Sunday, July 24, 2022

MS Ride Around Minnesota 2022 - Day 1

Day 1 was from Proctor to Chisholm, Minnesota.  The summary of the whole day is "hot and humid".  It wasn't as bad as the first night of the RAGBRAI that Ming, Adam, and I went to where I laid in my tent naked, arms spread, sweating all night.  But at least in that case it broke by morning.  This was more 90F and humidity all day during an 83 mile ride.  By the time we got to Chisholm, the combination of the heat, humidity, and a low grade burn meant I was not cooling off.

Ben is in the yellow at one of the rest stops.  There wasn't much to see between the two overnight towns, so I'm glad MS is so good about setting up rest stops.  At the first one they fed us wraps.  A treat that probably kept me fueled up during the long, hot day.  Did I say it was long and hot...and humid?  

There's a Meadowlands Park in my own hood, so this is a pretty amusing photo. Looks like if my neighborhood went ghost town or post apocalyptic.

We were on the Mesabi trail quite a bit both on day 1 and the loop on day 2.  Ben liked this particular stretch for obvious reasons.

The Minnesota Museum of Mining opened their grounds to us for camping.  Great place.  Beautiful grounds.  Walking distance from bars.  Outlets to charge phones.  Lots to see.

One of the best ways to cool off was by hiding in this faux mine behind the castle.  As you went down the stairs, the temp dropped to absolutely chilly.  No one went in there for the most part, so I cycled back to try and break my sweats a few time.  I literally fell asleep on a little bench at the bottom for a bit and when I woke up I was sort of surprised I hadn't toppled over onto the cement.

This is Paul Bunyan's marble.  Ben was pretty sure it was his testicle, although he didn't say which one.

This reminded me of when Flash Gordon sticks his hand in the holes in the movie. There are a lot of houses in the area that have some variation of a rock with a drill hole in it as decoration.

Our tents - Ben on the left, me on the right.  Nice view of the train.  Nice cover under the trees [and it did rain and we had to pack up wet, but we didn't have giant rivers of water or lakes, the needles absorbed most of it].  My wife would not have liked the spider population that lived in the pines.  I kept scooping them up and moving them out of the tent after I threw in a bag or climbed in.

We had dinner at Jim's Sports Club Bar and Grill just down the street.  Tom and Jerry's was nearby as well, but I saw a sign that Jim's was sponsoring the all class reunion, and based on what seemed like an act of good will, we picked Jim's.  The rule was if there was no A/C however, we were walking right back out.  It was a good place to eat and drink and rest from the heat.  Huge portions.  Cooked right.  And when my beer encountered end-of-keg issues she comped me about 18 oz of beer while she changed up the tap.  We went back the next day [not a lot of places to eat right there unless you wanted pizza] we were so happy with the experience.

Ben found the entertainment before I did.  The "beer garden" and music tent.  Day 1 was a local guitarist/pianist with a penchant for Billy Joel songs.  A lot of Billy Joel songs.  Admittedly, he played the piano, so it fit.  We sort of caused a little bit of strife in Biwabik two days later when we joked to the band there as they were setting up about playing a Billy Joel medley.  They joked to the MS crowd and got some "ooooo"s because a few audience members knew someone was lightly dissing on the music two days earlier.  In our defense, that highlights how much Billy Joel there was.

As Ben says of this venue, where else can you see a concert in front of a giant truck?

There was one other place to cool off, although I didn't like it as much as the faux mine.  There was a diorama train museum on site, nicely chilled when the door wasn't opening and closing constantly. However, I'm a bit dubious about this little bit of racism/microaggression in the diorama.  I snapped a photo for Ming and my sister.  I think this guy was a foreign exchange student involved in laying the tracks [that's a joke for Ming].

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