Everyday Beauty

27 January. 2006 Temperatures: embarassing… 43F (6C)

What a glorious Spring day! Who would believe, in Minnesota, in January, that we would be looking at weather like this? Incredible.

It was forty-three degrees this morning, when the Baron and I set out for work. I brought my electric vest with me, but I wasn’t wearing it. Ditto my snow pants. They were packed away in my stylish salmon (it’s NOT pink!) milk-crate, bungied to the luggage rack.

Why bring them at all? The Windsock and Crystal Ball Guild were in solid agreement that we would see record high temperatures today.

I could have pulled that unsightly mess off the back of the Baron and enjoyed an extra mile per hour at speed, and maybe two miles per gallon on our commute. Perhaps old age and caution is creeping up on me. Maybe it’s just the potent force of habit. I just don’t trust this weather. I feel like I’m dreaming. Anyway…

We had a pleasant ride this morning. With no hazards on the road surface, I was able to look around and appreciate the beautiful scenery on my carefully-planned, and long-refined, slow route to work. As we crossed the High Bridge, the sun was below the horizon, but there was a deep blue glow in the sky which silhouetted the Saint Paul skyline, and my favorite landmark, the 1st Bank building.

Think of the 1st Bank building as Saint Paul’s version of the Empire State. It was the tallest, for awhile. When other buildings surpassed it, they were soulless, glass-and-steel monoliths.

I remember watching that “1st” sign flash on and off as we approached Saint Paul in the family station wagon, way back in the 1960’s. It was a touchstone of my young existence, and it always let me know when we were close to home.

The rest of this slow route follows the Mississippi River as it meanders through our Twin Cities. It isn’t a straight line, by any means. But it does display the very best scenery our home has to offer. Some of the most dramatic natural features are carved by rivers, as anyone who has visited the Grand Canyon can verify. Along the Mississippi, we see bluffs, caves, and waterfalls with beautiful parkland running right down to the water’s edge.

The architects who designed our cities were obviously inspired by the river. They built their best structures along it’s banks. Today, on our way home, the Baron and I visited the Stone Arch Bridge. This is just downstream from Saint Anthony Falls. There is a lock and damn system here that passes a lot of barge traffic during the warmer seasons, but it is closed during the winter.

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We pass this stuff every single workday, but we have never stopped to really appreciate how beautiful it is. It seems I am always concentrating on the road or the traffic, even though this is a sparsely-travelled parkway. Highway habits die hard.

There’s no stopping on the way to work, anyway, because the clock is ticking, and that’s the bossman’s time. But on the way home, with the sun shining bright, life resumes it’s proper pace. Especially on Friday.

Today, we stopped long enough to take some photos, and then continued on towards home. It was an unbelievably gorgeous day, so you just KNOW something had to go wrong. It did. But I will tell you about that next time. For now, just enjoy the pretty picture….

5 Responses to “Everyday Beauty”

  1. Bill Sommers Says:

    Gary, I enjoyed your description of your beautiful city. My family roots trace back to the Twin-Cities. I’m told that the “Sommers” name can be found in your phone books more than once. I’ve been there once and really enjoyed the short time I was there.
    Well, I’m going down to my local multi-brand motorcycle dealership tomorrow to put some cash down to hold a used 125cc scooter. The previous owner had pulled off all of the decals, so I’m not sure of it’s origin yet. The previous owner had used it as trade stock to buy a Suzuki Bergman. It has 401 miles on the odo, and is a 2005 model. The sales rep has assured me that if I run into any problems, they’d take care of me. And I trust them because we’ve got a good service history together.
    Anyway, I’m pretty jacked about it. Then I’ll follow your lead and start my own personal scooter quest.
    Enjoy your weather. I’m looking forward to five Pacific storms in the next 4 days to keep me wet. *Bill*

  2. mnscooter Says:

    Bill, that’s wonderful. Is it a Yamaha Vino, by chance? I’ve always liked the look of them. This sounds like fun, and I wish you the best of luck with it. How long before I can read your blog?

    Ride well,

  3. Mad Says:

    Hey Gary I had test ride today on one of the first Triumph Daytona 675’s to arrive in any dealership.
    “Woooooooooooohooooooooo… Ow my back hurts” about sums up the experience.
    I love the photo, you have a nack with a camera and I’m really curious to know what went wrong. You’ve learnt my Dad’s trick of leaving a blog post with a “cliff hanger”, it ensures repeat visits….

  4. Steve Williams Says:

    There is something near magic about riding a scooter. I see, smell and experience things in ways impossible to appreciate in a car. Or even a bicycle. As you describe the experience riding home I just know the feeling.

    Just returned from a midnight ride to the video store. Clear sky and around 35 degrees. I could see the stars and the lights in town and I really enjoyed hurtling along enjoying everything.


  5. mnscooter Says:

    Hello Mad,

    I will update later today. If you like my humble photography, you should take a moment to visit Steve William’s blog. His stuff puts mine to shame:


    Steve, you are absolutely right. The twist-and-go, automatic type scooter is so easy, so intuitive to ride, that there is very little to distract from your surroundings. There are times that I feel I am just levitating a couple feet above the pavement. The whisper-quiet exhaust allows me to hear birds singing and the frantic rush of traffic on the freeway bridges as we pass quietly below.

    The Baron has gotten under my skin, and I know now that I will always own a scooter. There is no better way to travel in the city.

    Ride well,

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