Days Are Numbers, Watch the Stars

 

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One of my favorite Alan Parsons Project songs from the 80’s I suppose.  Another rainy, gloomy day so I’m reminiscing with pictures from last year.

“The traveler is always leaving town
He never has the time to turn around
And if the road he’s taken isn’t leading anywhere
He seems to be completely unaware”

I kind of like heading out with no particular destination in mind.

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“The traveler is always leaving home
The only kind of life he’s ever known
When every moment seems to be
A race against the time
There’s always one more mountain left to climb”

Hills.  Minnesota just has hills and I find I love climbing them.  I have always been attracted to tough, sometimes to my own detriment.

 

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“The traveler awaits the morning tide
He doesn’t know what’s on the other side
But something deep inside of him
Keeps telling him to go
He hasn’t found a reason to say no”

I’m not as adventurous as I was in younger years in that I cannot get myself to walk away from the security of a steady paycheck, but there still remains at least a spark of the old me! The lure of the unknown.

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“Days are numbers, watch the stars
We can only see so far
Someday you’ll know where you are

Remember
Days are numbers, count the stars
We can only go so far
One day, you’ll know where you are”

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I don’t know if I’ll ever care where I am so long as there is still somewhere else to go!  I suppose the day I actually know where I am will be the day I depart.

 

 

Another Gloomy Day in Paradise

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Is it too much to ask to have a couple days of sunshine this spring?  It feels like it has been gloomy since mid-January!  Enough!  I still went out for a ride after work yesterday but the gloom is getting to me.  The world is a better place with sunshine!

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Coon Rapids Dam on the Mississippi

I rode from Maple Grove to the Coon Rapids Dam, mostly on the Rush Creek Trail.  The trail is mostly flat, but there are enough ups and downs plus a lot of curves to keep the ride interesting.  I enjoyed spending a few minutes at the dam listening to the water before returning to Maple Grove.  I didn’t cross the dam this time because there was a fair amount of mist and I was already cold.

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I had planned to ride straight back without any picture stops but then a couple turkeys crossed in front of me so I had to stop and watch them for awhile.  Tanked my average speed in the process but oh well, what is the point in being out in nature if I never stop to enjoy?

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The last mile I shut off my phone app to let all that go and just pedaled along enjoying the sounds of birds singing.  The perfect ending for a ride, even on a gloomy day.

 

Minneapolis Meandering

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So many trails to choose from for a Saturday ride!  I briefly considered driving a couple hours to a trail before deciding, no, I would spend the day in my city instead.  I had some general ideas , maybe I’d ride this trail or that, but in the end I just headed north along the Mississippi and went with riding wherever I felt like at the moment.  The trike is a great machine for meandering!

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I checked out the new Viking stadium, I rode downtown streets, I crossed the Mississippi on 3 different bridges, I rode on trails I’d never noticed before.  It ended up being the type of ride I’d like to do more of this year, just wandering with no particular goal in mind, seeing whatever there is to see.

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Wandering around won’t get me to another 5000 miles this year, but maybe I’ll hit 5000 memories instead.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

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Rice Lake in Maple Grove, MN.  After work ride.

Finally!  Things are starting to green up and spring is definitely in the air!  This is the Minnesota I love!  Now I’m reading and thinking about what trails I want to ride today, tomorrow, or the next day, rather than in a few months or weeks; anticipating and planning is almost as much fun as the actual rides.

When I finish work for the day, there are now still enough hours of sunlight remaining for me to get in a comfortable ride if I choose. This year I’m planning to start pushing myself to do some late evening riding.  I have always timed my rides to be home before dark, but now I’m asking myself if this is always necessary.  Wouldn’t it be nice to pedal as the sun sets, to enjoy experiencing life as darkness descends?  I am such an addict, always wanting to add more triking hours to my life!

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I am discovering more trails close to work so at the end of a stressful work day I can just change clothes and ride away from the parking lot.  By the time I actually leave for home, all my work worries have receded and my mind is instead filled with the sights and sounds of the trails I’ve ridden.  Strange to think I worked in this location for almost ten years without realizing this incredible gift life had given me to enjoy.

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Moments like this, when I am rolling downhill on a smooth trail by a bright blue lake as the descending sun turns the world to gold, are moments of pure happiness.  And I was enabled to live to experience this!

 

My Love Affair

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Lake Pepin as the sun begins to set. Does life get any better or more beautiful than this?

I woke up yesterday to a beautiful Minnesota spring morning and the question of where did I want to go triking.  There were many options available, but as I am still not yet wanting to take out the ICE Adventure, I only considered trails worthy of the Fat Tad. Life has been depressing of late and I don’t think work could get any more awful so I needed to spend time with the love of my life, my beautiful Mississippi River.

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River bluffs.  Wish I had done a better job composing this shot, but maybe next time. I should have angled it more with the bluff more to the left and the tree more to the right for symmetry.  It is fun to pick apart my pictures and think about what might have made this really capture the eye. 

The Mississippi is called ‘Old Man River’ but I always refer to it as ‘she’.  She is the one to whom I can share all the ups and downs of life, she is the holder of all my dreams, and she understands why although I long to escape I have to let her do that for me since I am stuck right now.  I trust her to share my life. So, I packed up what I needed for the day and headed off to find a place along the Mississippi.  I so desperately needed her comfort.

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Even though it was a bit of a drive, I decided to head to Trempealeau, Wisconsin and ride the Great River State Trail. In reading the reviews it sounded like a rough enough trail for me to enjoy with the Fat Tad.  It didn’t end up having the river views that I originally had in mind, but I enjoyed the peacefulness of cycling through the marsh listening to the birds.  Theirs were the sounds of spring!

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I chatted with another cyclist along the way for awhile.  He was probably around my age.  We talked trails and life, kind of funny to share about the joy of cycling along with the disappointments of life with a total stranger, but perhaps it helped us both.  I get tired of the facade I’m expected to wear off the trails.  On the trail, my muscles can be screaming, my clothes can be soaked in sweat, and my hair matted with salt, but to other cyclists this is normal and I think they understand the smile on my face which mirrors theirs.  They understand my drive and don’t think I need to contain it. The salt lines on my clothes are visible proof to myself that I have accomplished something difficult that not everyone can do, and I need that knowing.

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I have this thing for bridges so I was quite excited knowing there was a trestle bridge up ahead.  I thought I might turn around after I crossed, but the trail beckoned me on so on I went.

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In time I turned around and headed back to my vehicle but I was in no hurry to return home.  To be able to experience such a day?  Who would want it to end any sooner than absolutely necessary?

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But inevitably the sun sets and I have no choice but to return.

 

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I just hope I was able to store up enough serenity to cope with life off the trails once more.

Lost Stars

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Trying to find some happiness right now out on the trails.  “God, tell us the reason youth is wasted on the young.”  [Lost Stars, Adam Levine]

Now that I’m older I wish I’d known sooner what I have realized so late along the way.  When I stopped my trike along the trail yesterday I saw a beaver swimming by the edge of the lake.  I’d never seen a beaver in the wild before so it was fun to watch before it sensed my presence and dove out of sight. In life if you get one of these moments of pure enjoyment you are fortunate.

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Chasing after a career, after money, after relationships?  More disappointment than not.  Being able to experience a moment of beauty in nature, a moment of tranquility?  Being able to pedal for miles and miles, seeing, hearing, smelling, all the things that usually escape our notice as we rush through life?  If you have these things, you have it all.

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Hopefully soon the sun will finally come out again, the grass will green up, the trees will bud, the breeze will blow warm instead of cold, and happiness will be easier to find along the way.  After barely riding for the past couple of months I’m anxious to spend long hours pedaling without freezing every time I stop!  Then all the insanity of life can fall away to the rhythm of revolving wheels and pedals as the miles pass by. There is nothing better.

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“Are we all lost stars, trying to light up the dark?”  Ha! We’re probably usually lost, but lost stars?  We flatter ourselves. So much time wasted trying to find some grand and glorious purpose to existing.  Most of us won’t accomplish one damn thing so best to just let it all go and pedal! “Who are we? Just a speck of dust within the galaxy?” That’s more like it.  It is all meaningless, so just go out and pedal.  Only then does life finally makes sense.  Screw work, screw money, screw people who think they have you trapped in whatever role they have decided you are required to fill. Pedal.  Leave it all behind. Instead of being a lost star, be a shooting star flying down a hill in absolute freedom!  If you crash along the way, so what?  You had that moment.

Reluctant Rider

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Still one of my favorite views of downtown St. Paul, MN

I’m tired of brown. It was fun riding through the snow on cold days.  It required a certain toughness and gave me membership in that winter cycling club. Riding in brown?  Anyone can do that!  I don’t feel inspired to ride through such a drab world but I feel guilty if I let a day with temps close to 60 pass me by without at least pedaling a few miles.

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A frozen stream coming from the bluffs above the Mississippi River

I decided to ride along the Mississippi River in Lilydale again.  It’s one of my favorite trails with nice views but usually not many cyclists. I was not in the mood for a serious ride, I just wanted to meander along and snap a few pictures along the way.

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I can relate to this old tree that looks to have been beat up a bit but still hanging in there.

I’m still not ready to take out the ICE, too much winter debris around that could lead to a flat tire.  There was one part of the trail that was rough gravel which was great fun with the fat trike.  I need to find whole trails like that!

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Houseboats are not really a thing here in the Cities which makes me wonder who owns these and how often they use them. I’ve never even been in a houseboat! I love the river, but I don’t think I’m tough enough to live on it!

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Busy beavers?

Guess I’ll stick to living on land and pedaling trails. I’m glad I got out there, but right now I’m just tired; tired of brown, tired of everything.