The following is a true story, only the names have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rhino Rally

This post is a little behind, the Rhino Rally took place last week but I wanted to give  heads up for the rally next year. 2013 was the fourth running of the fund raising rally which has taken place at Murphy Hanrehan the last three. The Rhinos Foundation was formed on 91' to raise money in the fight against cancer and help those affected by the disease.. they also put on a really good race. The format for the race was do as many laps as possible in five hours either solo or as a two person team. 
Race meeting

Start Line

One lap down
  Two years ago J Rients and I attempted a duo/relay effort but got rained out by the third lap. This year I was able to race with my wife as a duo/relay and compete against two other male/female teams. The boys are also old enough now to hang out at the race somewhat unattended so they were there too.
It's not often we get to do the same race :) 

The transition area/beginning of lap
It was a great family event for a good cause. They also provided food, beer, and swag.....something all who were in attendance appreciated. Check it out for next year. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Kinni

A couple weeks ago I was joined by Vandy and Famous Dale for a mid-week trip down the Kinnickinnic River in Wisconsin. I have heard a lot about this river and was eager to paddle it, but found specific information on put-in and take-out points difficult. This difficulty would prove to make our trip much more interesting. I knew we were supposed to to leave out of River Falls near a dam, the only problem was I didn't know where the dam was located.

bumper boats
  After putting-in somewhere on the north end of town we were confronted by a sign reading DAM after only twenty minutes in the boats. No problem, we'll simply portage around and get back to it. Easier said than done, upon exiting we met an older gentleman that explained we would have to walk a mile or so to get back on the river. I didn't believe him and we stared scouting for a quick way around.
yeah, itch weed :)

The first dam is just to the left of the cliff
 We toyed with going right over the dam and scaling the thirty feet to the bottom. It was not flowing very well and would have been easy, but we figured we might get arrested or something since there was a power plant directly on the other side. Not giving up I walked around to the back side of the plant and found a way to the river via a steep, brush covered, hill with a nice crop of itch weed at the bottom. We simply let the boats free fall down the hill, pin-balling their way through the trees. I led the way through the itch weed sacrificing my legs in the hopes of clearing a path for my brothers as a sort of apology for my poor recon skills in finding the proper put-in.
very little water was flowing over the second dam

This guy at the bottom though he was going to hit by a flying kayak
   Back on the water, all was well until we were blasted by the foul stench of the River Falls shit plant. Paddling through another large body of water made by yet another dam, we skimmed along the water through what we "coined" as floating mats of shit. They were moss like, about the size of a salad bowl and there was no way I was going to touch one of them. As we paddled past the shit plant's discharge the rank odor was so foul the three of us were ready to hurl. I'm guessing most people don't paddle through here and that's why there is a void in the access to this portion of the river.
Famous Dale

Most of the river looks like this
  Moving on... When we got to the head of the second dam we just wanted to get moving so I was first to suggest, and implement, my plan for dropping the boats down the dam. I really didn't care at this point what happened to my boats, (Vandy borrowed one of mine) the smell was bad and we had burned up precious daylight fumbling around on the previous portage. Anchors away, all three boats skidded down the concrete and bounced on the rocks at the bottom, coming to rest a bit more scratched up, at the base of the small cliff that walls in the  river.
note the grey color of the water, it smells bad too. 

We scurried down, and around the cliff to meet up with our boats and get underway. The rest of the trip down river was beautiful and fun. The river is filled with small rapids, sharp turns and steep cliffs on both sides. We passed no less than twenty fly fishermen (trout) on our seven mile journey to Kinnickinnic State Park. Unfortunately the foul odor of the shit plant up stream stayed with us the entire time. The stench gradually got less and less as tributaries diluted the main flow. The water below the plant was also grey in color ,unlike the clearer, odorless river we paddled above both dams. I'm still surprised that trout live in the river, and wonder if any of the fishermen really know what the waters they are fishing were subjected too ,or if they eat anything they catch.    Bon Appetit'       Aside from our less than desirable route, I will go back again for sure and skip the sewage plant. At a gauge height of 10.5  when we went, the water could be a little higher to be ideal, so I'm watching carefully for the time when it goes up.      

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mid-Week Mini Adventure

As the title suggests the following is a report on a mid-week mini adventure. It took place on a Wednesday with my #1 adventuring partner in crime ArcFlash. It was a continuation of rappelling various areas around the twin cities in order to fulfill a small portion of my desire to go canyoneering without the 20 hour drive. Although it was a short outing, it was a lot of fun and included one of my favorite raps so far.
Hey there's a rope, I wonder where it goes

Don't be fooled there are a shit load of mosquitoes down there
some day this tree will fall out of there and make it nice
 I got off of work a couple hours before AF so I went ahead and set up the first rappel of the night. This was more of a gratuitous rap in the fact that it leads nowhere and is not part of any kind of contrived route I could think of. Simply, it was there and I wanted to descend it on a rope. The pit/gully consisted of loose wet limestone that gave way to sandstone toward the bottom. In the middle of the entire thing is a dead Elm tree that is defying gravity by the tips of it's branches and a large clump of dirt clinging to the root ball. It's roughly 70 feet, top to bottom, and I have given it's name as "Nightmare on Elm Tree". Getting around the tree was not so much a problem as the falling clumps of loose rock and dirt. I was thankful I had a helmet, as a large mass of it landed on my head and left shouder.
65-70 feet

This thing works awesome
 About an hour after my set up and first rap I met AF at my van to begin the night's adventure. A short ride on the fat-bikes and we were perched atop the cliff getting suited up to do the rap. AF went first since I had already done it. I followed and took the chance to play around with the rappelling rack. Within thirty minutes we were back at the top pulling the rope and setting off for the fun part of the night.
Where r we anyway ?     P.S. don't tell if you know :)

First of four small water falls

Oh, nothin' to do
 Back on the bikes, we rolled to a secret location to find a small creek hidden from any view one might make from car, foot or bike. Near the road the entire thing is covered as it passes underneath, making any passerby oblivious to it's existence. We made short work of getting through the snarled mess of overgrowth and were soon riding the bikes in the creek bed, hence the reason for going FAT.    
I wished these were deeper, it was hot and I wanted to swim

Black Floyd's look good in this light right here at the edge of a waterfall.  

 The water was cool and clean, and just what we needed on a hot humid night. It wasn't long before the crux revealed itself as a large opening in the trees, the creek simply falling away as we were now looking down on top of the canopy below. The 60-70 rappel broken into two tiers was just before us flowing with water. AF went first as I lowered the bikes. I went first on the second part of the rap since I was already attached to the rope, It was awesome! Getting over the lip of the sharp overhang was a little tricky, but free hanging in the full steam of water was simply amazing and invigorating.
That's my bike, I didn't want it getting wet . I think it's bad for it

AF getting doused 

heck yeah
 Once I was down, AF lowered the bikes and got his chance to hang in the waterfall. We both could have done this rap several times each but we wanted to keep moving and scout out some other spots I had in mind. Back on bikes......exiting. As we rode through the brush, branches, and overgrowth disaster struck in the form of a severed derailer hanger on AF's Mukluk, caused by a small twig. This is not the first, or second, (maybe third) time for this horse-shit design to snap at the worst possible time. AF had another hanger back at his van, but that was miles away and would set us back enough that we took it as a sign to call it a night. We rigged up a tow rope, and I pulled him back to the vehicles. Despite the equipment failure I had a really awesome night. The water fall was so fun, it did, and would have, overshadowed anything else we might encounter the rest of the night. I also made it home for an excellent dinner(warmed up)and got to hang out with the boys before they went to bed.         P.S. don't ever call me a weekend warrior  
        D Rider........Out
I like it muddy and swampy

Monday, July 8, 2013

Minnehaha Creek Canoe Ride

boat launch or swimming dock ?
 A couple weeks ago when the creek was really high the family and I went out for our, once every three years, canoe ride. We chose to paddle the last 6 or so miles of the creek due to close proximity to home on a week night, and the wild ride we were sure to have. We paddled the same section in a canoe when they were much younger and we all had a good time.
Getting underway

The good stuff (rapids) is about to begin
  Unannounced to me was a warning not to paddle the creek at this time, which was a story on the nightly news the previous evening.  A guy at work told me about the story, but the die had been cast. Everything was loaded in the van and the boys and Lynn would be meeting me later that afternoon to set up the shuttle. I've paddled the creek at much higher levels and it was fine, I accredited this bit of information as the further pussification of America and I would not be frightened off by some pansy on the news.
We couldn't help but stop and  jump off the bridge about ten times each

 It's true the current was fast, but it made it much more fun than scraping along the bottom at a snails pace which would be considered safe. The many twists and turns had Lynn and I on our toes. There was very little time for relaxing, our skills were tested and proved rusty and insufficient a few times. About mid-way through things started to click and navigation was done with much less panicked shouting.
Mom was nervous, this due was not !

Dinner time picnic , about 1.5-2 miles from the take out, also realized I forgot the keys
 The only snaufu of the night was me forgetting to bring the keys along so we could drive the shuttle vehicle back to the start point. Never fear, my BFF Vandy, saved the night by grabbing a set of keys at my house and delivering them to me at the falls. On the plus side we all got to see the falls that night ! Thanks Bro.
family portrait 

Let's take the canoe down that 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ft Snelling

Independence Day
 On the 4th of July the boys and I decided to visit Ft Snelling via bicycles and bike path. It seemed a fitting day and there were lots of activities going on at the historic site. I've ridden by the outside walls thousands of times over the years but have only been inside a handful of times. I've taken the boys there one time before, but they were young enough that they didn't remember it very clearly, so it held their interest and they had a good time.
Uh Oh !

Apparently the first Minnesota State Fair was held right here within the confines of the fort
 On our way there, when we stopped briefly to make a helmet adjustment, the boys received their first ticket ! A ticket for wearing their helmets, in which they get a free ice cream cone at Dairy Queen. They didn't know what to think for a minute and were quite nervous. G Man actually looked pissed off and almost refused to take it until I explained that it was a good thing and they were being rewarded for wearing their lids. I on the other hand felt like an idiot for not wearing mine. In the confusion of getting everything ready to go for the day, I forgot mine, I always wear mine :( .  

 Once inside the fort we spent the next two hours strolling the grounds exploring any open building and talked with the people reenacting life in the 1820-1830's. We also watched a mock battle and stayed for the firing of the cannons just before heading home.

 Later on we headed to my brothers place for a big BBQ and fire works in the evening. Sadly the entire day was missed by Mom/wife who is enjoying a 6 day vacation in Seattle to attend a Downhill/freeride MTB clinic and race on her new Pivot, Firebird :) (Thanks Penn Cycle/Mr Porter) . She definitely deserves the break, and at the time I'm writing this she has already finished the clinic and the competition and finished 3rd in her age category. Yeah Lynn !!!    
Sparklers are always cool