I just got back from spending a week and a half in Minnesota. I had an incredible time and took every opportunity to be active but I also was able to relax a little too.
While in Minneapolis, Andy and I had some really nice walks with Chester through the Lake of the Isles neighborhood. We also borrowed wheels from the in-laws and biked to a Twins game. I highly recommend using bicycles as transportation to the ballpark. There are lots of racks for parking and the trail leads right to it. The Minneapolis trails system is amazing! It is kept in great condition and is pretty well marked. You can get a variety of places without the hassle of finding and paying for parking. They are always in use by other cyclists, runners, walkers, rollerbladers and every other transportation sport imaginable, yet the traffic is much more tolerable!
The next leg of our journey took us to Ely and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We are accustomed to escaping the modern world by visiting my husband’s family cabin on Ojibway Lake. This year, we decided to really rough it and got entry permits for the BWCA. We packed the tent and all our gear in the canoe and took off into the pine-scented, loon-filled, awe-inspiring wilderness. We had several portages, the longest of which was 190 rods. That’s not quite two-thirds of a mile but when you’re carrying a canoe or double packs full of gear over rugged terrain, you get a pretty good workout! Our canoe adventures were accompanied by a lot of headwind. We saw some beautiful falls and serene forests. Chester seemed to really enjoy riding in the canoe and chasing ground squirrels.
Home is where the tent is!
View from our campsite.
One foot in front of the other…
After returning from the camping trip, we hung out a few more nights at the cabin. We went for some walks, took a few hikes, went swimming, took advantage of the wood stove sauna, ate some extremely fresh veggies and did a good deal of reading and relaxing.
We returned to civilization and spent some time in Duluth. Activities included walking the Lakewalk and the Congdon neighborhood with Andy’s parents, hitting balls at the driving range, playing with our triplet nieces, eating out at some good restaurants and even some cycling!
Prior to our first outing, Andy was inflating the tires on his parents’ bikes and they weren’t holding any air. I took a look and there was definitely some leaks in the tubes but the tires themselves were brittle and a couple had some chunks missing. So, we took off to a local ski and bike shop and inquired about 27 x 1 1/8″ and were quickly turned away. We went a few more blocks and checked out another ski and bike shop and they didn’t think they had any tires that size in stock but they called another shop to inquire if they did. It seemed there were only two tires that size in Duluth and we needed four. After a little online research and a quick call to my mechanic, Ed, we decided to bump up to the 27 x 1 1/4″ size. We went back in to the second shop and purchase four tires, four tube and a couple tire levers.
After our bike repairathon, I enjoyed two nice shorter rides with my husband. Our first trip took us north and east on the Lakewalk and then south and west on some on street bike routes. There were some nice views and some killer hills. The second trip was south and west on the Lakewalk to the Fitgers Brewhouse for lunch. A few fish tacos, an oatmeal stout and a wild rice burger later, we were back on the path and exiting a few blocks early so we could stair-step our way up the big hill.
The wind was strong enough that we were getting sprayed with the water from the waves crashing to the shore.
I went out on my own one day, riding from the Congdon area past Canal Park and down to the beach on Park Point. I rode the Lakewalk in it’s entirety and circled back in similar fashion to the first loop but I took a detour up Skyline Parkway’s Hawk Ridge for a nice view of the lake.
A shot from the beach on Park Point. I’m not sure where on the shoreline my starting point or Hawk Ridge would be.
Snapped from Hawk Ridge looking toward the Canal Park area and Park Point.
All in all, I rode about 40 miles in Duluth. I had a good time getting out and feeling the wind whiz (or glue me in place) as I pedaled. Even with the leg tiring hills, it really is a good place to ride. I will say that though the views are tough to beat, the trail system there is lacking. Besides the Lakewalk, most “trails” were either shoulders of heavy traffic streets or unpaved paths. I like the interconnectivity of Des Moines’ trails and how easy it is to get from one area of the city to another.
Have you gone on any vacations lately that had some fun rides or great trails? Let us know!!