Sunday, August 23, 2020

Banning State Park Ride

On Friday I pedaled from Eagan up to Banning State Park near Sandstone, MN.  Good trip, although not particularly exciting.

It was mostly on trails: from Eagan into St. Paul, catch the Gateway/Vento, Sunrise, Willard Munger, and a spur.  Total was 107.55 miles.

It was more overgrown (on the sides) then when we were up there 10 years ago or so, so a bit more shade.  But still pretty flat with a slight grade because you're headed north in Minnesota (there's a reason most folks go north to south), and lots of sun.  I started at 6:00 a.m. to avoid the bulk of the heat, but I still stopped twice to buy more water, three 16+ oz bottles each time. The second time I panicked a bit as the gas station was locked up tight due to an electrical outage, but there was another not too far down the road also out of electricity, but taking cash.  Still, it was still almost not enough. 

I did not like the shoulders on 61 where they simply fell apart and hadn't been cleaned in....ever?  I hit a small spot of gravel at one point and there was a loud twang as a sizable chunk of metal went flying.  I thought I had avoided a flat....for about another 60 seconds.  Fortunately, it was easy to fix and despite the size of the shard of metal, hadn't shredded my actual tire.  Simple puncture.  After that I trended more toward the road despite the cars.

Other highlights?  An idiot in a truck with a large Confederate Flag flying high above several US flags.  Hampton Umbrella rides.  Pictured below.  Sort of sketchy looking in this context.  I didn't get a picture of the Scooter ride entrance which was pretty terrifying; a tunnel full of pieces of metal sticking into the center.  It was like it was beckoning specifically to me with my nickname.

A dam on the way there.  I think this is just north of Hinckley, where I really should have stopped for a piece of pie at the Whistle Stop Cafe, even though it would have been outside on the cement.  I've certainly done that many times before on RAGBRAI.

My wife met me at Banning State Park with the convertible for a picnic (abbreviated because of the mosquitoes, but still appreciated - I'd had mostly nuts and fruit snacks and goldfish crackers at that point) and for a tour of the park (abbreviated; we saw the rapids, but the falls were a four mile round trip that she wasn't up for).  Here are a number of pictures of the  rapids.  Pretty area, particularly if you want to hike.  I heard on the news that in Taylors Falls, 50 miles from us, a guy fell off the cliffs and landed on the rocks while we were at Banning.  This didn't seem to get as high over the river as that, but there were some bouldering type areas that went higher than we were willing to hike.

Poot working on her own photo.  She's got a selfie of us somewhere on her camera.

All in all, a great ride, although I'm feeling it in the saddle some today.  I keep thinking my modifications to my bike seat will pan out, but I can find the right level.  Still, close enough and getting new brake pads on is priority one.

Closing with the soothing sounds of the rapids.

Banning State Park Rapids

No comments: