The Wind Abates for No One

Strong rider.  Weak rider.  Fast rider. Slow rider.  None are immune to the punishment of the wind.  And, today, we took a pounding from the wind.  Sixty miles of which more than 50 were into the wind — a nice strong wind with gusts approaching 30 miles/hour.  Oh, and did I mention, it was all up hill?  Yeah….that, too.  Well, except for one gorgeous 5 mile downhill stretch where we coasted at a pleasant 25 mph.

I’m tired.  What?  Yes, the human may be the engine, but I also had to listen to that wind and I also had to work to keep the bike upright when the human started to flag.  But, you know, it was a really pretty ride.  Mission Road is simply gorgeous.  But, right now, I could use a little pampering and a good nights rest.

Tomorrow, we have a “marshmallow” ride.  Heehee…that’s what my buddy Moots calls it…a marshmallow ride — .  A teensy 30 mile ride.  Given that it is uphill and the winds will still be in our faces, methinks Moots might me a little less sarcastic tomorrow night. We’ll see.

I’m Free!

I know, I know, I’ve used that title before, but, seriously….(cue Roger Daltry) I’m free-I’m free, And freedom tastes of reality, I’m free-I’m free, An’ I’m waiting for you to follow me.(end cue)….hard not to hear that song screaming in your head at the start of a trip, eh?

The humans finally came to rescue us this AM when the trailer opened.  It was cold last night (in the 30’s), but before the humans got there one of our favorite crew (you know…they’re *all* our favorites) pulled us out into the sunshine so we could warm up.  Amazing how warm that sun here in Tucson can make you feel.

But, finally, we got to get out of the boxes.  Well, sort of.  So many people to greet.  So 20170225_0939091many lives to catch up on it took us a very long time to become whole again.

You’d never know that this was a tour and not some bizarre family reunion — a family where everyone except for Susan and her sister Beth, no two people look alike; a family where everyone seems to like everyone else.  Hugs, smiles and laughter abounded.

Best part?  Even us bikes get to play.  Oh sure, I was eager to see Moots again.  The humans hugged and caught up while Moots and I quietly caught up — Moots is sporting a spiffy new derailleur and saddle.  But, here at Desert Camp, the humans actually acknowledge us bikes…oooing and awwwing over the new kids…checking out the new gear.  All while summarizing the last year.  It was a fun day!

And I got to ride!  Just a little.  We took a  spin down the bike trail.  Oh, the sun was so warm, the breeze just pleasant, the cacti…well…were cacti. And chipmunks like chipmunks everywhere darting across the trail trying to trip up the bikes.  Ha!  I’ve seen that trick before.

But, now I sleep.  Time to settle in and get ready for our ride tomorrow.  Yay!  We’re riding!

 

 

 

If it is February, it must be Arizona

Toes!  Warm toes!  What?  A bike doesn’t have toes?  That is a very specist comment, don’t you think?  My toes may not look like yours, but I have toes.  And right now they’re warm. So there!

Edwin and I left home a couple of weeks back, but for the last week we’ve been in the tender loving care of Susan and Beth as we’ve traveled from Wisconsin to Arizona.  Those women are a blast to be around.  But don’t tell them that those of us in the trailer are listening to their stories and their jokes.  Oh, we can hear them.  Load and clear.  And they’re fun!  More important, isn’t it so nice that they took us down in the trailer so we didn’t have to suffer the indignities of being tossed around by baggage handlers?!?!  So nice these women.  

Now that we’re in Arizona, all that is left is to await the humans.  They’re still in Wisconsin slaving away and won’t get here until Friday.  Arggghh…sure it is warmer here, but I am really, really wanting to get out of this box and stretch!  Beth and Sue got to go hiking, but we’re still in these boxes.   I mean, I know the humans were careful when they packed us, but when they closed the box, the handlebars shifted just a skosch and now I’ve got this spoke just poking me in just the wrong spot.  Blah. 

But, just a couple more days and I can jump out of this box and start riding.  My friend Moots from the southern crossing is coming and I can’t wait to catch up.  We’ll be riding.  Riding.  Eating.  Riding.  Eating.  Riding.  Chit chatting.  And riding.  Yay!  Desert Camp! 

Mississippi

Odd how same, yet different a year can be.  Last time this year, the human and I were in the desert heading towards the Mississippi.  This year, we found ourselves 2000 miles north, in the forest and mining areas of Minnesota, heading towards the Mississippi.

We cross the “mighty” Mississippi near its source, where the water is clear and the bridges short.  Then we road for miles down the Mississippi River Trail crossing and visiting it yet again.  Our final crossing was in Brainerd where the Mississippi began to take on the size and flow of a formidable river, yet still just a tiny fraction of what it would become as it picked up water on its tumble down to New Orleans.

For the last ride of the trip, the humans and I once again picked 20160918_103527up the Paul Bunyan Trail.  As usual, it was a beautiful ride with lakes and trees galore.  Over the course of the Paul Bunyan Trail, there were many statues of Paul, of course.  In one town there was a statue of Paul’s “wife” (uh….not really…Lucette is the imagination of the marketing arm for the town of Hackensack….nice try folks).  But, no where was there an image of Babe.  WTF?   Paul Bunyan is not the main character of the tales…no way….Paul is just a “human”…oversized in time, but just a human…Babe, now, was the main character.   So, to my surprise!  Finally a Babe statue.  Whaddaya think?  Pretty impressive, eh?

But, alas, the trip is over and soon I will be partially dissassembled and forced to suffer the pains of Edwin kicking me in the head tube for the 6 hours it will take to get home.  The human has promised me that we will get out again before Tucson.  We were lazy on this trip, taking our time, smelling the pines, sipping chai and being pampered by the awesome Timberline crew.  Now it is back to work, training for the Southern…well, work for the human, adventures for me.

 

Relative..it is all relative

Would you believe, dear reader, that the human and I are being accused of being fast? Heehee…makes me laugh just thinking about it.  But, yep, on this trip, we’re fast!  Hard to believe, but, it is all relative.  Traveling with PAC Tour, we bring up the rear; travel with this group and we (sorry, hard to type this) we have to wait and give the rest a head start and we still finish an hour ahead of them.

But it is a good group of riders with us on the trip.  New riders that don’t give up — and that is really neat to see.  While we’re out toodling and enjoying what for us is shorter rides, the others are seeing a challenge and, best of all, meeting the challenge.  They also thought Minnesota would be flat and easy….but we’re seeing some good-sized hills, even on the bike trail.

Which, brings me to the trail…so, what do you do when the iron ore is gone and your landscape is blighted with open pit mines and tailing piles?  Apparently, you reshape the land, bringing in top soil, planting birch and aspen.  Then you pull up the rail beds and put in bike trail, but to make it interesting, sometimes you take the trail up, over and around the tailing piles.  Tailing piles that have been shaped, topsoiled and planted so that unless the rider looks closely, they don’t know it.

Swing that trail through as many little towns as you can along the way and what do you get?  130 miles of paved bike trail that winds through forest, past lakes (some built by Mother Nature; some the result of mining) and, surprisingly, absolutely gorgeous.

Rain. Clouds. Rain.

What is it with this rain thing?  We can travel for days with PAC Tour and nary a drop of rain.  But, join up with Timberline?  Watch the rain fall.  What?  Don’t they like me?  Do they think I look better with a coat of mud?  Seriously?  Hrrmph….

Needless to say, today we got wet.  Not wet enough to bother the humans, but wet enough to bother *me*.  And what is more important?  The humans?  Or me?  Hmmmm….?

Heck, it was so wet that I picked up a leech.  Gross, eh?  Little thing, probably got tossed up when the human rudely rode me through a puddle.  Turns out the little suckers will travel on land, but it could just as easily been a descendant of one that traveled by deer.  Who knows.  Didn’t bother me (not much blood in my steel) but it freaked out Edwin’s human — that was pretty entertaining to watch!

Despite the rain and gloom, it was a really nice ride…lots of that awesome Minnesota bike trail…twisty, turny roads just for me.  Of course, now that I’m save and warm in the hotel room, the sun is out.  Oh well.  Glad to be indoors tonight.  Overnight temp is to be 38.  Fall does come early here.

Uphill?

Silver Bay to Ely.  Northern Minnesota.  Glaciers.  Lots of glaciated land.  Should be flat, eh?  When they use terms like “mountains” they’re just using affectations to make it sound like you’d want to come here, right?  You know, like Rib Mountain in Wisconsin?  The hill that never will be a mountain?

If so, then, please explain to me why we rode uphill for 20 miles!  Twenty continuous miles of uphill!  Granted it wasn’t Rocky Mountain climbing and there were a few, short downhill reprieves every now and then, but sections of 8-10% and 2000′ of elevation gain and long sustained sections of 3-4%.  We worked!

OK, not really.  We toodled and enjoyed the scenery.  Another absolutely gorgeous day.  As we got closer to the Boundary Waters, more and more streams, rivers and lakes.  And a lot more rock formations and sparser trees.  Tonight we sleep with the canoers looking to set their boats in the water.

But after all that work today was I treated with respect for hauling my human up the hill?  Nope.  We pulled into town early so the humans decided to check out the town, see all the canoe outfitters and, of course, stop at the local brewery.  Which meant leaving Edwin and I behind.  In the hotel room?  Nope.  Stuffed under a staircase.  Oh, the indignity.  Sigh….I sure do hope the humans thought that beer was worth it (editor: Boathouse Brewery’s Basswood Brown Ale is very good and Edwina was dry and out of the rain).