Showing posts from April, 2012

Cove Point

April 29.  Our wedding anniversary and the second anniversary for the start of Full Circle Superior. While we investigate and prepare for the Mississippi, our adventure around Lake Superior will never disappear and there was no place we wanted to be for this special day other than the shore of the big Lake.  So we chose Cove Point, one of the places we did programs on our walk around the Lake.

This was a place where we could be on the shore, relax, read, walk, and enjoy good food.  A little champagne, a little red wine, and an excellent dinner.  I had a beef tenderloin with excellent asparagus - grilled a little dark, a little crisp and delicious.  Mashed potatoes and good salad. Kate enjoyed fish and raved about its flavor and presentation.

It was grey, but the respite was excellent and helped us put our adventures, book , and love of the lake in perspective.  It also helped us enjoy the adventures we have shared.

St Paul and the Twisted Fork

Here is another Groupon ‘discovery’ – the Twisted Fork Grill on Grand Ave in St. Paul.  We saw the sign on the brickwork above the door, but were confused when we walked up because it also said Green Mill. You walk through the first doors and then you either turn right for the Mill, or left, through the doors to the Fork. 
We were on our way to a meeting of advisers and partners for Full Length at St Kate's and this gave us another reason to explore a Mississippi river eatery - there are so many and we really do love the food too.
This restaurant, which opened in 2010 is owned by Green Mill, but is independent in that they order from different distributors, change their menu seasonally, and try to use as many local ingredients as possible.  Our waitperson told us that after opening, some people immediately turned up their noses, without even trying the place, because of its connection to Green Mill.  All we can say is ‘your loss!’
The space is done in warm woods and since it is o…

North Shore week

Duluth to Grand Marais
April 9 - 13
What a nice way to unwind after our Gulf visit - a stay at a friend's home near Lutsen village.  (by the way - Kate has been writing all the Gulf blogs so don't expect the same exquisite detail in my notes - Mike).  However, there is nothing better than sitting in the coolness of the sunrise and each morning seeing a different group of waterfowl - common and red mergansers, canvasback, red-necked grebe, bufflehead, and mallard; plus cormorant,  herring gull, a Merlin, crows, raven, chickadees, red breasted nuthatch, and pine siskin.

Put that movement and sound with the sun rays, the tinted clouds, and the water movement and you have my paradise.  We read, observed - Kate worked on her scrapbooking projects, and we walked.  Unfortunately my sciatica will only allow me to walk a couple miles max now, but it was still good to be out.

We walked to the Lockport Inn - a gas station, grocery store and the best breakfasts on the shore one morning.  …

St. Louis, MO to Keokuk, IA

Day 18 – April 4
St. Louis, MO to Keokuk, IA
We left St. Louis with low overcast skies and the temperature at 73F.  Within a half hour it had dropped to a cool 63F.  Our journey this morning took us in the wrong direction (southeast) in order to take advantage of our last Groupon coupon.  We were headed for DreamlandPalace in Foster Pond, IL.  We’ve learned a lot about buying Groupons in advance of a planned trip.  It’s important to know exactly where the business is before you commit.  We were happy with the Palace though.  It is a German themed place and the salad bar alone made us happy.  Mike was thrilled because, “there aren’t any green leafy things’.  Instead there were an assortment of pickled salads (carrot, cabbage, tomato, and green bean).  The menu included many well known German entrees.  Mike settled on the sauerbraten and I had the roulade (a slice of beef rolled around a pickle).  Their potato pancakes were the Best – to me they resembled big, flat hashbrown patties, mo…
Day 16 and 17  - April 2 & 3
St.Louis, MO
Our first full day in St. Louis dawned clear, but hazy with humidity and the promise of heat. It reached a record breaking 90F by 2:45.  Our hope was to rent bikes down by the riverfront, but when we reached the vendor’s building we discovered that it was only open on Fri-Sunday.  Foiled again.

The Arch was overhead in all of its reflective glory as we walked up the steep steps back to our hotel.  I couldn’t help but think about this massive monument covered in solar panels.  Just like the Pyramid in Memphis, it could be creating so much energy, symbolizing another kind of gateway to the future. 
We decided to find the bike shop where we had a Groupon for a tune-up.  We had bought it thinking we’d have our bikes with us. Our hope was to to rent bikes and use the Groupon in exchange.  Negative to both. 
Our next goal was to find a Laundromat, so we turned down a side street and in the process discovered the Billy Goat Chip Company.  I…

Memphis, TN to St. Louis, MO

Day 15   April 1
Memphis, TN to St. Louis, MO
79F in the a.m. Not a cloud in the sky as we left Memphis.  The bike route follows the Greenway, then winds through neighborhoods, past a cypress swamp full of ‘knees’, the root extensionsof the trees that some think help the respiration of the tree.
It was on this road that we passed two bikers with flashing red lights on the backs of their bikes.  We thought about stopping to talk to them, but didn’t.  After turning left onto a busier road, we stopped a short ways up so that Mike could take some photos of the cypress swamp. That’s when the 2 bikers caught up with us and Mike flagged them down to talk.   A man and a woman, they were from Memphis and were regular bikers and had even mapped a route south of Memphis earlier in the month.  Ward Archer was the man’s name, but I didn’t get the woman’s.  They were intrigued with our planned Mississippi bike trip, the woman saying several times, “I’d love to do that..” They told us about using …

Memphis, Tennessee

Day 14   March 31
Memphis, TN
A sunny day, even though thunderstorms were predicted.  It was warm and humid when we left at 10 a.m. to go to MudIsland where we hoped to rent bikes, but discovered when we got there that it didn’t open until the 2nd weekend in April.  On the up side, we did find a recycling center and were able to get rid of some of the things we’d been carrying around with us.
MudIsland is actually a peninsula and includes a very large greenway park.  The MRT (bike route) runs parallel to it and there were lots of people out walking and biking.  In fact we counted 20 bike riders in less than one hour, more than we’ve seen during the entire trip. 
I could hear purple martins calling overhead and was sorry that there were no purple martin houses of any kind on this parkland.  It is ideal habitat. 
After walking up and down the parkway in the hot sunshine, we were ready to find a cool place to have lunch.  Neither one of us had ever been to Beale St. so that’s where we …

Holly Springs, MS to Memphis, TN

Day 13 – March 30
It rained during the night and was still raining when we got up, but it gradually lightened and by the time we left Strawberry Plains the sky was clearing and it was 63F.
Before hitting the road we met with Bubba Hubbard, the Director of the AudubonCenter, Andrea Schuhmann their Outreach person and Chad Pope, the center ecologist. We talked about how we might connect with them on the bike trip. They recommended a number of people and groups – either bike related or river.  We appreciate these local resources and the networks they can link us up with. Andrea is an avid biker, originally from Kentucky and she said she has found the ethic in Mississippi Very different than what she was used to.  She didn’t want to scare us, but she just wanted us to know that there isn’t a lot of respect on the road for people riding bikes. 
A couple features of Strawberry Plains that we really liked were the rain chains and the chimney swift houses.  On the pack porch, from each of the…