Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Frontage Road, Back Way, Charlie's Cafe

The weather Sunday did not look promising. The skies threatened to open up as clouds would break apart and reform within an hour. But I had that urge to ride.

The initial plan was the direct route to Eden Valley. Slip in the back door to the little town of Avon and head south on Highway 9. The roads on this route are broad and sweeping. Hills large enough to make a 150cc four stroke Vespa work to get up them. Between those roads and the final destination the road is flat and not exactly smooth. Near the end of the run, within a few miles of Eden Valley, you take a right turn off the direct way in. Suddenly you're on one of the greatest set of sweepers and minor hills I've yet found in this area.

I was past the first section of great riding and into the early stages of the flat stretch. Not fun. The bike hopped and jostled its way south. Filler patches and buckled tar. The skies were growing darker again. Sorry, but I'm not in the mood to do this kind of ride today.

Plan A was summarily ditched. At the next country interesection I turned around and humped it back toward Avon. There is no clear indication where the frontage road actually runs through that town so I stopped at the Shell to regain my bearings. The nice person at the counter told me where to catch a nice road north. It happens to be right where I turned south to head down Highway 9. Had I gone straight, I would find a new unexplored path.

Avon is a neat little exit off I-94. A quiet place with some great looking lakes to fish. From what I could tell a tight little community is built right off Mainstreet. There are a few turns which look interesting just at its outskirts. Future blogs...

Once outside Avon, the roads became straight. Naturally I hit another section of bumpy tarmac only this time I watched the side roads with more interest. This ride would be dedicated to getting "from here to there". Subsequent jaunts would explore the branches. The sights to see, as they say.

The drizzle found me. Somewhere along that stretch of bumpy asphalt. Just after the angry looking man in the pinkish purplish Dodge minivan passed me at a rate of speed I didn't think minivans were capable of moving. My speedometer read 62, 63 mph. He wasn't closing on me very quickly. When I could tell it was a minivan behind me, that's about the time the guy started to pick up velocity. Not much, certainly nothing that I thought seemed unusual.

In Minnesota farm country some people drive blindingly fast and others are blind and driving slowly. Probably the same thing you can observe no matter where you are. So I thought nothing of it.

He was a good ten car lengths behind me when I eyed the rearview. I swear the guy gunned it right at that moment. The sound of that minivan's engine was almost destructive. He must've flattened the carpet underneath his accelerator pedal just to stomp more miles per hour out of his testosternone free albeit logically brilliant Caravan.

That thing suddenly bore down upon me in a way that made me understand the Biblical account relating Jona's perspective of the fish that swallowed him whole. Only this time the fish which looked more like a giant lure, veered. Not too closely, but definitely making a statement.

As the angry man in the minivan/fish lure passed I saw that growly sideways stare. He made his point. Let him have it. I'm not the one stuck driving that thing everywhere I go. Not that it would be all that bad, minivans are supremely useful. Just not in that fish lure color...

I got to Charlie's cafe and thought about going in. As I parked in the lot across the road I saw a newly roiling sky. Ominous and dark. Building in intensity. Being the fool that I am, I tested nature's fury and stopped for a break anyway. The drips became steady. I heard the water sizzling on the chrome exhaust accent. Paper and embers got wet. Back on the bike and homeward bound.

A new path discovered and lots of potential rides to springboard from this trip. A Sunday ride I'm glad I took.