Friday, October 17, 2008

Turning 5 and Stuff to Reminisce By...Later

'Say What?' turned 5 years old this month. Of all the things I do online, writing in my blog is the one I value most. There is something therapeutic about putting my thoughts down in print. Actually it's the act of working through my thoughts and understanding them which is therapeutic. I do this for me but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the company of those who follow along because they find some interest in it as well.

Indulge me while I lay down some tracks to reminisce by with a glass of California red on a cold and snowy winter night twenty years from now.

Hello Self.

I headed out Thursday at noon for what I figured would be a 40 mile ride. The temp was in the lower 50s and not forecast to get much warmer. I normally work a day shift on Thursdays but Reid needed a shift swap so he worked my Thursday shift and I'll work for him on Saturday.

I'd intended to do the loop into Eagan then southwest to Prior Lake and back home but by the time I got to Eagan I'd begun to have thoughts of going a bit longer. How much longer I wasn't yet sure. My new plans were to bike across the river via the bike path along 494 then head west through Bloomington from there.

I decided to use the mobile upload feature of my Facebook account to upload photos of the day as I went. Sort of a journal-on-the-go approach to tracking my progress. Once crossing the river the path dumps me out not far from the Mall of America and near where my father used to work 25 years ago (the gold building) when he worked for Control Data as a financial manager.

I picked up Old Shakopee road and began to notice an increase in traffic as the early shift people were heading home. Still, nowhere near what it would be in another couple hours. I veered off onto 98th street and continued west.

On the corner of France and 98th street, just a couple miles from where I grew up is Bloomington Ice Garden where Herb Brooks coached the 1980 U.S. Olympic gold medal hockey team. I can still remember how upset my dad was when they delayed televising the game until prime-time that evening. He was on the phone complaining to the ABC network as were thousands of other angry viewers. I took this photo of him later as he watched the game. He was Canadian and the sport was in his blood. I last played here in March of 1998 for the international Air Traffic Control hockey tournament.

A couple miles west of the rink was where I worked my last two years in high school. It used to be called Penny's Grocery. It's now an upscale grocery store for the well-to-do people of west Bloomington. I worked there from 1974-75 and eventually worked my way up to stock boy. Applause. I think my pay back then was something around $2.00 an hour. A pack of smokes was .50c from the cigarette machine next to the door.

Seeing as how I was stopping by some of my old haunts and uploading to my Facebook I took a few minutes to take a couple photos of the apartment I stayed in the last half of my senior year of high school with my sister. We stayed in unit #208 from January '75 until July of that year. There was a game room and John Bodger used to come by and we'd play pinball. The maintenance guy was named Frank and for whatever reason he didn't like us. As I think back on him he reminded me of Ottoman from the Simpsons.

Anyway, John and I decided to have the last laugh with Frank. Before a new tenant would move into an apartment it was Frank's job to paint each unit. In very small lettering John and I penciled messages to Frank near the base boards where he'd have to get down real close with his brush to paint. We wrote the sort of stuff we wouldn't say to his face but would have no problem having him read once we were gone. 'Eff-ewe Frank' and 'you missed a spot' or 'you're a _____' . You get the idea.

I went around to the front of the unit and took this photo. The small hill just beyond the near railing is where I tore cartilage and ligaments in my right knee for the 2nd time in a matter of six weeks in the spring of '75. A couple weeks earlier I had gotten out of my full length cast after having torn the cartilage and ligaments in a softball game. It's an ugly feeling when that happens and it hurts really bad. I was recovering nicely after the first incident until the morning I walked out to my car with my arms full of stuff as I was in the process of moving to my sister's apartment in New Hope. There was dew on the grass and I slipped and came crashing down in such a way that I injured the other side of my weakened knee.

I was back into another full length cast but this time the recovery would take much longer. In fact, I'm still working that recovery. I remember being concerned about having a gimp knee when I went to join the Navy. The doctor who conducted my physical asked me to jump up and down on it five times and do a duck-walk for him. That was it. Sign me up!

Heading out of Bloomington I worked my way back to Old Shakopee road and took that west past hwy 169 and toward Flying Cloud airport. My legs were feeling good and I was really enjoying the ride so I decided to press on toward Carver with plans to head to Jordan from there but first I'd need to stop and refuel at the Holiday gas station in Chaska. All the while I'm keeping my eye on how much daylight was left as my Edge305 was telling me the sun would set at 6:27.

Heading out of Carver I went in the direction of Jordan while doing some computing about what time that would bring me home. Hmmm...I could easily make it back with an hour of daylight. Totally unacceptable. I'd need to use it all; or most of it anyway. I decided to pick up highway 50 and take that west and head toward Belle Plaine. I now brought the possibility of finishing my ride after sunset into play. I was doing the math and figured the ride would be on the other side of 90 miles. I was using up valuable time taking and uploading photos along the way. I'd need to cut back.

Back on highway 40 and leaving East Union I picked up a hitchhiker. I made it to Belle Plaine in good time and quickly jumped on highway 169 to take that northeast; next stop, Jordan. This is a new interchange in Belle Plaine finished in the last couple years.

I made quick time to Jordan and still felt pretty good with 66 miles behind me. This is actually the first long distance test I've given the new saddle I got a couple months ago. It passed.

Climbing out of Jordan I could feel the bonk creeping up on me. The Chuckwagon sandwich I'd had nearly 30 miles earlier had done all it could for me. Yeah, I know...not the best carbs for a ride but it's what my body was craving. I decided to alter my course in the direction of Prior Lake where I could find anything Hostess along with some Gatorade G2 at the Holiday gas station. The window washing guy was in my way when I was out there trying to down my stuff; or maybe I was in his way. Anyway, I made quick work of my chocolate cupcakes and took the drink with me. I like the G2 as it's got half the calories of the regular stuff (which isn't bad either) and so it gets absorbed quicker. Water is boring.

Back on the road after just a few minutes. I was certain I wouldn't have any trouble making it home before sunset. I toyed with the idea of trying to squeeze in a few more miles and make it a full century ride but the ambition wasn't there.

I brought it home after 91 miles with 15 minutes of daylight to spare. I looked at my paused time recorded on my GPS and it totaled 60 minutes thanks to my desire to take and upload photos along the way. I didn't mind as it added another dimension to the ride. I love this wired world.


John said...

Congrats on the five years. I'm glad we found each others blogs as I have enjoyed reading yours and seeing your comments on mine.

Both ATC, both brothers in Christ, both with teen-aged daughters and yet from very different backgrounds and with very different lives.

Kevin said...

Thanks, John. I've enjoyed and look forward to your comments as well as the writings in your blog.