For a variety of reasons, the missus and I opted to flee the insanity that is the holidays and seclude ourselves in a cabin near Lake Pepin for the duration. We found the perfect spot near Maiden Rock up in one of the coulees run by the Journey Inn. The goal was to enjoy a quiet holiday, catch up on some reading and movie watching, and bike and snow shoe.
When we drove down Thursday afternoon, the snow we were getting in the Cities was pretty much sleet and rain by the time we got there. We fired up the wood stove, unpacked our gear and I headed out for a ride on the Pugsley. As you can see from the pictures, there was snow on the ground but it was rain falling from the sky.
I also took the opportunity to explore some of the various roads in the area in anticipation of a dirt/gravel circumnavigation of Lake Pepin. The ride around the lake is one of my favorites, and the boys at HC are working on a grand tour next spring/summer that will travel through this area over a week. If you're interested in such insanity, stay tuned for more info as we get closer to warm weather.
In several days of riding, I was passed by two cars and both stopped to chat about the bike, the weather and the world in general. One couple out delivering newspapers told me they saw my tracks in the snow and made a detour to see who would be riding a motorcycle in such crappy weather.
We also visited the new National Eagle Center in Wabasha. It's in a magnificent new building right on the river and they have several eagles that you can see up close. This is Harriett, the eagle portrayed on the Minnesota "Support Our Troops" license plate.
We watched two being fed (not for the faint of heart) and were able to see several out on the river. They have made an amazing comeback since DDT was banned in the early 1970's, and their biggest threat now is lead ingested from bullets and fishing sinkers.
The missus enjoying the view.
It started to snow again as we were heading north and the sky had that steely grey look to it.
The snow conditions there didn't lend themselves to snow shoeing but we did get some short hikes in. We had a thoroughly enjoyable time and this may become a new holiday tradition.
Hope everyone has a safe and prosperous 2010.