"What Coincidence. Providence?" "No. This is Minneapolis." And reflections over
People make the trip. I've said that a couple of times over. But I think it was incredibly apparent in Minneapolis. We had such a great stay. We had such good company.
On the way in to Minneapolis Ben and I were riding on the "connector route" between the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus and the main campus in Minneapolis. We waved to cyclist on the way and said hello. He turned around and caught up with us to chat for a bit.
"Hey! Where you headed?"
"On our way to Seattle!"
"Wow! Knew I had to come and say hi. Just looked like you were going across the country. Where'd you start?"
We went back and forth for a bit before learning each other's names. Louis had just graduated from University of Minnesota. He lived underneath the Witch's Hat, the tall water-tower looking thing that we were about to bike by. Did we want to go watch the sunset? Sure! We let him know that we were planning cooking our dinner in a park. He offered us his kitchen. Off of the bike trail and on our way up the hill to see the sunset. Ben noticed that Louis had a divestment pin on his bag. Were you part of the movement? Do you happen to know Alex, our host? He did!! Question for us: Were we Udall scholars? Yes! He had been an honorable mention our year.
We all kind of laughed to ourselves as we biked up the hill. Managed to catch the sun just as it set behind the city-scape. Then we went over to Louis' house, took showers, cooked dinner and met his house-mates while we waited for Alex to get into the city. All of it felt so incredibly welcoming. Coincidentally.
It rained hard the next day. Had my bike looked while Alex, Louis, Ben and I all hung out for most of the day. We biked and ran through the rain to get some fresh veggies for a potluck at a church later in the evening. There we met up with the bike and build crew that we met on the road the day before. http://bikeandbuild.org/
After sharing dinner (and some of the best dessert I've ever had), we went to Surly Brewing Company for beers. We listened to Dr. Dog play a live show from the courtyard.
Bike trails have been laid all over the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Louis and Alex took me to a lake on Monday about a 20 minute ride from downtown. Learned very quickly what a relaxing summer day looks like in Minneapolis. Fell in love with the city. It has a farmer's charm.
Ride out the next day Ben and I had company. Alex and Louis biked about 20 miles outside of town with us into the town of Eden Prairie. We went swimming and ate lunch together before parting ways.
[Miss you two!! Thank you again for the wonderful adventure in MNPLS]
Spent the night just outside of Henderson, MN with our host Bob who opened up his home bike shop to help Ben fix some of his own bike maintenance issues. Over dinner we talked about weather predictions and climate modeling. While Ben and Bob were in the shop I fell asleep on the couch in the basement.
Short ride into Mankato the next day where we stayed with a family that had previously done a tour, on a tandem, through central america and to the southern tip of Argentina. Eric and Christie were so incredible. Spent a long time talking with Eric about energy policy and material efficiency in our economy. Won't soon forget those conversations.
Rode into Windom hoping to stay with a Couchsurfing friend. Ended up not hearing back from our host that night and camped in the town park. Watched the pickup softball games as we ate dinner. Wrote letters underneath the lights.
92 miles into Sioux Falls. We covered most of the distance in the morning. Overcast day. Was great, flat riding. John, host for the evening, is an avid cyclist who generously offered us spots in his basement for two nights. Wonderful meal.
Lessons that night about the taste of Scotch. John gave us a taste of his favorite whiskeys. Will never forget learning about the peat bogs of Scotland and the island of Islay. Laphroaig is now part of my vocabulary.
The summer of 2011 I drove across the country with my father. He was moving from Maine to Alaska. About a week and a half into the trip we met up with my step-mom and half-brothers in La Crosse. The day afterwards we drove into Sioux Falls. We visited the zoo and spent some time cooling off in Falls Park.
Riding around the city this morning found myself trying to tell Ben about that first experience that I'd had here. Funny how I remembered this place-- and the way that being here for a second time has sparked other memories of mine. A lot has changed in five years.