Sakatah Trail adventure

With our weekend camping rained out, we decided to dedicate time on Sunday to some biking. The Twin Cities was still under a threat of more rain, so we looked south. The forecast for Faribault and Mankato was looking much drier, so we made a choice to hit the Sakatah Trail, which runs between those two cities.

Most of the trail sites that I have read stated that the middle section of this 39 mile trail is in desperate need of repair, and should be avoided. We didn’t want an 80 mile adventure anyway, so we opted to pick one side of the trail and do an out-and-back ride. Since the Faribault side was about 15 miles to Waterville, we decided to make that out destination. We packed up the bikes and within an hour we were at the trailhead ready to go.

IMG_4962The ride was nice and smooth and flat. This section of trail was obviously re-paved sometime in the last couple of years, and the riding was very easy. There were very few hills to contend with, and those that we encountered were never more than a 1-2% grade (this was old railroad bed). We zipped along at a good clip and within an hour we were passing through the Sakatah Lake State Park. We decided to hop off the trail a short bit and hit the park office. My wife bought a pin for her park collection and we headed back down to the main trail with some haste. The mosquitoes were abundant and we didn’t bring any bug spray with. Our only salvation was to keep moving to avoid them at all costs.

Within a mile from the park we made it to Waterville, MN and right off the trail was a cute little ice cream and burger shop. It reminded me of a Dairy Queen, but it was just a family run business. We got some lunch and relaxed for about twenty minutes before the return trip. With a round trip total of 32 miles, our legs were starting to burn a bit. Despite the soreness in our legs and backsides, we managed a solid clip on the way back and managed our two fastest 5 mile segments from 20-30.

All things must come to an end, and soon we were back at the trailhead. We had another great riding adventure, and my wife managed another distance PR. The weather was amazing, although I could have done with a bit less sun. The temps weren’t too bad in the upper 70’s, but I was certainly glad to be biking and not running in it. Now I just need to get my weekend long runs back on track after missing this weekend. Thirty two miles of biking isn’t anything to sneeze at though in the fitness department.


Gene Wilder

I remember watching Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein as a young person and loving the work of Gene Wilder. The man had a wonderful sense of comedic wit and I enjoyed watching almost everything he created. He passed away on Monday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. I also remember reading about the tragic death of his wife Gilda Radner, and as someone who watched Saturday Night Live as a kid I knew of their love story over the many years.

One of the most touching roles for me was his portrayal of Willy Wonka, and the song Pure Imagination is one of my all-time favorite musical tunes. I leave it here on my blog for as long as YouTube will let it exist as a memory of a great comedian and actor.

Aborted car camping

The wife and I left on Friday afternoon to Mille Lacs Kathio State Park to do some car camping. We fought traffic out of town with the rest of the folks heading north, but were at our campsite by 7pm. I worked on getting the tent set up while Lisa put together a fire, and set up out canopy. Within a short while we were happily doused in bug spray and citronella candles, enjoying a pleasant evening reading and enjoying beverages.

Our plan for the weekend had been to get up on Saturday and go for a long hike/run and then maybe partake in some canoeing. The weather forecast had changed quite a bit over the preceding days, and mid-day Friday it was predicting only a small chance of rain during the daytime hours. We would then pack up on Sunday morning and hit a bike trail to get in some two-wheeled exercise. IMG_4945.JPG

By 9pm it was getting dark, and we decided to hit the sack. I tried to pick a campsite further away from the electric sites, but as we lay in bed we could still hear kids playing until 10pm or so. I managed to doze off but my dreams caused my sleep to be fitful. I was dreaming that we were camping, but that there was a rock concert going on in the park and it was keeping me awake. When my body finally work myself up around 11pm I realized that my dream was influenced by reality. One of the nearby cabins (we couldn’t tell which one through the woods) had a bunch of adults who were drinking and talking loudly, to the point where we could hear them in our tent on the other side of the area.

They kept talking and talking, except when the ranger truck drove through the area, at which point they quieted down a little bit. They didn’t stop their chattering until 12:45am. At this point we were both pretty crabby and tired and just wanted to sleep. We managed to get a handful of hours of sleep before the sound of a soft rain started hitting the tent. It was actually quite peaceful, but I know I still didn’t fall as deeply asleep as I wanted to. By 6:30am the sun had started to make its rise in the sky, and my body woke up naturally.

I reached over and grabbed my tablet, which still had LTE signal, to look up the latest weather forecast. The radar had changed, and the day’s weather appeared to be a washout. To make matters worse, Sunday was looking like a complete loss, as there were predictions of thunderstorms all morning. After talking for a while we decided to pack it in and come home. If we had managed to get some better sleep, we might have stuck around for a while and just sat under the canopy, but being super tired and wet didn’t sound like much fun when we would be stuck inside the tent or canopy all day, instead of doing things in the park.

In the end we still had a really great time on Friday evening, and we’ve learned a lot about what we need to prepare. In fact we even have some totes still packed and ready for the next trip, all we need to do is grab them. Now it’s time for a quiet day around town. We have some relatives that are in-town that we’ll probably go visit, and REI’s Labor Day sale started this weekend. Depending on weather, we might try and head south on Sunday to still get in a bike ride on a trail.

Packing craziness

This weekend is a car camping trip with the wife (Editor’s note: We came back early, but that’s tomorrow’s blog). It’s the first time we’ve done something like this, so there’s always tons of gear that we realize we need to get or replace. In fact our Thursday evening this past week ended up being a frantic scramble to figure everything out. This included visiting multiple Target stores to try and get a single cooking burner with butane canisters, only to find that some stores had the burner, but not butane and vice versa.

I assume that if we do this more often we’ll have everything gathered up much easier, and cheaper. One of the more unique aspects of camping for us is the fact that we don’t cook at home a ton, so trying to figure out everything we need to bring to cook in the woods is something that other people probably have an easier time with. We managed to put together enough meals, and I’m sure we’ll eat well on the trip, including some yummy snacks.

One other unique aspects of many of our trips is that we also have to bring running gear. This time we’re also bringing our bikes with, so that adds another dynamic to the entire endeavor. By the time this blog posts we should be just about packed up on Sunday morning, and on our way to the bike path. If I don’t post something on Monday send out the search parties! 🙂