Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What a difference a day makes.  Most of today was a reminder of how much I enjoy cycling.  The mild wind was at my back and, while the day started sunny and in the 80's, literally the minute I started riding a cloud cover came in and never left.  The majority of my ride was on quiet city streets with regular views of the river, trails through lush forest and rural roads.

Before I started I had to take a couple of shots of the Stone Arch Bridge.  I crossed this yesterday but at that time I was focused on finishing my ride.  This is a pedestrian and bicycle bridge.

Here is the view downriver from the bridge.
Shortly after crossing, I was able to get this view of the falls in Minneapolis
As I proceeded south on the east side of the river, I began to climb.  Soon the view of the river looked like this.

A bit farther south is the Ford Dam.
If you lived in some areas of St. Paul, you could walk across the street to get this view

The farther south I went, the more fun the views

Getting wider!
Not long after this, I experienced a whole new aroma.  Even when not in or near forests, the air seemed quite rural.  As I rode up a hill toward a more industrial area, I could easily recognize the strong scent of hops.  I wondered what brewing company was nearby.

Soon I was riding on a variety of highways and bike trails.  The trails were largely wooded and twisty and mostly in excellent condition.  I did have one stretch where the asphalt was ancient and being repaired but the forested environment was so lush I didn't care.
There was one hiccup about the day.  Every day previous I had mapped the route on my computer and downloaded it to my GPS the evening before the ride.  While there were sometimes places where the MRT signs differ from the planned route, the differences were usually slight and between the two I would keep moving forward.  However, the day I battled the winds we got to Sharon's fairly late and after eating all I could think of was sleep.  The next morning, I posted my blog entry but forgot I hadn't mapped the route.  I realized this when getting ready to start from the Stone Arch Bridge.  Cathy photographed the pages of the book with the route and I figured between that and MRT signs, I should have little trouble.  What I failed to consider was my "always erring" sense of direction.
Apparently, there is something in my DNA that wants to make short days longer.  I either missed a couple of turns or ignored directions and twice had to retrace segments of a trail when I was sure a sign was sending me in the wrong direction.  The biggest misstep, however, came near the end when, even though Google maps told me to take a turn, because I had not seen an MRT sign I continued straight thinking that was the route.  This took me on the lovely Gray Cloud road, all the way to the dead end at the end of an island.  At this point, I was starting to see flashes of lightening and hearing thunder indicating a storm was about 10 miles away.  It was about 2 miles back to the turn I missed and when I took it, there was the MRT sign I had not seen before.
For a little while I felt like I was racing the storm, even had a little light rain.  Since it was over 70 degrees, it actually felt kind of good.  There were no more incidents and I cruised on into Hastings, MN.  We had planned to end the day in Prescott, WI but could not find a place to stay on that side of the river.  There was an excellent Mexican restaurant just a block from our motel where we had an excellent dinner with great service.  I also had my reward for the day.
This is a 'small' margarita.  The medium was 24 ounces and the large 42!
Data (note the short projection at mile 35):



  1. Elementary 5th grade students E and K noted the town South St. Paul, Mn was on the route and their favorite picture was the Stone Arch Bridge. Their question is: Where is your favorite spot to bike? Girls K and Z ask: What is your favorite thing about biking? As our elementary students work as partners, they are so excited to read your blog. What a treat! Just one more excellent question from W: What kind of animals have you encountered?

    1. E and K--I have many places at home in Seattle that I enjoy. For a short ride, I like to ride around Mercer Island. You will have to look that up on a map of the Seattle area. From my home it is about 35 miles round trip. For longer rides, I like to go to the town of Black Diamond where they have a great bakery. Round trip is about 80 miles.

      K and Z: I love the feeling of freedom and being able to exercise for long periods of time in enjoyable settings. I can't think of anything else I could do for up to six or seven (and sometimes more) hours that helps me stay fit.

      W--The wildlife I have encountered while riding includes deer, raccoons, small rodents such as chipmunks and squirrels. In La Crosse, we saw a turtle on the bike path. We were on an "out and back" ride and he was gone when we came back. I have also seen many birds, some of which I do not recognize. In one of my postings, you will see a blue heron and a white crane. I also had a great time at the Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque, Iowa where I saw many marine animals and birds. Check out the alligator and snapping pictures on my posting of September 17.