I have Friday and Monday off for our Independence Day holiday weekend this year. We had had plans to go camping/hiking for the weekend. Those plans changed when Susan went to see a podiatrist. She was told to stay off her feet for a few months. Makes it hard when everything she loves to do is done on her feet: hiking, walking, gardening, etc. I was a bit disappointed having just canceled my week long bike camping trip a week ago due to a cold. I decided I would make an all out effort to get out on my Ellis all four days that I'm off this weekend. That would surely cheer me up.
Then......summer arrived! I've already mentioned in a recent post how hard it is for me to get acclimated to hot weather. Seems like at least half of the 9 years we've spent in Duluth the weather has been cool all of June. Highs in the 50's and 60's. Upper 60's is normal for June along Lake Superior. When June is cool, summer always arrives in early July. We go from 60 and 70 degree days right into 85 degree days. That is what happened Friday. The weather service predicted a high of 79F for Friday and Saturday. Well, Friday ended up 88F and Saturday ended up being 90F. Keep in mind just this Tuesday and Wednesday I rode to work in 49F temperatures. Since I'm one of those people that keeps their knees covered in temps up to 65-70F, I've only worn shorts a half dozen times so far this year. 88 and 90 is shocking to my system.
Overall though, I fared quite well in this heat. I made an effort to get out early. Friday I was out the door by 10:45. OK, I didn't make it out that early, but that is early for me. I did get slowed down by a flat tire. I was pumping up my front tire before leaving and when I pulled the air hose off the valve the whole valve stem came with it. Damn QBP branded inner tubes. I've had more issues with these. When they're all gone I'm never buying another tube from them.
After Friday's heat I was more motivated to get up and out early. I made it out at 8:45 on Saturday. I managed a 40 mile ride on Friday followed by a 33 mile ride on Saturday.
To keep myself at a pace conducive to keeping myself cool, I took time to stop and take pictures. Here's some of the pictures from the two days. Friday I headed south and southwest, heading through New Duluth.
I stopped at an overlook of the St Louis River. An overlook I've always passed by. This is still in the Duluth city limits.
The Ellis at the overlook. If you look, I've added the third water bottle cage to the frame. Today, I was very happy that Dave talked me into a third set of water bottle braze-ons when he built my frame.
Heading south on Rt 23...still in Duluth.
Across the road from Perch Lake is a wayside on the river.
I've always noticed this path along the river. Today I took the time to ride some if it to see where it went. I only got about 1/4 of a mile before it turned muddy. I turned around then. I think it is used by fisherman to access the river bank. I didn't take any chances on the metal grating on the bridge. I dismounted and walked over it. That's the kind of bridge deck that I went down on when I had my bad accident awhile back.
Eventually I made it through the Fond Du Lac part of town where I finally left the city limits. A view from the Hwy 23 bridge over the St Louis River.
When you live here there is one thing you know for certain. Whenever you leave the St Louis River, or the Lake Superior shoreline on the Minnesota side, you are going to go uphill. Up ahead is one of the longest, and funnest, climbs around. It is 1.5 miles of climbing with a smooth surface and a consistent grad all the way up. You can really get in a good rhythm and enjoy the whole climb.
At the top of the climb is a Scenic Overlook. Almost all of Jay Cooke State Park can be seen from this vantage point.
I proceeded over a few more rollers and then headed west towards Wrenshall and Carlton on the Alex Leveau Trail. The trail is about 7 miles in length and connects with the longer Munger Trail. I almost never see anyone else on this trail.
I was treated to a wildflower show the whole way.
Once in Carlton I headed back home on the Munger Trail. I always stop on the old railroad trestle to look down on the rapids on the St Louis River below.
Part of the river is diverted into this canal. The water in the canal is funneled into some giant tube accelerators that lead downhill to a hydro electric plant.
The old railroad right away cut through the ancient rock of the Lake Superior Basin. It's always impressive.
After the ride, Susan and I made a second trip to Finke's Berry Farm for more Red Gold. Well, that's what I call them. The berries and pie I made from the first batch had been gone for a day. Strawberry season only lasts for three weeks and there is nothing like berries picked ripe.
We froze some more, sorted out the ones that would keep a few days and put them in the frig. These berries are so ripe when we pick them that some of the berries start to rot before we even get home.
And then I made another gluten-free pie. Look for a post with the pie recipe in the next few days. I've had a few requests for it. Here's another way to look at why I go and pick more than once. Being gluten-intolerant, I can't just go out anywhere and buy a delicious desert that is gluten free. Deserts are rarely gluten-free. I can't go to a bakery, I can't order a scrumptious desert at a restaurant....except on very rare occasions. So I make my own. See that dark red color of the pie. That is all natural color, no artificial coloring needed. Fresh, ripened on the plant berries have an intense sweetness that is impossible to describe and is to die for.
Today started with fresh berries again. This time on top of my home-made gluten-free pancakes with maple syrup.
Today's ride on the Ellis took me over into Wisconsin. I crossed from Minnesota on the Bong Bridge.
View from the bridge.
Looking back at the hills of Duluth from Superior Wisconsin.
This trail is about 2 miles long and runs through the municipal forest.
It's a short trail, but a beautiful place in an urban area.
While the Minnesota side of the river and big lake is hilly, the Wisconsin side is flat. In a way it's very nice. On any day I can chose to do a hilly or flat ride.
More wildflowers everywhere.
I did a loop around the outer parts of Superior, WI. I came back in to town on the Osaugie Trail. This trail runs along the harbor in Superior. It is about 7-8 miles in length. The harbor has a strange mix of heavy industry, recreation and residential property.
Looking towards the Duluth hillside in the distance.
And back to Duluth and home.
It was great to get out for a couple of nice rides on the Ellis. I survived the heat too. I drank and drank and drank. I think I'm a little more acclimated to it than I thought because I recovered just fine from these two rides in the heat.