Saturday, June 30, 2012

Paddle and Pedal

RRT Paddle & Pedal: 14 miles Paddle/30 miles Pedal
TANDEM Pedal Time: 2 hours 19 minutes, average speed 12.9

The van was ready to go with the kayak on top and the tandem tucked inside. We were joining the River Rambler Kayak Club for an organized trip on the North Branch of the Root River.


We met up with 11 other boaters at the Eagle Cliff Campground near Whalan at 10:00 and all boats were in the water by 11:00. Joe Reischel was responsible for bringing this group together for this event.



The north branch of the Root was surrounded by towering rock formations which is a side of the Root we rarely get a chance to see. Other than the water level being low and the boat scraping on many rocks, the trip went well. It wasn’t until the last two miles when we met up with many tubers that caution and concentration was a must. One of our boaters capsized while trying to maneuver around a group of tubers, canoes and rocks—she escaped without a scratch and had quite a story to tell at day’s end.


We all made it back to the campground by 3:30 p.m. which allowed Dennis and I to unload the tandem and get some pedal time in. Our first mission was to pedal to the Barn Resort for food. We were quite hungry after paddling for 4 hours.


We then biked on to Preston and beyond. Our plan was to get 30 miles on this last day of June to boost our total monthly miles above 300. We reached and exceeded our goal and sailed back into Lanesboro before the sun set. We packed the bike and discussed how wonderful a clean shower will feel after this day of labor on the Root.


June 2012 — Total Biking Miles 315.71
Accumulative Miles 1354.28

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Neighborhood Challenge

Chatfield Loop: 43.81 miles
TANDEM Pedal Time: 3 hours 22 minutes, average speed: 12.9


Because Alan and Michelle are still recovering from their bike injuries, we drove our van to Dover to have lunch with them. Prior to the bike accident, our foursome would have been out biking somewhere adventurous on a Friday such as this—we do miss Alan and Michelle’s company but know they will be back at it again soon. After lunch, Dennis and I decided to challenge ourselves and bike to Chatfield. We haven’t biked the Chatfield route in quite some time so had forgotten how scenic the route was. In Chatfield we found a tasty treat at the Dairy Queen and enjoyed answering the questions other diners had about our tandem travels. One couple visiting from Ohio was curious about biking the Root River Trail and wondered if we could suggest routes and camping accommodations—no problem there. I think I should get a job working for the Lanesboro Tourist Bureau. We finished our ice cream treat and continued on down the road towards Eyota and then back around to Dover where we picked up Hwy 14 to loop into St. Charles. Just one more challenge to home—the category 5 hill out of town. It was very humid today and this was a hilly ride but we do it because of the adventure and the thrill of the challenge.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brewskies Run

Utica Route: 19.37 miles
TANDEM Pedal Time: 1 hour 34 minutes, average speed: 12.3

We biked to Utica, MN, home of Brewskies Bar & Grill. It’s been a while since we stopped in to say “hi” to the Brew-Crew. Carla and George took good care of us and even took time to sit a bit and chat. There are still many hills on this route but even though our legs are getting older, we still have the power to get the tandem to the top. This was another wonderful mid-week ride.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

17,000 Miles!

Dover Loop: 20.55 miles
TANDEM Pedal Time: 1 hour 38 minutes, average speed: 12.417000

This short trip to Dover pushed our Rans Screamer over the 17,000 mile mark since its purchase in August 2005. What an adventure it has been!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Biking to an 80th Birthday Party

St. Charles and Home: 12.24 miles
TANDEM Pedal Time: 56 minutes, average speed: 13.0

Following our send-off of all Wrangler riders, we biked into St. Charles for mother Laura’s 80th birthday party. The temperature was in the mid-80’s and the sky was a beautiful blue. We spent some time visiting and eating and then pedaled back home. We were happy to get 3 continuous days of biking this weekend before our work week began again.


Friday, June 22, 2012

2012 COWS Wrangler Ride—Lanesboro, MN

Hosted by Deb & Dennis Veerkamp and Michelle & Alan Andersen


As our rally date neared, COWS members began calling to register. We provided ride information, lodging suggestions and driving directions for those coming from afar. What was originally planned as a single day event became a wonderful 3-day mini vacation down on the farm. We salute each tandem team for making time to party with us along the Root.

Friday, June 22, 2012
Dover + Ma Daley Loop: 28.00 miles
TANDEM: Ride Time was 2 hours 22 minutes, average speed: 12.72

Kathi and John Johnson, our good biking friends from Wisconsin, arrived on Friday, one day prior to the start of the Wrangler ride. We planned ahead for them to join us for some additional riding around our neighborhood and to spend extra time with them before they left for their bike trip down the Mississippi River Trail—International Falls to New Orleans.


We biked to Dover for lunch and then followed Olmsted Co 10 to Ma Daley ridge before turning down Winona Co 35 towards our farm. We so enjoyed our conversations with the Johnsons as we pedaled up and down along today’s scenic ribbon of highway. Because we bike these routes often, we don’t always see the beauty that new eyes focus on when traveling in new locations. The day ended with a few friendly games of buck euchre and hopes for another good weather day for Saturday’s COWS Wrangler Ride.


Saturday, June 23, 2012
RRT Lanesboro to Rushford +: 50.56 miles
TANDEM: Ride Time was 3 hours 41 minutes, average speed: 13.6

On ride day, all eyes were on the weather waiting to see if the 30% rain prediction would cause us to change plans—not this time, we finally pulled off a rain-free event! And not only did the rain stay away but we were able to bike under cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid-70s—a biker’s dream.


Eight tandem teams met in Lanesboro at 10:00 a.m. sharp for announcements prior to taking off down the trail towards Rushford. Six teams hailed from Wisconsin and two from Minnesota. The group created quite a spectacle as we rolled down the trail decked out in our flashy club jerseys. Many heads turned as we passed and some even stopped us to ask what our purpose was.


We landed in Rushford around 11:30 a.m. ready for our feeding. The Creamery was called earlier and warned of our group descending upon them today. The staff did a wonderful job feeding our large group. After lunch, some riders decided to bike on towards Huston while others decided to slowly work their way back towards Lanesboro. Dennis and I kept with the Houston group for a few miles and then turned back towards Lanesboro. As we neared Whalan, it was decided that a slice of the “World’s Famous Pie” could not be passed up and what a good decision it was. We made it back to Lanesboro around 3:30 p.m. and packed up to head home to get ready for the Veerkamp Farm Cookout. Back at the Farm, volunteers Paul and Barb were busy preparing food for our group and also served as the welcoming committee for any Wrangler riders arriving before Dennis and I could get back from Lanesboro. All 8 teams eventually found their way to the farm to take part in the final event for today—the farm feast. Many teams brought food to share and Dennis and I provided a variety of brats hot off the grill.

The only thing missing today was the presence of good friends, Michelle and Alan Andersen still recovering from a recent bicycle accident. We hope they get well soon and will be pedaling down the roads with us on our next journey.


Sunday, June 24, 2012
Boyum’s Loop: 15.52 miles
TANDEM: Ride Time was 1 hour 52 minutes, average speed: 13.2

We awoke early to continue our Wrangler weekend with two remaining tandem teams. We decided on a 15-mile route around our neighborhood with Art & Deb and John & Kathi. Both teams commented on the many hills encountered on this loop—a calculated total climb of 733 feet—but all enjoyed the scenic views gained because of each hill and valley. The beauty of the early morning sky was applauded by our group of six as we continued pedaling to our finish back at the farm where we said good-bye to these couples and wished them a safe trip home.


Thanks to all participants of this 2012 Wrangler ride on the Root. Your presence helped make this event the success that it was.

Participating teams:
Deb & Dennis Veerkamp   St. Charles, MN
Kathi & John Johnson      Dorchester, WI
Art & Deb Tillman           Elkhorn, WI
John & Joan Laabs         Waupaca, WI
Marsha & Bill Peters        Lew Lisbon, WI
Don & Nancy Zietlow      Iron River, WI
Harv & Sue Burman        Fond Du Lac, WI
Josh & Claire Burman      Mankato, MN

Event Support:
Alan & Michelle Andersen Spring Valley, MN
aul & Barb Storsveen Winona, MN


Total Wrangler Weekend Biking Miles:  94.08

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Precious Cargo

Amish Market and Home: 9.53 miles
TANDEM: Ride Time was 48 minutes, average speed: 11.6

We were carting precious cargo on our route today—Kennedy had her first ride in the Burley pulled by Dennis and Amy on the tandem. She was a little worried about being placed in the Burley but once the wheels started spinning, her tears quickly turned to smiles. Luke and I rode on the single recumbents keeping close watch on Kennedy rolling along inside her colorful chariot. This was also a new experience for Luke but he proved to have a hidden talent for recumbent riding.


We all rested at the Amish Market which gave Kennedy some time on the playset before returning to the Burley for the trip back to the farm. This first trip with Kennedy was a success and ended with one tired toddler. She fell asleep a few miles into the return trip and remained napping when being removed from the Burley once back home.


We did have to do a little coaxing at first to get Kennedy to try this strange buggy but she quickly settled in to enjoy the ride. We look forward to many more miles pulling our precious granddaughter behind the Rans Screamer.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lunch Trip

Dover Loop: 20.66 miles
TANDEM: Ride Time was 1 hour 38 minutes, average speed: 12.7

We knew we would not have much time for biking this weekend so took this opportunity to bike the 20-mile loop to Dover for lunch at the Roadhouse Grill. The temperature was in the 80’s and winds were mild. We sure are missing Michelle and Alan on these Friday jaunts and hope they will be back on their tandem soon.


Friday, June 8, 2012

A Windy Event

Lewiston Loop: 31.61 miles
TANDEM: Ride Time was 2 hours 35 minutes, average speed: 12.2

Current activity in our neighborhood is being threatened by the introduction of sand mining

The town of Lewiston was hosting a Wind Event today and we decided to pedal to this informative display of wind energy. The event took place at the base of two Liberty Wind Turbines located in the fields around Lewiston and was hosted by Gunderson-Lutheran Clinic out of La Crosse, WI. Staff was around to answer any questions or concerns about the appearance of these enormous, spinning towers. It is the Clinic’s hope that by 2014 they will be energy independent and will be acquiring their energy needs from a variety of other natural sources—way to go Gunderson!


Many Wisconsin vehicles passed us on our route towards Lewiston and we figured they were heading towards the Wind Event to assist in the presentation. We generated many smiles and comments from the crew as our tandem was again spotted turning towards their tent and into the fields surrounding the windmills. We were offered grilled brats and a beverage and after touring the inside of the Windmill, readied ourselves to continue our ride back towards St. Charles.


Today’s biking event coupled with neighborhood activities, some good food and very fine weather, was a great way to spend this work-free Friday and a simple, cost-effective way to enjoy the great outdoors.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

5th Annual Tour de Pepin Bike Ride

Lake City to Maiden Rock: 53.43 milesTANDEM: Ride Time was 4 hours 9 minutes, average speed: 12.8

Our Tour de Pepin weekend began with a Friday evening packet pickup at the Hok-Si-La Park outside Lake City, Minnesota. An invitation to attend a delicious dinner catered by the St. James Hotel of Red Wing and live music were also part of this evening’s registration ceremony.
It is with mixed feelings that I write this journal entry. The first 40 miles of this ride were most enjoyable with bright blue skies and a temperature in the 70s. It was a beautiful Saturday morning when our group of six gathered at Ohuta Park near Lake City along with hundreds of registered riders for the 5th annual Tour de Pepin ride. The riding atmosphere was one of high spirits as each rider began their Minnesota-Wisconsin journey around beautiful Lake Pepin. Our small group consisted of Dennis and I, Alan and Michelle Andersen, and new riders Paul & Barb Storsveen. Dennis and Barb, Michelle and Alan rode on Rans Screamers while Paul and I rode single recumbents. Going 50 miles for the first time on a bike you are not familiar with and on the roads along with vehicle traffic flashing by was an amazing endeavor for single rider, Paul—his sister (Deb) was very impressed.
The recumbent count was definitely lower than we are used to seeing and we had many riders question us about our bikes. Our group kept together throughout the day riding at a speed comfortable for everyone. I was thankful for this as it was my first 50-miler on my single Bacchetta. We climbed some hills but the view along this route was so breathtaking that the pedals just kept cranking and before you knew it, you were coasting down hill again.
Soon we were approaching Wabasha for a rest at the Eagle’s Nest Coffeehouse. A short visit here prepared us for the trip across the Mississippi River on the interstate bridge. Many signs were posted to alert vehicles of our presence.
Outside Nelson, WI was another rest stop and we gathered here for roll call after Alan, Michelle and I ventured off to look for the Pickle Factory which we found down by the river but were disappointed to find it closed—I guess 9:30 a.m. was a little too early for pickles?
The weather continued to be glorious as we glided into Pepin, Wisconsin for another rest and visit with other riders on the tour.
Near Stockholm, WI we found an overlook which provided a photo opportunity using Lake City as a backdrop, where we began this journey. We didn’t know it at the time, but this would be our last group photo of the day.
Shortly after these photos were taken, Alan and Michelle had a fall that ended with a few broken bones and a trip to the hospital. We missed them greatly during the last miles of this journey and continue to wish them a speedy recovery so that they can rejoin us on our next biking journey.

The accident did leave us all a little worried about the care Alan and Michelle were receiving but Michelle promised to keep us posted and both Alan and Michelle encouraged us to continue with the ride. Paul and I made it to Maiden Rock where we rested at Ole’s while Dennis and Barb continued to the lookout beyond town. We met back at Ole’s for a quick lunch before heading back to Stockholm to await our 3:30 cruise aboard the Pearl.


Back in Stockholm, we found Gelly’s Pub and Eatery and awaited our scheduled boarding time on the Pearl of the Lake paddle wheeler. The pub was packed with bicyclists finishing their Tour de Pepin ride.

We enjoyed our time at Gelly’s visiting with many TdP riders ready to share their biking adventures. As the time neared 3:30, we began to ready ourselves for the trip across the mighty Pepin waters and back to the Minnesota shores of Lake City. While loading the tandem on the boat, we hit one of the bike mirrors on the boat rail and fractured the glass—how many years of bad luck will that cause? The ride across the water was very enjoyable bringing an end to this 5th Annual Tour de Pepin ride, a journey full of highs and lows but we all survived to ride another day.