Sunday 17 September 2017

Second Dispatch from Kinki Cycle – Midwest

Howdy folks!  This is Pete C. your KCDC Midwest correspondent.  While I understand it has been incredibly hot and humid over in Kinki, Japan the weather has been drop-dead gorgeous here in Minnesota.  So, taking advantage of the nice weather and the fact that my day job doesn’t begin until next month, I took the opportunity recently to do a favorite bike ride of Twin Citians everywhere—a ~27 mile ride from SE Minneapolis to Stillwater, MN via the 5th St. SE bike boulevard; the U of M Transitway and along the State Fair Grounds; Como Avenue hooking around Como Lake; onward to the excellent Gateway State Trail; hopping on the bike trail-supported County Highway 12 which becomes Myrtle Avenue and goes straight to heart of downtown Stillwater.
First, I departed from our apartment in SE Mpls near the U of M.  My better half took this pre-ride shot:

I rode down the 5th St. SE bikeway (not pictured) over to the U of M Transitway, which is a road designated for buses, emergency vehicles and bicycles which connects the East Bank and St. Paul campuses of the U of M – Twin Cities:

The Transitway terminates at Como Avenue, right next to the MN State Fair Grounds:

I took Como Avenue through St. Paul to the southeast corner of Como Lake:

Como Lake is one of many in the land of 10,000 lakes.  I took a brief stop to consult my map and to re-secure a bit of my gear before heading off through the neighborhoods to find the start of the MN Gateway State Trail:

The Gateway Trail is an 18 mile stretch of paved trail (with adjacent off-road/horse trail in many areas) which begins in St. Paul, MN (state capital and Minneapolis’ “twin” in the “Twin Cities”) and ends just NW of Stillwater.  Most of the trail is wooded, shady, and beautiful, like this:

And this:

While I was riding down the trail I came upon many nice resources such as a few State-supplied Bike Tune Up Stations which feature bike stands, tools, and bike pumps . . .

. . . and many rest areas with water, shade, benches/tables, restrooms, etc. such as this one furnished by the North St. Paul Rotary Club:

In North Saint Paul I took the opportunity to snap a couple of pictures, such as this one of our energy future . . .

. . . and a welcome sight in any weather, the world’s largest stucco snowman:

After this stop in North St. Paul it was back to business.  I kept riding down the Gateway Trail until my exit onto County Highway 12.  This rural county road is supported by adjacent bike/pedestrian paths almost the entire length into Stillwater:

Riding down Highway 12 I was able to soak in some beautiful scenery of rural farmland.  On this sunny day, much of the scenery looked like this:

And this:

Riding to downtown Stillwater, my first sign that I’m near my destination is Len’s Family Foods and their nice mural:

From there it’s down the long, steep hill into downtown Stillwater.  Here are a few shots I took in town:

Kinki region represented by Osaka To Go:

@KBAYouMatter chalked up the Main Street Stairs with some positive messages:

I swung by the River Market Community Co-op and saw they are representing “Minnesconsin” in their window:

I rode down to the riverfront for a modest packed lunch of lentils and rice, carrots, a chocolate brownie and water:

And I snapped a nice picture near the Historic Stillwater Lift Bridge:

I wanted to cross the river over to Fixed In Nara’s home state, but alas the Man had different plans for me.  In any case, those trees across the river are Wisconsin:

Denied access to WI, I decided to head home.  First a quick nip to the loo (these toilets were a welcome site in downtown—note the stall on the far left was not padlocked) . . .

And a quick parting shot before climbing the hill out of downtown and returning home the same way I came:

I never did see any horses on the Gateway Trail . . .

But in downtown Stillwater of all places . . .

“On your left!”

Thanks to the State of Minnesota DNR, University of Minnesota, Rotary International, Washington County, the City of Stillwater and all other people and entities who help make the Twin Cities – Stillwater ride so excellent!