Weather: Sunny and 38Â°F (3Â°C)
Road Conditions: Sure and it’s just a wee bit of salt and sand ye have to watch out for.
Saint Patrick was celebrated for driving the snakes out of Ireland. I don’t know why he had to drive them out, since no species of snake that that I know of eats potatoes or cabbage, or Irishmen, for that matter. Perhaps it was all a mass hallucination brought on by early attempts at distilling whiskey, who knows?
Be that as it may, the legend persists to this day, and on March 17th every year, people who are not even the tiniest bit Irish use this as an excuse to dress all in green and talk like the leprechaun from the Lucky Charms commercials.
Well, I don’t hold with that nonsense. My ancesters came from France, and the bloodline has been here in the United States long enough that we Charpentiers have even dropped the proper pronunciation of our name. What was once a very classy-sounding “Shar-pon-tee-yay” has been whittled down to “Sharpen-teer”, probably because of the constant whining of Anglo Americans who can’t wrap their mouths around a proper French name.
But, as usual, I digress…
For the past several years, it has been my custom to ride to Wisconsin whenever Saint Patrick’s Day occurs on a weekend. Not only does this get me away from the Irish madness of the Twin Cities on a day when the roads will be filled with drunken amatuers, but it also allows me to reconnoiter my favorite local roads in preparation for the regular riding season.
Just as Saint Patrick chased the snakes out of his homeland, I go abroad into the Land of Cheese to search for snakes of the tarmac variety. These are well marked by signs such as the one pictured at the top of the page, and they abound in the bluff country along the Saint Croix River.
This year, in keeping with the spirit of the holiday, I rode my green motorbike, Frogwing.
We found lots of sand, plenty of salt, but for the most part the roads were dry and in good condition. We didn’t venture onto the Rustic Roads yet, because many of these are in shaded areas, and I’m sure they still have lots of ice on them.
Frogwing and I rode a 90-mile loop of the roads on both sides of the border, stopping here and there to see what’s new and inquire about how many bikers are on the roads this early in the season. We encountered only three other motorbikes during our short ride, and they were all going in the opposite direction. The guy on the BMW waved, but the couple on Harleys did not. From the look of them, they were probably either frozen stiff, or suffering the effects of too much “anti-freeze”.
Now, I’m not a big fan of corn-beef and cabbage. My tastes run more in the spicy direction. I first wrote about Enrique’s Tacos last April, so you have seen a photo like this one before. And, like last time, I neglected to get a good shot of the food. I was so hungry by the time we stopped there that I forgot to bring the camera inside. When my tacos arrived, I wolfed them down in record time without a thought of capturing them for posterity. Maybe next time…
On the ride home, we explored some side roads that bypass Highway 61. Taking the first right over the Prescott Bridge, we rode down Saint Croix Trail to 70th Street, which becomes Military Road, and then Bailey Road, and at some point Maxwell Street. These roads wind through mostly rural/suburban terrain, and it was here that I took the photo in the last post by the side of the frozen pond.
Arriving home, I tucked Frogwing into the garage, plugged in the battery tender, and went in to assume my duties as Mr. Mom. I wish I could have taken a longer ride, but my wife Amy is still recovering from her surgery, and I am still in charge of most of the domestic chores. This situation will prevail for awhile, but it shouldn’t prevent me from Rambling home from work most nights.
Tomorrow the temperature is supposed to rise into the fifties. Sure, and that’s Ramblin’ Weather now, lads and lassies, make no mistake.