Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘bike tour

Touring Little Falls

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It usually feels good to get back on the road again after the day off. I have no idea how it will feel for me this year, because my pre-trip training was far short of ideal.

My pre-trip blog preparation also fell short, so I am now posting from my tent. Ugh.

I love… settling into the tent and then hearing Julie and Rich start laughing inside each of their respective tents a few feet away. Laughter is absolutely contagious.

I miss… not hearing loud pickup trucks revving (sp?) their engines in the vicinity of where I am trying to sleep. I guess it’s a thing in small towns when a couple hundred strangers drop by to camp in the park.

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Written by johnwhays

June 20, 2018 at 6:00 am

Touring Alexandria

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Getting to Alexandria is bolstered by the added blessing that it is the location of our day off from the regular routine of getting up before the sun and struggling to pack our things while in a sleepy fog within the cramped confines of our little tents. Then it’s a forced march past the food troughs before unceremoniously resting our bottoms on the tiny bike seat for hour after hour all day long.

What? I love this bike tour! Doesn’t that sound like an awesome adventure!

Maybe you have to be there.

On our day off we get to sleep in as much as possible in a tent that turns into an oven when the sun hits it. We are on our own for food and whatever adventures we feel up for. Some folks find a laundromat, but that is the furthest thing from a vacation activity I want to seek.

I just might find someplace where World Cup games will be shown. I may, or may not, ride my bike. I’ve been inclined toward both options over the years, so I make no hard and fast rule about such a possibility. It’s usually dictated by how well I have been tolerating long hours on the saddle for the first three days.

I love… sleeping in a little bit on the day off in the middle of the tour, and then living in the moment to watch the energy of people around me flow, paying attention to what ever grabs me and following wherever that leads. What, me plan?

I miss… being able to go to my closet for just the right shoes or clothes and accessories for all the wide variety of adventures that may become available in a moments notice. Pickle-ball anyone?

In sandels?

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Written by johnwhays

June 19, 2018 at 6:00 am

Touring Fergus Falls

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I’ve been here before. Fergus Falls. I remember it fondly, although, only vaguely. For some people, retaining specific details happens naturally, but I am much more inclined to form a general impression about places I’ve been. I know I have biked to Fergus Falls before on at least one previous tour, but all I have in mind of the experience is a notion that it was good and I thoroughly enjoyed time spent there.

Maybe this year will foster a more specific detail, or two, for the permanent memory bank. It may depend on whether I found ice cream, or not.

I love… the years when the bike tour coincides with FIFA’s World Cup soccer tournament, like it does this year (even though the US team is not in it. Ugh!!). There is often a sub-group of like-minded “football” fans among the bikers who then converge on whatever establishments can be found which offer television coverage so we can hoot and holler together over the beautiful game.

I miss… being able to sit down on my easy chair upstairs on our loft in front of our big screen tv to watch sports or movies with my favorite snacks and beverage at a time of my choosing and not when I’m in the middle of some other distracting fabulous adventure in its own right at the very same time.

A little weak, maybe, but I had to miss something!

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Written by johnwhays

June 18, 2018 at 6:00 am

Touring Morris

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Today, if everything went as planned, we awake in Morris, MN. A prairie oasis on the Pomme de Terre River. If there is a Dairy Queen within walking distance of the high school, there’s a good chance I visited it last night.

I love… that so many of the brilliant people who do this bike ride with me every year share a fondness for walking after a long day on a bike seat, plus they seem to have an equal interest in searching out ice cream at every opportunity.

Bonus love… Biking all day long burns so many calories, I can indulge in ice cream treats more often than usual.

I miss… Cyndie’s home cooking, especially her fabulous breakfasts, the incredible “love-lunch” sandwiches she makes for me on work days, and the delicious dinners that somehow keep tasting better than the best one she made the time before.

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Written by johnwhays

June 17, 2018 at 6:00 am

On Tour

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I am on vacation! Per my habit, this includes taking a break from writing every day while I am away. There’s always a chance I might post a fresh tidbit here or there during the trip, using my thumbs on the teeny-tiny mobile device I’ll have with me, but the year I tried doing that every day of the tour, I found it made my vacation less of a vacation.

For the week, I have programmed Relative Something to offer you a note about the towns we are visiting, along with two thoughts about being away from home. The yin yang duality in the whole of my annual biking and camping week, the Tour of Minnesota.

Today, the group of more than a hundred of my closest friends wake up in Willmar, MN, after our first night of camping together.

I love… The first night of seeing this large number of incredibly close friends and casual acquaintances reunite with shared anticipation for the adventures that lie ahead.

I miss… Waking up in my own bed every morning after a night on a comfy mattress snuggled on a familiar pillow beside my precious wife.

“And they’re off!”

Let the pedaling begin.

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Written by johnwhays

June 16, 2018 at 6:00 am

Almost There

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I was close. Right down to the last minutes, extra minutes actually, I was composing new posts and scheduling them to publish. I was two days short. I ran out of time.

So, I am writing this with thumbs on my phone while sitting in my tent in Superior, WI on the morning of our day off.

It will be brief.

So far, this year’s trip is living up to the best of years past. It is a combination of traditions we love and new experiences and people discovered.

We are camped on school grounds where we keep laughing over the graffiti on the wall:

“Jeff was hear”

The common opinion is that Jeff should have been paying more I attention to going to class than making his presence known on the outside of the building.

 

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Written by johnwhays

June 22, 2017 at 6:00 am

Wheels Rollin’

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DSCN4872eMy favorite photos from cycling are usually ones taken on the road from the bike. When I remember, I carry my pocket camera in my jersey so I can slip my hand through the strap and pull it out for shots on the fly. Unlike my sure-handed friend, Rich, who deftly wields his iPhone for photos from his bike, I want the comfort of knowing the wrist strap will back me up when I fumble the grip.

Even when I remember to have the camera at the ready, usage requires I have ample space to allow my bike to wander off course a bit in the act of capturing shots. I have a tendency to float across lanes when I twist my torso around to compose a view behind me.

DSCN4875eGood shots can be had when a lot of bikers are bunched up, but those are not times I feel safe to be veering off course in the act of shooting.

Although the majority of this year’s Tour of Minnesota was on bike trails, there were still a few occasions when we were out on the open road. With only minimal traffic and an ongoing intermittent rumble strip to deal with, we had opportunity to spread out and stretch our legs.

It was good to have a little variation from the monotonous, albeit beautiful,  miles of railroad-grade paved trails.

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At one point we came upon a crew repaving the road. We simply joined the autos in waiting a turn to pass through the construction zone.

It felt a little too exposed to be on a bicycle, just a few feet away from fresh steaming hot asphalt, large dump trucks, and huge steam rollers crawling along as we rode through.

Some riders cannot resist the urge to stop and shop whenever we come upon garage sales. It pays to have a way to carry new treasures when shopping by bike.

Doobie is one to find a way when his muse hits. Light saber on the backpack, stuffed python snake wrapped around the bike frame. He doesn’t let anything bog down his free wheelin’.

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Written by johnwhays

June 29, 2016 at 6:00 am