Tour Day 1: Minneapolis – Cottage Grove, MN

This morning began all-too-early; after getting only four hours sleep on move-out-Friday, my friends Lanny and DeAnn then hosted a fantastic going-away party till late into last night. We pushed the launch-party brunch at Aster Cafe back 45 minutes and then enjoyed a leisurely ride through the glorious sunshine, late-summer-temperatures, and falling leaves, arriving a stylish 15 minutes late. Kevin and Bob had already secured a table for us on the patio, and we marveled at the unbelievably-good-for-October weather we’d been blessed with. DeAnn left early for a yoga-class, and her seat was shortly thereafter taken when Jim showed up, all three kids in tow. All too soon brunch was over, people were leaving and Jim offered me a hand. Momentarily speechless, I shook it.

What I’d been only dreaming of for 22 years had suddenly come to pass: not only had the open-ended tour begun, I couldn’t even thank him for the huge role he’d played in making today reality. (For those of you keeping up via the RSS feed, please take a moment to check the full site for the side-bars, including the donation button.)

We rode down East River Road towards St. Paul. At Lake Street Lanny and Bob peeled off, leaving Kevin and I to ride on. At Kevin’s house Kevin refilled my water bottles, we said our good-byes, and I was riding solo.

riding solo

The ride was thankfully uneventful, just my 110 pound bike and I seemingly alone in the world. I switched to polarized sunglasses and marveled at the way the colors switched to eye-popping intensity.

Downtown St. Paul

Downtown St. Paul came and went. My thoughts turned from my old home and friends in Minneapolis to the mighty Mississippi River, and the unknown ahead.

Mississippi River Trail sign

I saw my first Mississippi River Trail (MRT) sign, just before the first in a series of climbs along the way to my folks house in Cottage Grove. The trail along side US Highway 61 was frequently covered in fallen leaves, reminding me the August-like temperatures were but a temporary aberration.

At long last I reached my folks’ house, exhausted from the cumulative effects of insufficient sleep, sweat-drenched from the exertion of motivating 250 pounds of man and machine 37 miles, all while trying to ignore my growling stomach; brunch having become but a distant memory.

Following a much-needed snack, shower and dry clothes, my sisters showed up for one last meal together. When siblings re-unite they frequently seem to revert to a child-like state, and I found myself getting annoyed at their rambling stories and inappropriate behavior. Then I caught myself: the whole point of this tour was meeting other people, seeing how they lived, and accepting them as they are without judging them for being “different” from my pre-conceived notions. Naturally the evening came to an end all-too-soon; even though *I* may have time enough for lingering, most everyone else is still caught up in the rat-race, in the parlance of our times.

The evening wound down with much necessary screwing around: introducing my folks to skype, installing Linux (UNR) on my brand-spankin’-new-(referbished) Asus EEE PC1015PE netbook, and sorting out through boxes of stuff my folks had hauled from my house for storage.

While I may not know what lies ahead, I do know it will be an adventure.

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11 Responses to Tour Day 1: Minneapolis – Cottage Grove, MN

  1. Tamara Baker says:

    Good luck, Weeze! Keep in touch with Eric and with me. Don’t forget to check the Amtrak Status Map as needed (double check with Amtrak):

    And GET SOME SLEEP! Or I’m telling your mother!

  2. Darren says:

    Safe trails. Wish I had the balls to do what your doing.

    • Sean says:

      Thanks Daren,
      It’s mostly a matter of priorities: (at the moment, anyway) freedom and being able to pursue my dream of bicycle touring is more important to me than keeping up appearances or being on the spend-work-spend cycle. There is no sacrifice when you’re doing what you love.

  3. Shaun says:

    I hope that it’s a safe, happy, and exciting adventure Sean! Please do plenty of blogging to keep those of us who are stuck in the mundane nine-to-five posted on your goings on.

  4. Rob R. says:

    I’m sorry I missed your send off. I’ll keep up reading your posts. Good luck and don’t fall in with any bad people.

    • Sean says:

      Thanks Rob. I’ve hardly seen anybody on the road, so the chances aren’t likely. Or maybe only the wrong people would venture our this time of year. It’s hard to tell. :-)

  5. Mark Weisgram says:

    Good luck, I will be following your blog too, stay safe and have a blast out there.

    Mark W.

  6. Sean says:

    Thanks Mark!

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