Everything but the bike……

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Hiking on the SHT through Enger Park.

It’s that busy time of summer. We enjoy the bounty of local foods. Susan has started calling August and September harvest season. We participate in a CSA (community Supported Agriculture) and get a weekly share. Susan does some gardening in our small urban yard. The past 7 or 8 years we freeze and can our way through these months. Putting away fresh, mostly local organic foods. Last weekend was blueberry picking weekend.

We make a day trip out of it. We drive a couple hours east along Lake Superior to the Bayfield Peninsula in Wisconsin to Highland Valley Farms. It’s a beautiful berry farm carved out of the North Woods nestled in a small valley. With 10,000 blueberry bushes you can pick till your hearts content. We also make a stop in Washburn at the Coco Bakery and Cafe for lunch. They offer both Gluten Free and Vegan options. A rare place both Susan and I can have multiple menu choices. Once home we freeze berries, I make GF/Vegan Blueberry pie, Blueberry jam, Blueberry lemonade, Blueberry pancakes, a second Blueberry pie…..it’s Blueberry heaven for a week or two. We picked about 35 lbs of berries. I normally make freezer jam. The past five years Susan has been learning how to can. So we took our jam making to a new level and canned the Blueberry jam. That way there isn’t jars of jam taking up freezer space.

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Blueberry jam in the basement pantry ready for winter.

All this to say is when the harvest is happening it takes priority. Cuts down on the bike rides. I used to go out for rides anyway. That left Susan with more than her share of the work. Now that I’ve learned how much I enjoy having this kind of stuff around during the winter months I’ve been putting in the work to help make it happen.

Friday I had to do a medical transport back to Duluth from Fargo, North Dakota for my job. That was an 11 hour day. I made the most of the drive. I’ve only made that drive a couple of times. It’s 250 miles straight west to Fargo. There are no freeways. The first 210 miles is all two lane roads through the North Woods. Much of it is National and State Forest lands, and Native American Reservations. It is also scenic lakes country. I only took a couple of pictures. Th highlight for me was crossing the Mighty Mississippi River. Although it hasn’t quite reached it’s “mighty” status here in Northern Minnesota. In fact, if you weren’t paying attention you wouldn’t even notice it.

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The “Mighty” Mississippi River not far downstream from it’s Headwaters.

I saw this drive as somewhat epic. Not only did I start this drive East of the Mississippi, cross the river and end up West of the great river, I also drove through 210 miles of the North woods of the Upper Midwest.

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Driving through a couple hundred miles of North woods.

The last 40 miles opened up onto the Great Plains of this massive continent.

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Reaching the Great Plains.

And eventually I arrived in Fargo. That’s right, the Fargo made famous by the Coen Brothers. You betcha!

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Arriving in Fargo after crossing the Red River of the North. A river that flows North.

I was fascinated at having this opportunity to drive across the state of Minnesota. Perhaps I’ve spent so many years traveling at the speed of a bicycle, that moving at 60-70 mph for five hours is a novelty to me.  Of course, the whole time my mind was wondering what it would be like to bicycle the same route.

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Ahwww, back to Duluth and the biggest of the Great Lakes.

Ever since I started to get back in to cycling more than a decade ago, my rides had become a priority. I sacrificed time with Susan to put on miles. We fell into a routine of me riding my bikes and she would spend time gardening and working on her interest in Fiber Arts. We’ve come full circle and are now making an effort to spend more time together. That usually involves hiking more than anything else. Yesterday was Saturday. We got out to enjoy some of the hiking trails and parks right in our own backyard. The Superior Hiking Trail now traverses the city of Duluth, mostly along the ridgeline above the city. It’s a 300 mile footpath that stretches from the Border with Wisconsin to the south, through Duluth and then heads to the Canadian Border following the ridges of Lake Superior. It’s one of the major reasons we moved to Duluth from the Twin Cities back in 2001.  The trail is now more 50% longer than when we moved here.

Today we parked west of Enger Park and did an out-and-back section that included Enger Park. It’s a gem of a city park situated on a high point above the city. It has an observation tower and elaborate gardens. Here’s some highlights from the day:

The gardens at Enger Park:

The Japanese Gardens at Enger Park:

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The mission for today. Run a few errands and then finally get out for a bike ride……

 

 

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