Tough Guy Saves Face - A Few Days In A Snow Globe - CycleBlaze

December 10, 2021

Tough Guy Saves Face

Woodbury, Minnesota

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At 28-degrees (F), it was almost too warm when I started cycling this morning.  To make matters worse, the air was still, so I didn't even get the benefit of a paralyzing wind-chill factor.  At least it was cloudy and gray, which gave me some hope that the predicted snowstorm might actually come to fruition and I'd be able to redeem my Tough Guy reputation. 

I felt cold at first and wondered whether I should keep riding.  Of course, that's the same mind game my head plays with me EVERY SINGLE DAY on my wintertime bike rides.  You'd think I'd eventually get over that.

I kept pedaling and, as always, those irritating feelings of negativity transformed into confident positivity.  The exercise warmed me up, I felt great, and I knew I'd have a good ride.  In fact, I can't remember the last time I actually had a BAD ride. 

The positivity was enhanced when I spotted a sign for "Hemingway Avenue."  It reminded me of the time I posed for a picture with Ernest Hemingway in Ketchum, Idaho. 

The few of you who read my last Cycleblaze journal might remember this photo. I even tried to grow a Hemingwayesque beard for the occasion.
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Three months later (sans beard) I made another Hemingway connection.
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Minnesota is well known as being "The Land of 10,000 Lakes." I think ponds like this are included in that count.
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I had several cups of motel room coffee this morning, so I was happy to find this hidden spot for an urban pee.
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Soon thereafter, I found this little spot to refill my bladder with a few swigs of water. I also enjoyed a couple of Fig Newtons.
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I'm not sure why I wheeled my bike into a big field to take this picture of what looks like a retirement home for old soccer goals. I guess I'm easily fascinated.
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Cute, but again, WHY!
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I started seeing the first snowflakes shortly after 11:00 a.m.  They seemed harmless enough, yet it was comforting to be within a few miles of my next hotel.  I veered off course toward downtown St. Paul for a little exploration in the city.  If the weather were to get too severe it was nice to know I could get to my destination within 30 minutes.  I know I can ride in absolutely ANYTHING for 30 minutes.  If not, I can certainly walk or carry my bike through the snow for a few miles.

When I turned west on Lake Road, I spotted something pretty unusual for the heavily populated suburbs of the Twin Cities.  I'll tell that story in the next sequence of pictures.

I saw some wild turkeys hiding behind the evergreens. Then I thought I could get a better picture if I rode back to the last street and turned the corner.
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Sure enough, I got a better picture of them as they raced across the street.
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Keith KleinHi,
They should have a football team named after them. The Woodbury Turkeys. On second thought, maybe not.
Cheers,
Keith
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5 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Keith KleinTheir cheerleaders could shout, "GO TURKEYS! GOBBLE 'EM UP!"
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5 months ago
marilyn swettLooks like a holiday dinner to me!
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5 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo marilyn swettI've had wild turkey before and it's not that good. But then, I don't much care for farm-raised turkey either. I prefer chicken.
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5 months ago
Maybe I'm just a naive small town guy who doesn't understand the changing suburban dynamic, but I think those turkeys might LIVE in that townhouse.
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The snow picked up a little bit after my suburban turkey awakening, but not so much that I was afraid to continue on.  I'm glad I did too, because I got a picture of St. Paul's only ski jumping hill to share with you.  It's a 40-meter jump that I think is still in use.  

There's the upper half rising above the trees. (I wonder if they'd let me jump my bike off that thing.)
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Keith KleinHoly cow! Is that thing still there? I don’t think anybodys used it for forty years or more.
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5 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Keith KleinYup, it's still there and, like you, I didn't think it was still in use. But before posting this photo, I Googled it and learned they have jumping events scheduled on Friday nights throughout the winter.
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5 months ago
Rich FrasierI think jumping your bike off that would be taking Tough Guy behavior a touch too far. Just my opinion...
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5 months ago

 

I have no doubt that this lake is included in the 10,000 number, and rightly so. It's loaded with cattails.
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My frolicking was about to end.  The wind whipped up and the snow began falling in earnest.  I raced back to Woodbury.  The only problem was that it was still only about 12:30, which was 2 1/2 hours before check-in time.  I'm comfortable with asking for an early check-in at say, 2:00, but not 12:30.  

To kill a little time, I went "shopping" at the Target store.  It had a Starbucks Coffee inside.  I ordered a small coffee.  The barrista seemed disappointed that I not only didn't order something fancier, but I also didn't even want cream or sugar in my coffee.  Still, she was super friendly and used my name three times in our transaction.  (She asked my name when I ordered.)  Minnesota Nice!

Even though The Reckless Mr. Bing Bong was nestled up to the Target store, it had to endure a little snow accumulation.
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A memento of my tour.
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Woodbury has a nice system of bike trails along the main arteries. They were getting covered in snow.
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There's a couple of inches on the trail now, but I'm almost to the LaQuinta Inn.
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Rich FrasierEvery time I scoll down to one of these pictures of a bike lying on its side, I worry I'm going to see your crumpled body nearby in the snow. You're far better on slippery stuff than me.
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5 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Rich FrasierHi Rich,
I sure didn't mean to worry you. I do have a bad habit of just lying my bike down instead of finding something to lean it against. In fact, heavy snow gives me another option. All I have to do is put the wheels in the snow and the bike will stay upright just as well as if I had a kick stand.
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5 months ago

I admit I was relieved to get to my hotel.  It was still more than an hour before the official check-in time, but I remembered that I had withdrawn some cash from the ATM yesterday specifically for the purposes of a bribe.

I shook all the snow off me and walked up to the front desk.  

"Hi!" said the gal, "welcome to LaQuinta.  May I help you?"

"Yes, I have a reservation for tonight under the name Garceau and I was hoping I could get an early check-in."  If necessary, I was ready to whip out a couple of crisp $20 bills.

She didn't even bat an eye.  She snapped into action, typed my name into the computer and answered in the affirmative.  Minnesota Nice!  I pushed my cash back into my pocket.

Today's ride: 20 miles (32 km)
Total: 36 miles (58 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 8
Kelly IniguezWe recently stayed at the Hampton Inn/Airport in Tucson. Perhaps because it's an airport motel (?), but two different times I saw people checking in while we were eating breakfast. Even I don't ask for that early of a check in! Anywhere around noon is fair game. I usually start out by being super polite, "I know it's crazy early, but I"m on a bicycle and was trying to beat the heat . . . . " In your case, you could substitute cold . . . at the worst, we wait in the lobby, using the wi-fi. Or, as you did, find something to eat and come back.

I'm enjoying the ride with you!
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5 months ago
Keith KleinHi,
I’ve tried checking in as early as 11:30, which is really too early, but as it was pouring rain at the time the kindly hotel staff let me wait in the lobby where I dripped all over every thing until lunch, when I dripped all over the restaurant. Because I had booked in for two days, they were kind enough to let me into my room right after lunch. I think hoteliers are just generally nice people.
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5 months ago
Graham FinchStaff at Starbucks must be drilled to ask the customer's name, then repeat it. I had the experience (again) this week here, but as 'Graham' is a bit hard for Taiwanese to pronounce, I just said it was 'Crazy'. I hoped to hear her call it out when my drink was ready, but she just brought it to my table.
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5 months ago
Lednar De NallohYour tough guy status has been enhanced, well done.
Talking of tough guys, Earnest Hemmingway has so many parallels with Australian Errol Flynn. Heavy drinking scoundrels travelling all over the world. An interesting read
https://drunkard.com/56-fi-hemingway/
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5 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Graham FinchThanks for the funny story, Graham--or should I say--"Crazy."
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5 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Kelly IniguezUsing the ultra-polite, appeal to their sympathies approach shows you are an expert in the art of early check-ins. As a reader of your journals, I see that you have a pretty high success rate too.
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5 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Lednar De NallohThat was a very interesting article, Led. I wonder what it says about me that I'm a big fan of Hemingway, Thompson, Faulkner, Mencken, and Parker?
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5 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Gregory GarceauYou might enjoy reading the funny book, Heads In Beds - an insiders view on hotel management.
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5 months ago