Thursday, July 31, 2008

Baggie tagged me...

Old Bag tagged me with the following questionnaire that's been wanderin' 'round these hyar Inter-toobs:

If you could have any one -- and only one -- bike in the world, what would it be?

I haven't yet ridden all the bikes in the world, so I cannot make an informed choice as to which one I'd ride. But since that answer isn't in the spirit of the question, the one bike I'd ride is a levitating, jet-powered Big Dummy with twin .50 calibers on the back and a cooler.

Do you already have that coveted dream bike? If so, is it everything you hoped it would be? If not, are you working toward getting it? If you’re not working toward getting it, why not?
I've got the Big Dummy, but acquiring the twin .50 calibers is proving itself mighty difficult. I haven't started working on the levitation yet, but I have an idea where to score some jet packs.

I have a cooler.

If you had to choose one -- and only one -- bike route to do every day for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why?
One bike and now one path? These aren't questions about something that one enjoys, this is setting yourself up as a stand-in for Sisyphus. What a stupid question.

What kind of sick person would force another person to ride one and only one bike ride for the rest of her / his life?
The Greek Gods and whoever dreamed up this quiz.

Do you ride both road and mountain bikes? If both, which do you prefer and why? If only one or the other, why are you so narrowminded?
Is the Big Dummy a mountain bike? Is the Bleriot with big tires on a fire road a street bike? Is an ancient Schwinn mountain bike converted to a single-speed commuter still a mountain bike? I ride bikes, and the epithet narrowminded from someone who wants me to ride one bike on one road for the rest of my life has no meaning.

Have you ever ridden a recumbent? If so, why? If not, describe the circumstances under which you would ride a recumbent.
No I haven't, but I'm willing to learn

Have you ever raced a triathlon? If so, have you also ever tried strangling yourself with dental floss?
Look at the title of this blog -- I may be fat, but I'm slow. My knees are barely speaking to me, so running is out. If chased -- I fight, I can't run. I can swim but I don't really like swimming in lakes and I'm too fat for aero bars.

Suppose you were forced to either give up ice cream or bicycles for the rest of your life. Which would you give up, and why?
What's with the absolutes? What small, cruel world do you live in? The universe is large enough for both ice cream and bikes. But, if pushed, ice cream goes.

What is a question you think this questionnaire should have asked, but has not? Also, answer it.
Boxers or briefs? I rarely wear underwear and when I do it's usually something unusual.

You’re riding your bike in the wilderness (if you’re a roadie, you’re on a road, but otherwise the surroundings are quite wilderness-like) and you see a bear. The bear sees you. What do you do?

He rambled up over the hill
expectin' me to do one of two things,
Flip or fly, I didn't do either one

Now, tag three biking bloggers. List them below.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Don't get smart with me (or, I've been Dummified!)

Stopped by to see the fine lads at HCHQ and, will any luck see the progress on the next acquisition. Mrs and I stroll in at 7:01 (just opening the door before Jim could slam it and lock us out) and there before my eyes, a nearly-complete Big Dummy.

My nearly-complete Big Dummy...

With the olive-drab color and the sand colored Fat Frank tires, it looks sort of military. Something out of rat patrol, maybe. I need to wear an Aussie Bush hat when I pick it up.

Nah, that'd be dorky. And the Mrs doesn't abide dorky.

Do ya, hon?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Noo Shooz

Mark at HCHQ brought to my attention the lack of tread on the rear tire of the Bleriot. I'd also noticed that the back end would skid a little, making me less confident in turning at speed. So I have now reshod it with a new pair of Nifty Swiftys.

My goodness, what a difference.

The ride is a bit harder, but the (slightly) thinner tires run quieter and grip like the Col de la Vies never did. I also like that they're essentially slicks -- hence the silence. Let's hope they wear a little longer than the previous tires did.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

E-rag shows off Xtracycle

Salon has an article today about the author's use of his Xtracycle. It's a light fluffy piece for the most part, but it does give an idea of how these things work.

Not that I know. Yet. I've given Jim loan of credit card and he's (hopefully) gathering the parts for my new Big Dummy. I may eventually get the blender, too.

Helmet tip to my buddy, imotoraway.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ethanol = no fish

No catfish for you

LELAND, Miss. — Catfish farmers across the South, unable to cope with the soaring cost of corn and soybean feed, are draining their ponds.

“It’s a dead business,” said John Dillard, who pioneered the commercial farming of catfish in the late 1960s. Last year Dillard & Company raised 11 million fish. Next year it will raise none. People can eat imported fish, Mr. Dillard said, just as they use imported oil.

As for his 55 employees? “Those jobs are gone.”

Corn and soybeans have nearly tripled in price in the last two years, for many reasons: harvest shortfalls, increasing demand by the Asian middle class, government mandates for corn to produce ethanol and, most recently, the flooding in the Midwest.

Except for making ADM and Cargill rich, has ethanol done anything? All we're doing is turning diesel into ethanol...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday is one hell of a way to spend a seventh of your life

Because I'm back from vacation and I'm having a hard time concentrating...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Storms, wind and failure

Friday dawned rainy and muggy. A perusal of cable channels and the site showed that temperatures were due to be in the low 90's and dewpoints in the 70's with severe storms in the afternoon. We set up this trip with a some time to spare in case of bad weather, and we decided to use that day today. We signed up with the desk of the casino hotel for another night and went back to sleep.

Entertaining ourselves at the casino consisted of sleeping, watching TV, wandering around the complex and sleeping. Naps were necessary since we were beginning to feel pretty spent and the humidity was taking a lot out of us. We ate breakfast and then spent some time in the workout room and here we were oddly not interrupted. We wandered down to the bar for a drink or two before "Prime Rib" night at the buffet. After a couple of drinks, we felt sufficiently numb for the spectacle that was the casino's buffet.


This is a blog called Fat Boy Biking. As advertised, I'm not slim, but I'm much better than I was and I'm in at least good enough shape to ride around Minnesota, as we're learning. But watching the herds of gooey Midwesterners filling their slavering maws at an all you can eat buffet, made me feel absolutely emaciated. Watching a 13 year old girl (already pushing 200+ lbs) go for her third double-fisted trip to the dessert bar is horrific and compelling. Seeing the rest of the family gives me a fairly good idea of where she learned her dietary habits. I imagine geese getting ready to become Fois Gras with a better sense of self-control than the folks in this room. It does wonders to appetite to see this and I'm tempted to bring a camera and film it and to sell the tapes as weight loss aids. Oh, the the prime rib sucked, too.

Feeling a bit queasy, we walked around the complex to check out the weather and satisfied that a storm was indeed on its way, headed back to the room to watch the local weatherpersons work themselves into a lather. From the fifth floor and facing west, it was patently obvious that something big was coming, and the high pitched squeals from the TV only cemented it for us. Around 8:00 PM, we could see the approaching squall line and the winds whip the trees. The fury of the storm descended, with the violence almost completely obliterating the view from our window. Then, as quickly as it had arrived, the sun showed through the clouds and we witnessed a beautiful sunset. Glad I wasn't biking through that...

We watched TV until the storm had passed into Wisconsin and Robot Chicken was over and then got ready for our last leg of the journey. We were warned that the weather would be "cool but windy," but we had no idea how windy "windy" was. We slept and looked forward to getting home.

We awoke early, packed, breakfasted and left and headed directly into the wind. "Windy" consisted of soul-grinding gusts howling directly at us. The roar in my ears sounded like a laugh track of the gods, punishing me for my hubris on the century the Wednesday previous. We covered 11 miles the first hour, and finally, blessedly, we turned away 90 degrees and into some tree cover to some respite from the tempest. When you have to pedal hard to go downhill, you're in for a long, difficult ride.

The forces of nature decided to team up with fate this morning and my squeaking handlebars, clicking crank were now joined by a more ominous sound, some new tick from the back wheel. After we stopped for lunch in Braham ("the Homemade Pie Capital of Minnesota" we were cheerfully told by the city's sign), things sounded much, much worse. I had developed a crack in the side of my rim that was clearly separating and spreading. The wind had taken a lot out of me, but the various noises from my bike had been joined by the cracked rim and a vicious wobble from the front of the bike and these destroyed what was left of my will. I was beaten.

I called my brother to see if he was available, and luckily I turned into an excuse to leave the Anoka County Fair for a rescue operation. I told him to meet us in Cambridge, the next town of any size in the area. I was going to limp along the final ten miles and hoped that the stricken bike would make it. A seemingly endless uphill against the wind for the 45 minutes it took to reach the Perkins was enough time to have him join us and load the bikes into his pickup. We drove back to Minneapolis and he dropped us off at home. Getting home in an hour certainly made me feel even worse after I figured it would have probably taken us over six hours of riding and who knows how many stops to cover the same distance. We showered, went to Town Hall for a drink and then took my Mom out for dinner to thank her for looking after the dog.

I'll probably write more about this later after I digest what happened and find out what needs to be repaired and maybe why it broke. I was willing to ride against the wind to finish this ride and that's because Mrs Yam wasn't about to stop. But I didn't finish it on my bike and that leaves me disappointed and sad for the failure to complete our journey. 430 miles isn't bad, but it isn't the 490, but I have an idea to do a day trip up to Cambridge and back to close the loop. Right now though, it probably won't be for a while as I'm pretty sunburned, weary and just plain grumpy to consider it seriously.

Time for bed -- my bed. That helps this day go down. I think I'll stay off the bike for a day and work on my gardens.

Good night.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A day off and the Munger trail

We're now in the casino in Hinckley and this isn't a place that we're used to at all. If you are a person that likes the structured and sterile "fun" that a Disneyland provides, this place may be for you. More on this later.

Duluth was great, as usual. We had absolutely exquisite weather with warm sun and cool air. We didn't do much; sleep in, wander around and just sort of be off the bike and rest the legs a bit. They had a something going on called "Sidewalk Days" where Superior Street was blocked off for a couple of blocks west of Lake Ave and the local merchants had their wares on display in the street and games, rides and food.

We then walked down Superior to W-Trek outfitters to check out their gear. I like the store and we met the owner the last time we were in Duluth. He remembered us and asked if we finally decided to drink the whisky. We had indeed followed his sage advice and cracked the MacCallan -- any time you drink a 25 year old whisky is a special occasion. I bought a cool t-shirt and then we wandered away for a little lunch.


We had a snack and a Margarita at Casa del Sol, enjoying the effect of the cool air and the tequila. The chips were welcome too. We then wended our way to Fitger's to see what was going on, looking into the shops and eventually perusing the beer list (I had brought a Nalgene growler and I wasn't going off empty-handed). Duluth commuter champeen Doug returned my call and we set up a time to meet for dinner up the hill.

We had a lovely dinner at the Chester Creek Cafe and it was a real nice change from the lowest common denominator food in Canal Park. Doug and Susan are very pleasant and interesting people who have quite the story -- quitting everything and spending time hiking the entire Appalachian Trail was quite inspiring. We chatted about biking, life, composting (I learned about worm juice!) and food among other things. We ended up closing the place and they were kind enough to drop us off at Fitger's so I could fill my growler. We then went back to the hotel and slept -- tomorrow was another bike day.

Thursday dawned cloudy and cool with the promise of rain. Since this is July, we didn't bring much in the warm clothes department and the water was the last thing we needed was to have waterproof and warm clothes. So it goes. We crossed Duluth and rode out to the Munger trail head through the part of town that actually works for a living, quite the change from the boutiques and restaurants of Canal Park. I'll have to tip my helmet to Duluth for the bike lane signs that they put up, signs that point out how to get to different parts of the city and arrows showing the way, not unlike Portland.

We found the beginning of the trail and started heading out to Carlton -- a 15 mile climb that you really don't notice since it's an old railroad bed. As we rode through the rocks just out of town, I saw something I doubted I'd ever see with my own eyes, Minnesota's state flower, a Showy Lady's Slipper! These are rare as they don't set seed often, have a habitat that is not really found anywhere near where people tend to be and don't usually make it to flower since they're a tasty treat for deer. But here it was, just next to the trail plain as day. They are as beautiful as the pictures portray. As I was taking pictures, a local couple riding by stopped and we chatted. A couple more pictures and back on our way.

The Munger trail is an old railroad bed that has been paved and so the best description is dull. No turns, no hills, no nothing. After you leave the port area and pass over the St. Louis River, no much happens except miles. You climb to Carlton and are welcomed by a filthy pit toilet and a picnic shelter with a sign that says that you can't put your bikes in there. Welcome to Carlton, indeed.

We pedaled through a light rain along the Northern border of Jay Cooke State Park which managed to chill us down even farther. The rain eventually stopped, and we biked through the damp forests and fields until we finally found a place to get some lunch in Mahtowa. There isn't much left here, but the proprietor of the little store had the decency and foresight to make a welcoming place for cyclists with benches, a clean bathroom and good snacks. I'd recommend this as a model for towns to attract riders and help make tourism a way to create a little revenue.

On through a bit more drizzle through Barnum and a stop for an iced mocha in Moose Lake. By now, the sky was beginning to clear and the sun felt quite good. Not much else happened, just pedaled the miles away. Neither of us were feeling all that strong and the ride is pretty, but dull, so there was nothing really inspiring except finishing and getting some dinner. There is a bit of interesting trail around Rutledge -- it actually turns quickly and climbs and falls. Oh, and the Black Flies come out there too...

This turned out to be the inspiration we needed to keep going. The little bastards were taking large chunks out of me (apparently, I'm tastier than me Mrs) and they were landing in the holes of my helmet and I really didn't want that. 15 mph was fast enough to keep them from landing, so we busted ass to keep them away. Between the fast finish, the humidity, the cold and the boredom, all we wanted to do was to finish, shower and eat. We finally made it to Hinckley and the Casino and we were quite happy to get a room and crash. We opened the growler (the 20/20 IPA) and toasted our survival and cleaned up for dinner.

We were both pretty zapped from the ride and Mrs Yam even more than I. The beers and and fatigue created a sort of surrealistic haze as we entered the casino. I don't gamble (with a degree in Math, you learn that you really don't win) and the creepy vision of row upon row slot machines with old people poking buttons completely detached from their surroundings. The first suck--, uh patron, was a woman with an oxygen bottle tapping at a machine like a rat smacking a feed bar. Wading through this hypnotized humanity to get to the buffet, I sort of felt like Hunter Thompson.

Dinner was really weird. We were starved from the road, but LCD food yet again -- a sort of Old Country Buffet as designed by Starbuck's. If an all you can eat steak buffet doesn't look good after 85 miles, you're doing something seriously wrong. After eating half of my steak, I could confirm that they were indeed doing something wrong -- all that would go through my addled mind was Rodney Dangerfield's lines in Caddyshack.

We ate the other stuff and wandered up to bed. Mrs Yam was asleep in literally seconds after hitting the bed, while I watched Jon Stewart for a couple of minutes before dropping the remote a couple of times, thus convincing me to go to sleep also.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Easiest. Century. Evah.

100 miles is easy. All you need is a good road, a good breakfast, a good riding partner.

Oh, a 15-20 mile per hour tailwind.

We left the cabin early in the morning with the promise of a good tailwind, a partially cloudy day and cool temperatures -- perfect biking weather. We rolled into Grand Rapids and some groceries and then to the neat coffee shop they have there called "Brewed Awakenings." The woman behind the counter had heard of our journey from Mrs. Yam's sister and set us with a couple of large iced mochas and some cookies. We then went to the bike store and got some gloves (we started losing feeling slightly in a couple of fingers), checking tire pressure and tightening the stem on my bike as it had developed a nasty creak.

Highway 2 is surprisingly pleasant to ride on; good shoulder, considerate traffic and a beautiful view along the way. We stopped for water breaks, ice cream and lunch but no need for the long rests that we needed Sunday. The difference in the temperature was as important as the tailwind; 73 and dry versus 88 and humid. We followed the highway until we got to Proctor and then headed for the Skyline Parkway as suggested by Duluth routemaster Doug.

Skyline parkway is a road that runs along the ridge overlooking Duluth, a road that twists and turns and climbs and falls like nothing in the Twin Cities. There are no straight sections and the potential oncoming cars had Mrs Yam a bit unnerved. The road is in fairly bad condition but the views are magnificent, but not enough to keep us from wanting off. Unfamiliarity with the road and heavily laden bikes are not the ingredients you should be adding to this stew. Since we're staying in Canal Park, we decided to turn down Lake Ave and head to the hotel.

Yeep! It's straight friggin' down! Not sure on how to handle this, I thought that we'd just switchback down the street; down a block, over a block, down a block, etc. But the thought of that descent of the first block was too much for Mrs Yam and she hopped off her bike and hoofed it down the eight blocks to Superior St. The walk is nearly as treacherous as the ride. I don't know how y'all ride in this town...

We got to the bottom alive (much to the Mrs' relief) and found out that we were a mile and a half short of a century, so we headed up the boardwalk trail and back to round it out. The last 10 miles had really worn on me darlin' Mrs and she seemed quite pleased to check in and shower.

In all honesty, me too...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Up to the Northland

I write this from the deck of the cabin on Bass Lake ust north of Cohasset, Minnesota. Mrs Yam and I persevered and found our way up here yesterday evening, for a total of 214 miles. We ended the ride by coasting down to the lake and throwing ourselves in, causing much consternation for a woman and her children who seemed to think that we intruded on their beach. Sorry to harsh your mellow, sister.

The first day we declared our independence. Cliche, I know, but to mount the bikes and confound the in-laws by stating that we're biking and we'll meet you in Grand Rapids. No, we don't need a ride. No, it doesn't sound as bad as you think. In fact, we're looking forward to it.

It's a test. When my darlin' bride suggested that we bike there, I was apprehensive. Not that I doubt my ability -- self delusion is a very powerful protective measure -- but I feared that she wouldn't be able with the bike she rides to work. A visit to the fine folks at HCHQ and the addition of a LHT to the family assuaged my equipment fears. We've been riding daily to work and for errands, but these would be the longest days we've ever ridden together. Could we mount the bikes the second day? How would the weather behave? Technicals await? Would we even be speaking to one another? The bikes were built for the miles, but would our tender legs and marriage survive the ride. No amount of self-delusion would stay my nagging concern.


We mounted up and started our journey on an extraordinary day, cool morning, steady tailwind, and not a cloud in the sky. We fortified ourselves with iced mochas and bars from Urban Bean and amazed a legshaver with our plans to ride to Northern Minnesota. He seemed pretty surprised that a couple of Freds could ride that far. Through an abondoned downtown to Second and followed the bike lane until we hit a path I had never seen before, which led to a nature park along I-94 around 49th that was stunningly gorgeous. Wildflowers everywhere and some of the nicest people I've met in the Park System. We'll definately be going back.

From the park we followed the path along the river and crossed on 694. This was a mistake as we eventually lost the path I was trying to follow. We ended up in Coon Rapids and we ended up on a busy road into Anoka. We had lunch and met another of the many looks of disbelief when we told the waitress of our plans. Good wishes were offered and we left. Through suburban tracts and traffic and they thinned to farms and open fields. The weather was still nice and we were making pretty good time. We stopped in Nowthen for an iced mocha -- a convenience store creation from a machine -- and chatted with a couple out on their Harley, just riding around enjoying the day. Can't blame them, really. Well, except for the Harley, but more on those later.

A stop for Mr. Mistys, uh, Arctic blasts now I guess, in Princeton and a stop to marvel some tasteless inflatable yard ornements. We eventually pulled into Milaca and our hotel around 7 PM, showered and had dinner. We called our moms and went to bed, surprised and satisfied with our day. We wondered how we would do tomorrow, but there was hours of sleep between now and then and we'd come across that soon enough.

The next day found us feeling great and eager to go on. Continental breakfast and we were off. It was hazy and the promise of humidity was in the air and the sun was already warm. The course I had plotted has us parallel 169 on county roads until Onamia where we'd ride by Mille Lacs-Kathio State Park and onto 169 to get around Lake Mille Lacs. The problem is, the maps never tell you the surface of the road and the trip to Onamia was on gravel. This slowed us down a lot but we did see some beautiful things, fields, marshes and the beginings of the coniferous forests of Northern Minnesota. About two miles from Onamia, we turned west onto another gravel road, this one far more loosely packed than the previous 23 miles worth and on a loaded touring bike, loose-pack is treacherous. I almosed biffed it when I misjudged the condition of the side and sank into the sand, causing me to almose lose the bike as it slid out from underneath me. The consolation of this was the butterflies -- thousands of little black butterflies were on the side of the road and as I passed, they took flight delighting me darlin' Mrs who was riding through them.

We got a call from the in-laws asking us where we were and much to our surprise, we would be in Onamia at the same time for lunch. We crossed 169 on the Soo Line ATV bridge, washed up and met them as they pulled into the parking lot. We related tales from our journey thus far and our route plans, good wishes were wished and we parted company. We headed west out of Onamia and past the park, stopping for water and conversation with the rangers at the desk. We took the old 169 along the lake to avoid the traffic the best we could, but there were times when we had to ride on shoulder of the highway. Barely muffled trucks with headers pulling boats, packs of Harleys with straight pipes and general vacation traffic was bordering on nerve-wracking.

We trudged on, the road hot from the sun and humidity and wind extracting and carrying off our life essence as we rode through the hell that is 169 in summer. A stop in Garrison for chocolate milk, fruit and candy bars brought back some life and we gamely soldiered on. After the Y in the road to Brainerd, traffic thinned noticeably and we continued on mostly unmolested by the loudest and most awful of the vehicles. I had originally planned to take some more country roads that paralleled 169, but since the worst had passed, we decided to take the direct route up 169 to Aitkin.

After an hour of pedalling, we made it to our hotel but decided that we would have a drink before checking in. A drink turned into another and soon we were ready to order dinner. Mrs Yam checked in, I ordered two prime rib dinners and a couple more drinks. Gosh, those gin and tonics were refreshing. The rib arrived and, well, left almost as promptly as they appeared. Biking does give one a bit of a hunger, doesn't it. We carried our bikes up the stairs to our room under the disbelieving eyes of the children in the entryway, unpacked, showered and slept. We needed to get ready for t
he worst ride yet.

As hot as Saturday was, we were nowhere near as prepared for Sunday's swelter. The tailwind that we had with us for the last two days turned on us. The hot, sticky wind would be our demon -- seemingly in our faces no matter which way we headed. The temperatures were as hot as the previous day, but the humidity was greater and the swamps that lie between us and Grand Rapids offered no shelter from the wind or sun. A long hard slog. When it was first suggested that we bike to the cabin, this was the ride I feared; bugs, sweltering heat, wind and scrub. Here, I realized my nightmare ride. After an hour, we stopped for some water and rest under a little shade and I could tell that we were going to have to ride the ride Mrs described as "the mental part." To quote me Mrs, "the first leg is easy because it's new, the second day would test our bodies after the first day but the third day would be the mental day." Yes, yes it was.

The heat and the boredom were starting to really get us, the water was almost gone and the squeaking from my chain from yesterday's ride through gravel was grinding at my psyche. We stopped speaking to one another and just kept going. There isn't much in the line of civilization up here and just about the time I was about to turn into a raving, gibbering idiot, we stumbled across a bar. Like an oasis, it was the only thing at the intesection of 169 and Nowhere, but it wasn't an illusion. It had water and air conditioning and Bloddy Marys and cold Coke and beer. We listened to the local drunk tell his stories to the regular patrons, got differing opinions on the distance we've yet to ride, but it was magnificent.

We filled our bottles, thanked everyone and pressed on. The heat and stickiness were still there, but it didn't seem as oppressive as it did an hour ago. We pedaled for an hour to Hill City, had lunch at a charmless roadside bar and pressed on. Along the way, I thought that it might be be better if we went around the west side of Pokegama and arrived at Cohasset from the south instead of riding through Grand Rapids to highway 2. Just before the turnoff, we found yet another roadside bar with a helpful bartender and a some drunk lady that kept offering to draw us a map, and would stop, slurring "Honest to God, I'd hate to see you get lost" and then look for a piece of paper and then tell us to go through Grand Rapids. Then the show would start over again, with another slurred request for piece of paper, the feeling of guilt at our potential dislocation, and the directions to Grand Rapids. After this occured several more times, we politely said good bye and ducked out in a hail of "Honest to Gods" and "lemme getcha a maps" and mounted our bikes. The bartender came out and commented on our "ten speeds." We thanked him and rode the last half dozen miles down 169 (his suggestion) to Grand Rapids.

We picked up some sodas and fruit at a grocery store and played "spot the local/tourist" as people came in from the parking lot. We also had a pleasant conversation with a fellow from Iowa who was a bicyclist also. We spoke to the Lake People and told them that were were on our way and that we were in Grand Rapids. They didn't bother to tell us that cabin was a full eight miles from Cohasset and that messed with our heads. We were under the impression that the lake was nearby Highway 2, but instead it felt that we kept riding and riding and that we would never get there. It was then that a search party made its first contact with us -- a brother and his daughter were on bike and told us we weren't far. We headed back with them as our escort and eventually a crowed cheered us into the resort. They directed us to the lake and glided to the water and we dismounted and dived right in. Beers and dinner and tales of the road followed and and head shakes and muttered lines of "you're nuts" and "I can't believe you did it." We fell asleep to the sound of loons happy in our successful conclusion.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The epic journey begins

Tomorrow, me darlin' Mrs and I load up the Bleriot and the LHT (henceforth to be known as the Green Goddess, as christened by MDM) and head north to Grand Rapids, Duluth and back on a bicycling vacation. Three days to GR, a century to Duluth (even if we have to do circles in the hotel parking lot to reach 100 miles) and then two days back.

Hope to post pictures and stories from the road as the week progresses. Also, we hope to spot the Great Northern Minnesota Crested Commuter (aka MNBicycleCommuter; aaka Doug) whilst in Duluth. Here's crossing my fingers that the weather holds and the pinch flat ghoulies are elsewhere...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


for $10,000.

Jim, put on the lycra I like so much, I'm comin' to chat...