Friday, July 27, 2007

Fun Photo!

File this under, "I'm SOOO sure this has never been done before!"

As cheesy and cliched as that is, I LOVE our city's monument. And I love it when friends visit and give me an excuse to be a tour guide! Thanks for coming ladies!

Hope you enjoyed your visit and enjoyed all the greasy fair food! Come back soon for another Jucy Lucy from Matt's! I know y'all don't have those out east.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Be a Friend of the Mississippi!

OK, so most readers of this (both of you) enjoy the Mississippi River. You run along it, stroll along it, take scenic drives along it, some of you even paddle in it! Well in a few weeks I too shall be paddling it, as part of the Mississippi River Challenge. This event is to benefit Friends of the Mississippi. This group works to clean the river and educate others on what they can do to keep it clean.

The event is a fun (still room left, so please join if you're interested) journey down the Mississippi from Coon Rapids (my old stomping grounds) Grey Cloud which is somewhere downstream of St. Paul, with an overnight at Ft. Snelling (my current stomping grounds).

I'm doing the paddle with my roommate Molly and we're raising money for this through this website: If you'd like to donate, please do so! Thanks for your support!

Here are some photos from a trip down the Mississippi Gorge that Tim and I did last year. It is such a different experience than running along the river. Being down in the gorge makes you forget you're in the city. Other than the bridge crossings, you feel like you could be miles from civilization.

Paddling the Gorge

Old Meeker Dam

In the Ford Dam Lock

Pike Island Bridge

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Pacific Coast Part I

This will have to be a multi-part post because we saw just too much to put into one post!

I'm still in LA (100+ today in the valley, can't wait to get back to Minny).


My aunt Barbie and cousin Jeff drove Joe and I up to San Francisco. Long trip, those two are troopers for driving there and back in the same day! We got to Fisherman's Wharf and spent some time tooling around, had some ice cream at Ghiradelli's (see photo below).

Our rule was ice cream EVERYDAY of the trip. We never failed to achieve that goal!

Then Joe and I started getting our bikes ready to make the ride from San Fran north to the campground in Marin Headlands. But before we even got going, Joe and I each had a flat tire!! Luckily, those were 2 of the 3 flats we had the entire trip (and the other was a really slow leak). Mechanically speaking, the trip was incredibly smooth.

After that ominous beginning, we started north to cross the Golden Gate Bridge to get to our campsite at Marin Headlands. The weather was clear and gorgeous (not typical San Fran weather), so we took our time, taking tons of photos.

Look at that skyline... and those legs!

Alcatraz... and a purse-snatcher????

That night we got to the campsite sort of late, and since no one was there to check us in, we set our tent up in the wrong spot and had to move it at about 10pm when the park ranger came around! And since by then the marine layer had settled in and it was in the 50s, it was not the best start to our trip! Luckily, the rest of the trip was really smooth!


We woke up and biked BACK across the Golden Gate Bridge and began making our way south along the coast, first through San Francisco, and then the suburbs to the south.

Mark Twain once said, the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Fran

About halfway through our trip for the day we came upon a stretch called the Devil's Slide, which is part of Highway 1 that is very steep, has no shoulder, is VERY busy with semis, and prone to landslides. It was definitely the most nerve-wracking part of the trip as we were slowly climbing this long pass with semis screaming by at times inches from us. But we passed through the fire and eventually made it to the other side, where the beautiful Half Moon Bay State Beach was waiting for us. Had some great pizza and ice cream and watched a beautiful sunset.


We woke up that next morning to COLD again. But the marine layer soon lifted and pleasantly never returned! For the rest of the trip we had perfect weather, never too hot or cold, and always sunny. We found out later that the rest of inland California was suffering through a major heat wave due to the nice weather we had along the coast. Worked out well for us!

That day we had a longer ride (60+ miles) to New Brighton Beach south of Santa Cruz. There were some hills and a lot of beautiful coastal scenery that day, and the wind picked up and blew us up over some pretty major hills and made for a nice day of riding. Once we got to Santa Cruz, however, the directions got murky and we lost our way a couple of times, so we were a little cranky by the time we reached camp. But we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset and some Sierra Nevada beer!

Day 4

This day we road south through the strawberry and avocado fields along the coast and into Monterey. The first part of the trip was gorgeous through rolling fields and interesting watching migrant workers do the tough but obviously communal work of picking our nation's fruit and vegetables. Very fascinating and eye-opening. The last part of the trip was kind of boring along highways but we were treated to a night at a motel (as opposed to campground. read: SHOWER!!!!)

Along the way we picked some illicit strawberries, delicious!!!

Me riding through strawberry fields south of Santa Cruz

That afternoon, since it was a shorter ride, I decided to take an extra ride around Monterey and see the sights while Joe rested at the motel. I toured through Cannery Row, and then onto the 17-mile road that goes by Pebble Beach and along the coast. I was following the directions in the book, but I read them wrong and my leisurely 19 mile planned route turned into a grueling 30 mile death march (Joe's phrase) through some major hills around Pebble Beach. It was gorgeous and quite worth it, just more than I had bargained for! In total, 72 miles on the day, by far the most I had ever ridden in one day!

Cannery Row, not quite as Steinbeck would remember it

That night we went down to Fisherman's Wharf and had the most overpriced and disgusting seafood I've ever had. It's a tourist trap, avoid it all costs! Well, take a photo of it and then move on. But that night we celebrated our ride with a bottle of Fat Tire (which should be sold in Minneapolis by the time I get home!!)

The harbor in Monterey at sunset

That's all for now, Days 5, 6 and 7 to follow!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Almost done!

Sorry for the lack of posts and photos, internet service has been non-existant, and NOT a priority. Most nights eating and sleeping is all I think about! The ride has been great so far! 300+ miles in, one long day of riding left. Big Sur was absolutely incredible. Photos and stories to follow!

Happy 4th Everyone!