Saturday, November 30, 2013

First Ride with Q and his Green Ops. Pugsley

November ended with a beach ride along the Mississippi River near Hidden Falls Park.  40+ temperature competing with the ribbon of ice forming on both sides of the river channel.  We rolled rocks, floated over sand and did hike-a-bikes around fallen trees.  Jared started fat biking in 2009 when he purchased the Pugsley in the  foreground that I now ride.  His Moonlander sporting Bud and Lou  is to the left.Q's Black, green, Ops Pugsley on the right is a brilliant bike.  It was fun to ride fat with him for the first time.
Jared's flat ended the day.  Our only spare tube, a 2.3" downhill tube, was not up for the job of filling Lou.  We pumped it up, but it died whining .  Jared hiked up to a road while Q and I rode to the cars so we could drive over and pick him up.  All part of the fun and adventure.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bike Packing Along the Minnesota River Near Chaska

 Jared and I left his house about 5pm Saturday riding toward the Minnesota River.  After a climb out of his neighborhood, we had lots of fun downhill rolling.  We camped quite near where we overnight-ed last winter.
 This is the first outing with my new sleeping bag, waterproof compression sack and double stem front mounting system.  Every thing stayed brilliantly solid without issues.  
 Dinner was outstanding.  I made instant potatoes with bonito flakes for a bit of smoky umami.  Jared's angel hair pasta with olive oil and campfire toasted berbere spiced pine nuts won the backwoods culinary award of excellence.  Even cooler is the fact that he cooked the pasta on his homemade alcohol stove.  
 We gained an hour setting our clocks back while we were out.  Morning was a relaxing slow wake event.  A bowl of oatmeal and a cup of  instant coffee mixed with hot chocolate boosted my homeothermic system in the same way laying on a warm rock stirs a reptile.
 Jared is snug in his Mount Laurel Designs tarp tent.  I'm not sure of the temp. upon waking but the white in the background is frost.  My bivy/tent below had ice crystals on it when I crawled into bed.  Once again I was quite pleased with my sleeping bag.  The ground was soft, so I didn't take time to inflate my pad relying instead on my bag's insulation below me without the r4 of my insulated air mattress.
 Jared's tarp and bike below.  My bivy and bike above.
 Final shot of our loaded bikes as we were ready to ride out of camp after a night out.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Paul Bunyan State Forest Grouse Hunting

Tom and Tom and I enjoyed some North woods time last weekend having a perfectly wonderful time getting skunked while grouse hunting.  We saw  a fair number of birds, but they warily flushed far out of range.

Always great to walk in the woods this time of year where the dropped leaves unveil unexpected rewards like this twisty, blazing fungi.

 Weather was overcast and threatening rain while we spent time walking the woods on Friday and Saturday.  We stayed dry and enjoyed the hospitality at Tom's cabin.  His daughters aged 9 and 11 kept us entertained with handstands and giggles.
 A couple of years ago I helped move this vintage outhouse to its current location.  Seat warms up nicely after a few seconds.  I was hoping to shoot some black powder, but things became too soggy.  The gun was fun to look at in the tent anyway.
 Sunday's weather changed frosting my tent with a layer of snow.  The cold and a new sleeping bag which kept me warm on three cold wet nights has me me excited for weather to come.  
Even managed to put in the boat, dock and boat lift while visiting.  No need for grousing on this trip.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fall Tour 2013: Bikes, Food and Rain

 Steve's Gunnar looking at the rear end of my Long Haul Trucker.
 Jared's Salsa ready to take on anything.  Wins prettiest bike of the weekend.

Sean's Cannondale CycleX with Nob Trailer
 My Surly in the sumac.
 carnage and beans
 carnage and fire
 The wet ride home
 Q riding the single speed Surly Cross-Check like a Train.
A great trip; so glad we didn't let wet weather dissuade us.  Minneapolis to Carver Park 57ish miles round trip.  Lunch at Maynards in Excelsior, groceries in Victoria.  While in camp we shot sling shots grilled and hung out.  Q made us "mix tapes" or almost 39 gigs, and Sean had trouble with his zipper.  Very wet on the ride back.  10 miles into the return breakfast at McDonald's hit the was perfect.  I ended each day wanting more riding which is a hallmark of a brilliant trip.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bike's all geared up for 2013 Fall Tour

Lots of packing considerations with rain threatening.  Waterproof or waterproofed bags all around.  Dose of wet lube on the chain.  Rain gear positioned for easy access.  Looking for a great ride from Minneapolis to Carver Park.  Movie and book ready on my phone if extended tent time is prudent.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My Bike on

Here's the LHT on

No whinging about it not being a drive side photo.  Left sides deserve press too.  I can't post a picture so you have to follow the link

Claire and Harris kids on the same rock.  Look how small they are.  I like their bikes too.

Link to original blog post on the trip.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mt. Biking with Harris on the Minnesota River Trail.

 Harris and I took advantage of the cool afternoon to ride the Minnesota River Trail.  He was excited to go over Nine Mile Creek on the ferry, but was not disappointed to find this new tree-bridge crossing.  He moved from bank to bank like a champ.

Most of the trail was firm and fast.  Harris powered through sand traps and learned to attack log crossings.  He did end up reclined in the stinging nettles after failing to square up to one log, but he bounced right up.  His hard work during cross country running practice is paying off.  
Harris taking a break on the way back to the start.  It won't be long until he is waiting for me on the trail.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion

Every Labor Day weekend the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion is held in Rollag, Minnesota.  Prior to WWI giant steam tractors tilled the earth.  A score or more of these puffing giants roamed the grounds this past weekend.

Steam gave way to kerosene and gas powered tractors.  "The Pioneer" made in Winona, Minnesota is 101 years old.  
Below is the cockpit of another post steam tractor.  Instead of roaring. the engines of these early machines chugged along at a few hundred revolutions per minute.  I could watch each valve patiently wait its turn to let in fuel or let out exhaust.

This was an especially fun trip because my father had a a 1946 Dodge Truck with factory John Deere trailer and plow attached.  He also had a 1931 Ford Model A and a 1936 D John Deere tractor in the parade. I drove the Model A in the first parade and the Dodge in the second.  
I stalled the engine of the truck on a hill right in front of the grandstand,but remembered Dad's advice to use the parking brake in conjunction with the throttle and clutch to get it moving again.  

The grounds displayed more than just tractors and vehicles.  
 We took a ride on this full sized steam locomotive.  The picture below shows Dad's truck  and car from inside one of the rail cars.
Another large area of the grounds held the "Sand Box."  Several steam shovels and vintage dump trucks played around moving piles of sand and dirt back and forth. 
 The Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion is more than a view of the past; the smell of wood fires mixed with the sweet sulfurous odor of burning coal along with the puffs, chugs and roars of big machines make this an event for all the senses.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Minnesota River Ride "Four Bridges"

I hadn't ridden the river bottoms for some time; ended up wading on the previous two outings in the area. Other than a few soggy spots the trail has dried up nicely with some long sections of sand traps that make it a good trail for fat tires.
I started from Sibley House with the goal of reaching the 35W.  I thought of this ride as the "Four Bridges" ride as the route passes under the 55, 494, Cedar, and 35W bridges.
Here's the Cedar Bridge.   Below is the map of my ride.  You will see that tangles of brush, disappearing trail and darkness turned me around before my goal.  Hence, I made a spur visit to the Old Cedar Bridge to still make four bridges.  I rode out before dark and  returned with headlights making an out and back course seem like a loop.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Back from the Mountains

 Kids and I spend several nights in these accommodations.   I used the single person tent; Claire and Harris shared the two person.  
 Great views from the East Rosebud Drainage in the Bear Tooth Wilderness.  (note the bear spray)

Harris looking manly.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Car News: Exotic and Plebeian

It's been a joy to have this 2013 Nissan GT-R for the last week.  I drove it to the Cities for some routine service for my cousin.  The Nissan dealership's is currently without a certified GT-R mechanic, so I've been "stuck"with the car.

Played around with photo editing on this shot.

Front and rear views.  Here are some specs for the technically minded.  This car is rated 0-60 in 2.7 secs.  I drive it fairly mildly as I don't want a ticket or damage.

 I'm also excited about the new 22 cubic foot cargo carrier for our Forester.  REI had it in their scratch and dent section with slight damage in the back from shipping. an easy repair shaved almost 300 dollars off list.  We will be loading up for a family camping trip this weekend.  Not fast, but it does haul more gear than the Nissan.