped the route back to Kyle and Mallory's. This time Google gave me another option that was slightly longer, but looked like it went through some parks. I thought, sure why not? Besides, I don't like to go the same way back! Since I was really relying on hearing the directions, I turned on my Buckshot Bluetooth speaker so I could hear them more clearly.  All was great until I started going through the first park. I was cruising along, listening to Google say, "Turn left...turn right..". Since I wasn't on a road, I just had to kind of guess what Goggle meant. Then Google said, "Make a U-turn". Well, crap! Okay, fine, I'll turn around. I went back, then Google said, "In 300 ft, make a U-turn." What??? Google, what do you mean!!! Well, I stopped and could not make heads or tails of where I was supposed to go. I just ended it, and started the route again. Then I could tell which way to go. It seems that Google does not differentiate between walking paths and bike paths. The bike path is not always right next to the walking path. Once I figured that out, I was able to go the way Google was telling me (even though she was wrong to direct me onto the walking path). Fortunately, there weren't any people walking at that point. The remainder of the ride home was pretty straight forward. Although, I ended up crossing the Mississippi on a different bridge (Franklin Ave). Once I was through most of the Univ of Minnesota campus, I knew the way back home. Total, I rode 28 miles. It would have been much more pleasant if it hadn't been raining, but I did get to cross the Mississippi River on my bike!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

He's Ready!

It's just four days until I leave for Minneapolis. A couple of days ago I gave Tilmann a bath. Today I dismantled him and packed him in his case. The last time I flew with him I managed to get him taken apart and packed in a little over an hour. Not today! It has been awhile, so I am definitely out of practice. Fortunately, I still have all the directions on my iPad (complete with photos). I did take better care to make sure everything is sufficiently padded and protected. I had planned to take both front and rear disc rotors off, but the rear one is too complicated with the Rohloff. I just protected it with cardboard. The front disc rotor was no problem to remove. I think it's more at risk anyway. Tilmann in the case (not including the racks) comes in at 45.2 lbs. All the other gear in the rice bag (rear pannier, both front panniers, tent, and racks) is less than the bike. I'll carry on the other rear pannier (primarily packed with clothes) and my handlebar bag.   
Tilmann all packed as well as gear
The shuttle picks me up Tuesday morning at the pre-butt crack of dawn (2:45am). I'll try to get a few hours of sleep. I'm looking forward to some nicer weather!