Friday, August 29, 2008

Biking to da bar - the "Pay It Forward, SoggyDoggy" mix

I'm posting this on Friday, but this happened on Wednesday (always on Odinstag, ja?). Had the day off and puttered around the house (I'm old and I'm allowed to do this now) until the desire for coffee hit me. Jaunt up to CRC for a coupla pints of java and a nice sit down with my birthday present from the loverly Mrs, a guide book of Superior Hiking Trail.

Jittery enough from said coffee and a bit misty for the North Shore, I then headed up to Town Hall to have some cocktails and meet my old roommate who has since moved to sunny San Diego. We then joined by our other roommate -- a nice little reunion. Cali roommate went to have dinner with his cousin while I continued chatting with local roommate.

Time passes and so, apparently, does a cold front. I head out to leave to see that the rains have come. Bleah. Oh well, if you ride every day, you ride every day. I throw on the rain jacket and head home.

[Note to self -- get fenders on the Dumvee]

As I'm riding along Blaisdell, my pedals seem to stick and I stand up to make 'em go around. Next thing I realize, I'm ass over teakettle and sprawled in a puddle. Somehow I threw the chain. Monkeying around in the rain at night with insufficient light to really see what I'm doing, I flail about attempting to get the chain back on, but to no avail. I then flip the bike over and look at it from a better vantage point and I now see why the difficulty; the axle had jumped from the dropouts.

About this time, someone from the neighborhood walks out with a flashlight (yay!) and asks if need help. I graciously accept and we manage to get the tire back where it belongs and the chain on with his light and a couple of his wrenches. I thank him and tell him that he had "paid forward" any help he may received later. He seemed to like the phrase as he thought about it and repeated it. "Pay it forward," he mused as he walked back into his house.

Thanks, Mystery Dude. Pay it forward, indeed.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No grail, but...

We've done it. We've visited all State Parks and State Recreation Areas in Minnesota (except for Garden Island -- that's 15 miles into Lake of the Woods and I don't have a boat). More later -- I'm still cleaning up and I want to enjoy my next couple of days from work.


Red River SRA - meh. But, it is a work in progress.
Old Mill - sweet little park. We'll be back.
Lake Bronson - okay
Hayes Lake - okay
Zippel Bay - I've never seen LotW before and this is a nice park. We'll be back.
Franz Jevne - hated it, don't go (wink-wink, really just to keep this to myself and not have it spoiled by hoards of people)

A night in Bear Head Lake and the last night in the campground in Grand Marais. Many miles, many sights, many thoughts to sort.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Biking to da bar (Mosquito Commander edition)

Overall, I'm happy that smoking has been banned inside bars here in Minnesota. I do have to say that one of the things that I miss is playing Mosquito Commander in the urinal. A great game, in the Olde Dayes when people could smoke inside, was to piss on the cigarette butts and make the ash end come off or peel the wrapping off the butt when the tobacco was gone. Chasing a wad of gum around isn't nearly as satisfying (it doesn't break up), but, hey, you take what you can get.

Regardless, it was a nice night to ride home with me darlin' Mrs.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Near the end of our quest

Two years ago while hiking around Lake Maria State Park (nearish St. Cloud), we found out about two State Park programs; the Passport and the Hiking clubs. This weekend, we've seen four more parks and hiked two of them.

The Passport Club is simply going to all the State Parks and State Recreation Areas and getting a stamp to show you've been there. There are 71 Parks and SRAs and they located all over the state. The best thing about this is that you see parts of Minnesota that you wouldn't normally go, or you would pass by great swaths of the state by taking freeways and speeding past them on the way to your destination, since, apparently, the journey is now the destination and the time spent traversing the dull countryside is just time that is better spent where ever your destination lies.

The Hiking Club gets out of your car and onto your feet at the parks you're visiting. The hikes vary from 1 to 6 miles and the difficulty ranges from simple strolls on paved paths to strenuous rock strewn hill climbing. There is a set Hiking Club path and generally they are well marked and somewhere along the trail is a sign with a code word. The word generally has something to do with the physical features, history or flora/fauna of the park.

We've now hiked 60 of the 65 Hiking Club paths (for a total of 185+ miles) and we've visited 63 parks and SRAs. This leaves us with the last group in far Northwestern Minnesota (Red River, Old Mill, Lake Bronson, Hayes Lake, Zippel Bay and Franz Jevne). We plan to close the books on both of our quests next weekend in a flurry of driving, hiking and camping. I'm not unfamiliar with the area since my dad was from up there and my mom's family is from just on the other side of the Red River in North Dakota and I lived up there while going to school at UND. I've seen many things that our fine state has to offer but I've yet to see this corner with the eyes I have now.

There will be more on this later, but I have come to appreciate things now I never dreamed I would earlier in my life. Moving slowly, away from crowds on infrequently traveled roads and appreciating small things has made this "quest" enjoyable. To see this area 20+ years later will be interesting and I'm looking forward to it. The long weekend we're planning to take will make sure that we have plenty of time and we are in no rush.

Now, what to do after this?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mission Accomplished

For Snakebite:

Not a great picture, but you can see the Dumvee in action -- that's a cooler full of beer and ice for our neighborhood night out block party. Rides like a dream...

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Nation of Scaredy-cats

Oh, fer cryin' out loud, will ya look at this.

Organizers for the Democratic National Convention and party leaders have touted the official greenness of the upcoming convention in Denver, including everything from biodiesel buses and recyclable materials to carbon counting.

But in the rush to secure everything green -— even setting up a “hybrid-only parking lot” at the Pepsi Center -— it seems one simple and fairly obvious LEED-certified step was overlooked: Installing bike racks.

Indeed, there will be no bikes allowed within the DNC perimeter of the Pepsi Center, nor at Invesco Field, where Barack Obama will deliver his acceptance speech, DNCC organizers confirmed this week.

Repeatedly citing the Secret Service and the Denver Police Department as making all security-related mandates, including not allowing delegates, volunteers and gathered media to park a bike within the convention perimeter, organizers said not accommodating leg-powered transportation is the exception to the rule when talking about the true greenness of the event.

But you can pull up to the venue in a SUV, no doubt.

Fuck them.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I dub thee...

Just returned from a Costco run with the Dummy and I must say I am really impressed. We loaded about 40 pounds of stuff (mostly fresh fruit and a 32 pack of Diet Coke for my junkie wife) and while chatting with a couple about commuting. The Dummy really is a conversation starter, but the chat started when I noticed the other fellow had a Trek Soho and that's a pretty cool bike.

The Dummy under load handles like a bike. I noticed a bit of a difference starting from a stop and the ride was a bit bumpier, but other than that, I was able to negotiate the crowded trails besides the lakes with ease. This is a damned impressive vehicle.

Also, the new Dummy has a name. Wednesday, while enjoying the fine products of Town Hall, the table was discussing bikes and the Dummy when an H2 went by. Mark the Carpenter noted that the bike is sort of like that, "It's a Dummvee."

Perfect. "The Dummvee" it is, then.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Unitarian Jihad

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Brother Molotov Cocktail of Fervent Patience. What's yours?

Mrs. Yam is now to be known as Sister Rail Gun of Contemplation.