Day 17 [Columbia Heights?, MN – St. Paul, MN]

JUNE 17, 2010

Up bright and early, around 5am, broke camp, and left nothing more than a few squished leaves where our tent had been:

A few squished leaves

Headed down the route mentioned in Bob’s book….the directions are excellent, and we marvel at the work that went into making it possible. Got our first glimpses of downtown Minneapolis. Went past a bridge under construction, but the MRT didn’t go across that bridge anyway. Still, we had many detour signs to follow (kind of like life, huh?!).

Glimpse of downtown

Bridge by St Anthony parkway Cambridge

Camden Bridge detour

The road down Northeast Marshall was fairly busy, with very little shoulder, and cars parked all along it. The river was just to our right, but the scenery was….well, unscenic. Did see SOME interesting things, like this concrete plant:

East Marshall concrete plant

Also went under or over several train tracks, indications of a bustling transportation of commerce that takes place every day. Here’s one trestle we went under that goes over the river:

Active train trestle

We went over the Plymouth Avenue bridge. (Note of caution: be sure to follow Bob’s book on this one. There is a bridge just a few blocks BEFORE 8th Avenue that the Great River Road follows across, but this is NOT the bridge YOU want.

Of course, the bridges now are getting much longer, and the river is getting much wider. Here is the Plymouth Avenue bridge, which is Bridge #21:

Bridge21

 

Bridge21 with Earline

This is the view north from the Plymouth bridge:

View north from the Plymouth bridge

From this point we went south down the west side of the river. It really is a pretty ride/walk along the river, and there were a lot of joggers, walkers, upright and recumbent bikers out on this Thursday morning. Even…..some recumbent TRIKERS!! Three wheels ROCK!

Young Trikers

We stopped and had some devotions down by the Hennepin Avenue bridge and the famous Grain Belt Beer Sign (at least somebody told me it was famous!). This is apparently is the site of the original, wooden, and FIRST bridge across the Mississippi in 1855. It was a suspension bridge, 620 feet long, and 17 feet wide, and teams of horses had to stay 100 feet apart when crossing!

Hennepin bridge and grain belt beer sign

Down here we also had a chance to make a new friend, Namond, or as his friends call him, the “Satanic Mechanic.” What a wide range of experiences this man has had! He, as he said, “talked our ears off,” did some bike tricks, recommended the Hard Times Cafe with some great food and strong coffee, and even went to the local bike store and got some maps for us. Here’s Namond:

Satanic mechanic

Stopped at and went across the famous St. Anthony Falls Stone Arch Bridge. There’s a lot of interesting history concerning the St. Anthony Falls and this bridge. Bridge #22:

Bridge22

South side of Stone Arch bridge

And a view of St. Anthony Falls on the north side of the bridge, FROM the bridge:

Stone Arch Falls in Mpls, MN

We went underneath several more bridges, as we left downtown Minneapolis, and saw this guy working. How would you like HIS job?

De-graffiti guy under bridge

We finally made it down to the Ford bridge, and it was so WINDY…..I actually checked my flags BEFORE we headed over. [Well, apparently THAT didn’t work!] Bridge #23:

Bridge23

This, sadly, was the last picture of my flag, because when we got to the center of the bridge, a HUGE, I mean HUGE gust of wind assaulted us, and we had to shield our faces, pebbles and sand blowing and pelting us from every direction!! And I can hear Earline screaming, and I wonder, what??!!

Well, nothing TOO serious, but there is my flag, my FLAG, fluttering down to the river below. ACK!! Maybe someone down river that reads this blog will find it……[a moment of silence]….

Here’s Bridge #23 on top, looking west, back the way we came…..

Bridge23 Ford Parkway looking west

….and the view north of the bridge that my flag disappeared into…..somewhere…..[sigh].

Wide Mississippi from Ford bridge

The view on the OTHER side, the SOUTH side of the bridge was of Lock and Dam #ONE on the Mississippi.

Lock1B

From the Ford bridge we headed down to the Crosby Farms area, and found that the road was shut, as they were working on the bicycle path there. So we decided then to leave the trail and head straight up to Auntee Liz’s place. [You remember, from Day -3.]

We went up a Sugarloaf-Mountain-like hill, Davern St…..TOUGH with all the gear we have on….but we’re taking it small steps at a time. That’s the advantage of trikes:  you can stop and take a break for a bit, and then start up again and go a little ways further, WITHOUT losing your balance, OR taking your feet off of the pedals.

Now here’s a sign that you don’t see in Florida:

Snow plow sign

When we got to Liz’s, some of the back-room-billards-guys tried out the trikes. Many smiles and questions. Some guys picked up on it pretty quickly, and were zooming around the block in no time:

Riding at Auntees

Got showered and went to the final night of a local ministerial alliance revival. Got to hear a MOST EXCELLENT men’s vocal group and mass choir from New Hope…..GREAT! Also got to hear Michael play drums, who said he’s been playing for 12 years (and he’s only 14!). Here’s Earline and MIchael:

Michael and Earline at revival

Over the course of the day today, had the opportunity to share the Mission to perhaps 30 to 40 people one-on-one. Whatever it takes.

Thank all of you AGAIN for your prayers and support.

TGG,

jon

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