Monday, May 25, 2009

Long Weekend Bicycling - Bunker Hills, Hugo, St. Paul

I spent a sizable chunk of my weekend on my bike. Not the majority, mind you, I'm not on a cross country 20 hour a day road trip, but more time than doing almost any other activity (and yet I did go to both Terminator Salvation [eh], and Night at the Museum Battle for the Smithsonian [good, if you have a six year old]). Saturday, Eryn and I took a late trip into St. Paul, covering about 26.7 miles down into the valley with a hard push back out to give me some hill climbing practice and make it to Chipotle and home before dark. Eryn liked the water fountain at the park that the kids had set open so they could play in a little lake, and walking up next to the Mississippi River.

I liked, in no particular order, a.) the two women singing "You Cut Me Open" a capella by the river, with the frequent break to take a long drag off a cigarette. I know, from Facebook, that it's one of Ming's favorite songs, so perhaps he could head down there to join in, b.) the little kid - age 2 or so - whose grandpa said, "Don't go in the water", and who then ran over and jumped in shoes and all. At that point grandpa told him the day was over. When he took off to do something else, grandpa said, "no, you're all wet and it's over", at which point the kid whacked him with his plastic shovel. Time seemed to stop. I compliment grandpa on his patience. He took the shovel, and the plastic water bottle that could have doubled as a secondary weapon, and pointed him at the car. A complete jumping all out fit followed, but I think grandpa considered anything after the shovel tolerable. c.) the large woman straddling her boyfriend next to the family trying out their model rocket at the park. It would have been inappropriate if it ended there, but the 40% visibility on the red thong took it to a whole new level.

Sunday, Ming and I went riding the Sunrise Trail from Hugo to North Branch and back, about 48.7 miles. The most exciting development was a new place to eat breakfast at the end of the trail in North Branch, just to the right of the trail. The last two years we had to settle for a coffee shop and find some old guys who could direct us to the Lone Oak restaurant. They picked a good summer location. There were a number of cyclists eating there, including a guy who was on mile #700 of a tour around Minnesota, and a former-coworker turned contractor still working at our company who was on a ride with his 12 year old son.

I didn't take many pictures as I've documented that ride to death, but I found the idea that this place would soon be "Eden" amusing.

And today, Eryn and I went up to Grandpa and Grandma's to pick up some keys and went for a bike ride around Bunker Hills while we were there. She was tired, so we only went about 10 miles, but that was probably enough to remind my legs that they better buck up and worry about doing a few days of hills in a row.

The bad thing about Bunker Hills is that the wildlife is vicious. I've been told to stay away from hippos, but I didn't realize they might try to attack you in a Minnesota park.

Eryn took it calmly. I was much more frightened. Perhaps because I know that hippos have nasty flukes. Ick. I realize you usually have to be on the other end to be near the flukes, but I was still concerned.

It was Memorial Day, so Bunker Hills had their flags at their memorial at half mast. I looked at their main monument and thought, "Wow, Coon Rapids lost almost 10,000 soldiers in World War II? That's huge!" Then I realized it was the number for the VFW Post. It was a nice monument, and although no one was there when we were there, there had obviously been a ceremony with a floral wreath.

That is the front end of a tank in the last picture. Here it is more fully. Eryn chose that position herself. I did not encourage her in any way whatsoever. Pooteewheet pointed out that she's been to that tank before, as a girl scout! E.g. when she was younger, not in some little twisted fetish game of ours.

Here I am on the tank. I picked the pose. Eryn did not encourage a particular pose or choose it for me in any way whatsoever. I was sort of struck by either how big I am, or how small a World War II tank was. I would have been very uncomfortable in that thing. It's also surprising how small it is compared to a modern NATO tank of the sort that almost ran over Dan'l's van in Canada in the middle of the night in 1987. This tank was a bit bigger than a van. That NATO tank towered over his van.

Tank drivers are slobs.

My latest artistic endeavor. Reenacting famous photos, but with my bike. Here I recreate the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. You have to admit it's a step up from the hippo photo, or the many photos of me touching animal statues inappropriately.

1 comment:

klund said...

1. I like your new photographic/artistic endeavor. Please do this one next.

2. Have you eaten at the Trail Blazer in Madison Lake? You should come down sometime with bikes, and we can bike from Mankato to Madison Lake, have something to eat, and bike back to Mankato.

I know it's not the huge kind of bike ride that you do, but there are two geocaches along the route.