The Grand Round - Minneapolis

Saturday was a Minneapolis day with video work done in the afternoon by Cameron Prudhomme.  In the morning I had a chance to ride a large portion of the Grand Round and it reminded me, again, of what a great city for bikes this is.  I was amazed by the numbers of people on the trails.  It was a very strong wind day so they were out despite the conditions and enjoying the sunshine and beauty of the Mississippi River, Minnehaha Creek and the Chain of Lakes.
Beginning at the Stone Arch Bridge and St Anthony Falls I tried to go north along the river but found that the trail only went three miles so I crossed over by the old Hamm's beer plant.

 This old castle of a building is now offices and there is a wonderful new library on one end that was having a book sale. (Danger Danger - luckily I had limited carrying capacity). I need to come back and look at this building more closely.

I traveled north again, past the Arts District - and up to Glueck Park, but there were no more river trails and the road was under construction so I returned to Boom Island. This is where the excursion boats dock. Crossing over one iron bridge got me to Nicollet Island where the path is nicely wooded until you come up by the railroad grade, De LaSalle High School, and the Nicollet Island Inn. You leave the island by a second iron bridge - this one for cars as well as bikes and pedestrians.

 Along this route you move from the industrial the northeast to the cityscape.

Back to the river with views of the stone arch bridge again and the memorial to the victims of the 35W bridge collapse.  It is well done and emphasizes both our fragility and the randomness of events that determine our lives.

 The river route is enjoyable for views of the University, the limestone bluffs, people enjoying the parks, ducks, geese, and sunshine.  The trail dips to the river level at Riverside Park and then goes back up to the bluff top leading to the Ford Lock and Dam - Lock #1.

From here I chose to go along the Minnehaha Creek rather than on to Fort Snelling.  Both are good rides, but I was supposed to meet Kate for lunch and this meant I had to create a circle.  It was no effort -  Minnehaha park is the state's oldest, originally designated as a state park, but never leaving the cities jurisdiction.  You can celebrate Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha and the sculpture of Hiawatha and Minnehaha or just enjoy the beauty of this magnificent waterfall.

The creek is wooded, shady, protected from the wind and takes you through south Minneapolis neighborhoods all the way to Lake Harriet.  I do have to make a confession here - by this time I came to realize that this 66 year old body is not ready to compete with those who disregard the 10mph speed limit that is requested for the trail.  I was passed by numerous bikers and only passed a few (they were stopped).  I will have to consider myself a plodder.

At the Chain of Lakes you must ride in one direction.  Where I joined the trail I turned the wrong way - I went right and there were no marks.  Had I looked to the left I would have seen the one way marker.  It was not an error that would last long so I turned and traveled the right route around Lake Harriet, Calhoun, Lake of the Isles.

I did not follow Cedar, Theodore Wirth and around on the Greenway at this point.  Instead I went up past Kenwood park and back down to the sculpture garden and over to Loring Park.

By this time I knew Kate could not make our lunch time and I had seen a small urban farm market beside the Guthrie, so I returned to have good food and wait for Kate.  It was a wonderful ride.  I did forty miles on my loop and enjoyed taking photos, exploring neat places and thinking about doing it again with different stops.


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