Sunday, July 01, 2007

Eagan to Elm Creek (and Bust)

Blogging outside just does not work so well. Maybe I need a little hut in the back yard where I could sit and type. But then I wouldn't be outside - catch 22 - snap. Better technology (for cheap) sure would be nice.

The goal for biking has been to keep increasing a bit every week, particularly a long ride. Yesterday I got everything aligned and biked up to Elm Creek Park Reserve, way up north (compared to my normal Eagan haunt). The plan was to meet Kyle up there, and my inlaws, and my wife and daughter. Then Kyle and I could do a loop of the park system while I towed the burley. It seemed inspired. The first 45 miles was pretty good. I biked up past Fort Snelling, around the lakes, up Wirth, across the Luce, past Medicine Lake, and then north on Zachary/61 until I was close to Kyle's and the park reserve. By then I was running out of water, and it was only about ten a.m., so I went directly to Kyle's to refill and eliminate any possibility of missing each other at the park. The fewer points of organizing, the better, so I always say. Kyle and I biked a small loop around the park just to warm up while Pooteewheet drove north (pretty uneventful, except for Kyle's assertion that a roller-skiing, bikini-clad trail user was "presenting"), and then met up with Pooteewheet and Eryn and hitched up the Burley and started out on a 20 mile jaunt. Which ended after 9.5 miles, because unlike Cannon Falls, Elm Creek Park Reserve has some serious hills. Big hills. They don't look so big, but when you're pulling a Burley on mile 50, they feel like they go on forever. And when Eryn starts bouncing in the Burley, they get downright killer. So we skipped the extra 10 mile north loop, and pedaled back to the playground, waving at my inlaws as they passed us going the other direction, and I finished the day with about 58 miles. But I feel great today - which is nice, because usually I'd be tired the day after a 58 mile ride - so maybe RAGBRAI won't kill me.

We had a nice picnic. Played on the extensive Elm Creek playground set up. And then Kyle and I wandered off to watch Reno 911! (interesting fact, the fake whale in Reno cost $23,000, but the fake butt cost $25,000), score some fish and chips and Guinness, and attend the Roger Waters concert at the Excel Center in the corporate suite, courtesy of my company's event lottery. The concert was great - very noisy - some flames, lots of lasers, a heavy pot smell every time the lights went out. Sort of what you'd expect at something Floyd related. At one point there was a big pyramid made out of what seemed to be fiberoptic wire, and there was a white laser coming out of it, like the album cover. Then another laser came out the other side and was a prismatic split, like a laser-created rainbow. Really very cool - like a 3D album cover of Dark Side of the Moon. It was the first concert I'd been to in forever, and it was enjoyable, with a mix of old stuff and new stuff in the beginning (he's really not that fond of Bush or Blair), followed by a block of the older stuff in the second half to make everyone extra happy. The women in the suite, fortunately none I knew from work, were singing along exuberantly to Comfortably Numb.

Eryn made out like a bandit from my concert activities, not because she got a concert shirt, she didn't, but because we parked under the Science Museum and bought two Moo Mixers in the gift shop, one for Eryn and one for Kyle's nephew. Strap two batteries in the bottom, and the Moo Mixer becomes a mini blender that allows children to control their chocolate milk. No more powder floating on the top, you just push the button on the handle and give it another mix, or drink it while it's spinning to ensure appropriate mixing. A bonus - if you're a little girl on constipation medicine, it mixes it in very nicely.

On to some photos of the biking adventure. I didn't take a camera to the concert, and if I had, you'd have just ended up with pictures of people I thought were funny, like the woman whose boyfriend/husband kept telling her to slow down, but who was almost sprinting for the Excel entrance (and later a concert shirt) even though it was an hour before the concert. She looked like there was nothing more important to her in the world than being at that concert, and being there now damnit. I think the boyfriend/husband was effectively dead to her.

The Elm Creek Park Reserve playground - in case you've never been there. Big! Kyle thought the multi-level slides looked like German or Iraqi superguns. There's also a trip line on the back side. Eryn wanted to go on it, and I tried to explain to her that when I was fourteen, I rode one face first into rocks (not at Elm Creek, but a similar county park) and almost broke my nose. I didn't - but I was scab faced for months. That story attests to my stupidity as a fourteen year old, and the stupidity of a playground designer who would put rocks beneath a trip line. Eryn later referred to the trip line as the "scab line". I'm glad my stories have an impact.


This part of the playground was a pit with several tubes leading into it. Kyle thought it looked like a bear baiting pit. I pictured little kids arriving from the three tubes wearing gladiator/gladiatrix outfits and fighting it out.


After standing there a while, we realized there wasn't any good reason not to make our dream a reality. So we talked to a few parents and arranged a child-baiting/gladiator league. Here's Eryn waiting her turn in "the box". She was on the card to face off against a 2 year old from the Substance Family Reunion and two vicious pomeranians. She asked for something better than the cattail we gave her as a weapon, but we felt going McGuyver and using what the park provided naturally was a growth experience.


Grandpa (Boppa) bought Eryn a new styrofoam airplane. Here's a picture of our picnic (picnic basket courtesy of the work healthy-living program) and the new airplane. Eryn's is decorated with a ton of Cars stickers. Grandpa couldn't find any Adrienne Barbeau stickers with which to decorate his own.


Here she is practicing. You can see the stickers artfully affixed to give it heft and balance.


A little more discussion about aerodynamics, flight plans, and appropriate homeland security measures.


Followed by the hideous death of every single passenger on board as they run into the world tree. It's a bitch when Norse mythology jumps out of the earth and smacks your styrofoam ass out of the air, but a very convincing argument for the other guy's theology.


Ah...the next flight is on better footing. It looks like they might actually make it to Ibiza in time for spring break.

1 comment:

kyle said...

The Roger Waters concert really was quite impressive. I think it was better overall than the Pink Floyd concert at the Metrodome in - what was it, 1989? Might have something to do with the fact that the Roger Waters concert seemed to (surprise!) emphasize more of the Roger Waters influenced Pink Floyd stuff (as well as his own work), which I have always liked better anyway. Might also be that I was able to enjoy the concert from a suite, instead of having a really drunk guy air guitaring in front of me for almost the whole concert, before he gets drug away by security :)

By the way I think the sides of the pyramid effect were also made up of high intensity light beams. You could see the smoke sort of travel through/disrupt them as it spun around. The fact that they essentially built a skeleton structure which used nothing but light beams to create the illusion of a 3D form shooting out a giant prismatic spray the height of the Excel Center just makes it all the cooler.