Monday, May 04, 2009

Wherein Kyle Disappoints Eryn

Eryn and I bicycled 37.7 miles yesterday. Me on my mountain bike. Her on the tagalong. Lest it stated she didn't really bike that much, she was pedaling every time I looked and that's enough mileage to do the short Ironman, which my sister has been incapable of doing both times she's gone. Yes, yes, she finished the first time, but she bonked. And she did do 20 miles the second time, but that's not even the short ride. In truth, Eryn and I biked about 35.7 miles and walked 2. Up from Eagan, across the river, through Minnehaha Park, along Minnehaha Creek ("everything is named Minnehaha!" noted Eryn), to Lake Harriet, flat...walked around Calhoun to The Cyclery on Lake, up (or down?) the greenway, down the Mississippi to Taco Bell on Lake near the river (just to tempt Swine Flu), to Minnehaha Park, and back home to Eagan. Hell of a ride.

When we got the flat at the bandshell, I let the remaining air out of the tube and grabbed my spare. I put it on, pulled out the CO2 pump, and it went "Psht." Just that short. Stupid high tech s*it. So we called Kyle, who was going to meet us in Minneapolis around 1:00, figuring it was 12:50 and he might be somewhere nearby. Instead, he was on his way to Monticello. Eryn asked if he was coming to get us and I explained the situation. Eryn sighed and said, "This is going to be so boring." So we walked to where I thought I remembered Calhoun Cycle was, but wasn't. And then walked some more, thinking we'd eventually get to Penn Cycle or Freewheel. We found The Cyclery first and they had tubes, but no pump to sell me. So we got the tube replaced and pumped with a floor pump and then biked on, catching Freewheel on the Greenway to find a new mini pump I can take anywhere, some sun tan lotion (44) because we were dumb and hadn't packed that either, and the world's loudest bell-compass for Eryn's tagalong to replace the kiddy horn.

Shout out to Susan and Peksun and Dave (whose last name I don't know) who we saw while riding. Plenty of coworkers out enjoying the sun. If you include all the coworkers I saw at Chinese language class the day before (Penny and Ming), it was a fairly coworker filled weekend. And no, I'm not taking Chinese language classes myself. I took Eryn to hang with Ming and Logan. She had a great time, and an even better time when they spirited her away to Logan's house for the afternoon.

So what's a story about a bicycle ride without pictures?

Eryn peeking in Fort Snelling. It was closed when we went past in the morning. It was a minute from closing when we went past in the evening. We felt it was a good spot to stop, have a taffy break, peek in some windows, and inspect the grave of Whiskey the Horse (just up the sidewalk). Strange fact. I believe I was bicycling through the fort grounds on the day in 2002 when they were moving his grave.

"U.S. Cavalry horse Whiskey was buried on the fort's grounds in 1943. The trick-performing horse was a popular resident of the fort from the 1920s until his death. Labeled a renegade when he arrived in 1921, Whiskey soon came to the attention of Lt. William Hazelrigg, who spotted the horse's uncanny intelligence. Whiskey was the top horse of the Fort Snelling Blacks polo team and he and Hazelrigg performed widely, including at the Minnesota State Fair. In 1936, at age 25, he was officially retired and lived out his life in leisure in the fort's old cavalry stables with his old performing partners, mules Nat and Snelling. Whiskey's remains, which were in the path of the new light-rail system, were moved to a new location near the Fort Snelling Visitor Center in 2002. Ironically, this location is near the long-gone stables where Whiskey spent his last years."

We were fairly certain trespassers were individuals climbing over the stone wall and that the sign did not apply to us. But there was no way to be certain what area it covered.

Our bike and tagalong on the left side. Further to the left, where you can't see it, the hill that Ming and The Boss couldn't conquer on their bikes the first time I took them riding in the river valley.

Minnehaha Falls. My interest in don't do this, danger, and don't go there signs is surpassed only by my interest in touching statues inappropriately. There was a big festival going on nearby and we kept getting drive bys from some women wearing shirts that said "Faster than turtles". Most peculiar.

In this picture you can see the top of the falls as Eryn puts on her Ireland shirt to show her disdain for any Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the neighborhood. Or her solidarity with May Day festivities. Hard to tell.

Dad...I'm sick of kissing movies. She read the rock dedicating the statue and couldn't tell from the inscription which one was Hiawatha and which one was Minnehaha.

"There the wrinkled old Nokomis
Nursed the little Hiawatha,
Rocked him in his linden cradle,
Bedded soft in moss and rushes,
Safely bound with reindeer sinews;
Stilled his fretful wail by saying,
"Hush! the Naked Bear will hear thee!"
Lulled him into slumber, singing,
"Ewa-yea! my little owlet!
Who is this, that lights the wigwam?
With his great eyes lights the wigwam?
Ewa-yea! my little owlet!" (source)

It was beautiful out. The perfect day to force a little girl on a 37.7 mile ride that seemed like it might never end. Cool enough not to be sweating profusely even with two shirts on. A bright sun and happy clouds. And multiple playgrounds to check out during down time. This is the park just before Lake Harriet (between Nokomis and Harriet) near where we used to live in Richfield. This year I bumped into Peksun there. Last year Ryan tried to run me over near there. Twice.

My favorite thing I overhead at this park, "I'm not an evil villain. Listen to me! I'm. Not. An. Evil. Villain." As if an evil villain would say anything different.

Lake Harriet. The good times. When we were enjoying our root beer float and before we realized we had a flat front tire and Kyle left us to rot on the north shore of the lake. Our flat tire did encourage us to venture further north as we were going to round the lake at this point and head home. Eryn got to see the site of the first house in Minneapolis on Lake Calhoun. At least I thought that's what it was, although some web sites seem to disagree. But this is at least fact, it was a, "cabin built by Samuel and Gideon Pond in 1834. The Pond brothers were missionaries to the Dakota at Eatonville. The cabin was located up the hill where St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church now stands. Two imposing structures preceded St. Mary’s on this site."

A loon! State bird of Minnesota and a propitious sign! A sign that you're going to get a flat and your friend will ditch you after he says he's coming to town, leaving you and your six year old high and dry with nothing to fill your tire but rootbeer float.

Here's a loon tale from geocities, because Yahoo is shutting it down (perhaps that's a lesson to me as a Blogger user instead of a DIY blogger). No doubt the idea that a loon can see through the fog will scare my niece senseless. And a link to all sorts of loon stories to put your children to sleep.

"The Indians in the Pacific Northwest traveled mainly by water, because the forest was so thick it was difficult to travel by land. This story tells how they were able to find their way back to shore.

One day, a little girl went deep into the forest. She walked until she found a family of loons. She stopped and played with the loons. In fact, she stayed for several days, becoming good friends with the loons. They taught her many things. But, soon, she knew it was time to return to her family, so she said good bye and returned to her village.

In time, this little girl grew to be a Mother and then Grandmother. One day she was out in a canoe with her two Grandchildren. All of the sudden the fog rolled in. They couldn't see the shore. They heard a splashing off in the distance. The children thought it was a sea monster. But, the Grandmother new it was something far worse. It was hunters from a tribe farther north. If they captured them, they would take them as slaves. The children would never see their family or village again.

The Grandmother told the children to get down in the canoe and be quiet. The other canoe passed by them with out seeing them. The children were still hiding in the bottom of the canoe. But, how would they find their way back to the village? How would they avoid the hunters in the other canoe? The Grandmother started to sing. This was a strange song. The Grandmother sung often, and the children new all of her songs. They thought. The children looked up. Where their Grandmother had been sitting, there was a giant loon. It spread its wings and flew out of the canoe. It circled the canoe and then flew off. The children watched it fly off into the fog. Soon, the loon returned and circled again. When it left, this time, the children followed it. It lead them safely back to their village. For you see, only the loon has eyes that can see though the fog.

When the Grandmother was a girl, playing with the loons, they thought her a song. If she ever sang that song, she would change into a loon FOREVER. So when the Indians were canoeing in the fog, they always listen for Grandmother loon to guide them back to shore. "

Back to Minnehaha Park and some of the oldest playground equipment still in use in the state. We took a big break here so I could prepare myself for the last chunk before home. Ming will sympathize with me when I say that as bad as the climb out of the river valley to my house is at the end of a long ride, it's worse with a tagalong. Fortunately, I think this puts me in good shape for the MS ride next weekend and it's a good start for RAGBRAI training now that we made the lottery and have started a bit of Scooter-clan bickering about RVs and pop up campers.

Last year Eryn wouldn't have gone more than a few feet off the ground. I think she's conquered her fear of heights.

No comments: