Monday, August 19, 2013

Looking For Trouble On The Middle Coast

I fear in my last couple of posts I may have been a little hard on the Middle Coast. There is more here than corn fields and straight roads. In fact, with a little open-minded exploration, it is even possible to find a twisty bit here and there. And even if the roads are straight, or just gently curved, one thing the area has in abundance is natural beauty.

Over the weekend, I took the Triumph out for a little exercise and exploration.  The two of us found a few interesting places.

Maybe you've noticed, maybe you haven't - it might just be people who are into aviation that do - but there are little airports everywhere.  My explorations took me past Flying Cloud airport. Flying Cloud is actually pretty major, as small airports go. They average about 341 aircraft operations per day, and get a fair amount of small jet traffic. Also, they're close enough to the largest amusement park in the upper Midwest* that said amusement park has to limit the height of its rides in order to comply with FAA regulations.

Looks like pilots may have a "loud pipes save lives" contingent as well.
Continuing on from the airport, I found myself nicely in the middle of nowhere again within five minutes.  Only this particular middle of nowhere has a lot of trees, and roads with curves and stuff.  Fun times!

"Why haven't we ridden this way before?"
"I'm still figuring out the lay of the land, Triumph..."
In this particular neck of the woods, a lot of the residential areas have some wonderfully curvy roads too. Obviously, there wasn't any high speed hooning in residential areas, but I'll take whatever twists and turns I can get.

"This is far more fun than the farm country was, Lucky."
Actually, there wasn't much high speed tomfoolery at all this weekend. For one thing, the roads here are in just spectacularly bad shape. A good part of my attention was focused on simply avoiding road hazards. The other part was avoiding Minnesota drivers. See how they're all bunched up in this photo?  That's how people drive here at all times, regardless of conditions. You'd think we were in the urban jungle, not the middle of nowhere.

"OK, I'm kind of enjoying this.  I still need new shoes, though."
"Yes, Triumph, we're going to get you new shoes soon."
I've been digging around on the Roadside America site**, and I'm getting a little excited about taking the Triumph to check out some of the goofy roadside stuff we've got here on the Middle Coast. Paul Bunyan and Babe statues? We've got 'em. Giant twine ball? Oh yes. Big fiberglass chicken next to the road?  You betcha! There's lots of good stuff, expect more to come.

*Thanks for that turn of phrase, Chris Cope.
**Thanks for reminding me of that resource, Fuzzy.


Chris Cope said...

I'm not saying you should do this, but I may know from personal experience that many of the curves of West Bush Lake Road, in Prestigious West Bloomington, can be hit at roughly twice the posted speed limit.

In a car, at least. Also, I find it helps if you make spaceship noises while doing it.

(Safety note: One of my friends accidentally put his car in the lake doing the same thing)

Fuzzy said...

looking forward to your goofy posts :D

...and your impressions of House on the Rock when you make it up that way.

Lucky said...

Chris - Thanks for the tip. I will be sure to ride that road at a cautious, prudent and legal speed.

I remember when I was in college here, the rule of thumb for posted speed limits was that one could generally double it and add ten.

Fuzzy - Thanks! Yes, I can't wait to get out to the House on the Rock. I should probably get on planning that trip...

Trobairitz said...

I am glad you are getting out and exploring a bit. At least it is all new to you so that is good.

For some reason the car/SUV drivers all bunch up here too. They have a herd mentality and I don't know why.

Lucky said...

Trobairitz - Yeah, exploring is good. I'm looking forward to more. :)

I don't get why they bunch up either. It's not like 2 seconds following distance is a hard guideline to remember... But it does make for some scary driving and riding.

mq01 said...

yay! so, it seems you are finding the trouble in which you seek?! :) fabulous...

RichardM said...

The RVs seem to be the worst for bunching up. Many times, if you want to pass one you end up having to pass up five at a time. Throw in a couple of cars where the drivers don't know how to pass and you have a real mess.

I didn't think MN had any hills or else you only find them in the middle of winter...

VStar Lady said...

Really? Paul and Babe plus a giant ball of string, not to mention a giant chicken ... how did I miss all that? I am just going to have to return to the Middle Coast; the middle of nowhere is sometimes a really great place to be!

Lucky said...

mq01 - Well, some of the trouble, anyway... It's a good start, at any rate.

RichardM - Yeah, RVs can be bad news. MN does have hills, but not in the same way Alaska has hills... And yes, winter is when we find them.

VStar Lady - How did you miss it? We've actually got tons of entertaining roadside stuff here... Yes, you're going to have to come back!

Heather Thompson said...

A bit late it seems, but welcome back Lucky. =) I've missed reading of your adventures

Lucky said...

Heather - Thanks! I'm glad to be back!

KT Did said...

Its good to be goofy. Some of those airports have some great history to them. In Oakland, there is an airport museum and its open only a couple days a week. When you are in Cali, you need to stop by and give it a look. I learned a bit about the V-Twin in their from a Pilot from WWII. Fun post!

Lucky said...

KT Did - Yes, goofy is good! :)

Yes, a lot of the airports have some fascinating history! That museum sounds awesome. When I'm out that way again, I will check it out!