It was well past sunset, about 8:30 p.m., and the temperature hovered around 30 degrees. But that didn’t stop one adventurous biker from riding his motorcycle past our house Saturday night. If there’s a “call of the wild” for bikers, it’s the distinctive rumble of a motorcycle engine. I expect we’ll hear many more “calls” this week as winter releases its icy hold on the land and on our psyches. I’m looking forward to it.
I had the chance to run down to Lanesboro, Minnesota, last week and deliver copies of Ride Minnesota to Pat Shanahan, who will open his new motorcycle shop/hotel in May. Iron Horse Outfitters & Inn will be a place to buy and sell used motorcycle gear, purchase new stuff, and even some very special one-off motorcycles. A four-room inn is under construction above the store, and it will cater to bikers. Pat’s operation will be a great addition to Lanesboro, and a wonderful place to kick back after a day of riding. If you haven’t traveled the hills and curves of Fillmore and Houston Counties, you’re in for a treat. Southeastern Minnesota has some of the best motorcycle routes in the state. I describe some of them in Ride Minnesota, and I hope to ride a few more this year.
Another area worthy of attention is up around Ely. Folks in the Iron Range are working hard to promote motorcycle tourism in their area. The Minnesota Arrowhead Association has produced a map called “Ride the Arrowhead” that shows paved scenic motorcycle routes in Northeastern Minnesota. Ralph and I are going to try to ride some of these routes this year. You can download the map at Explore Minnesota. If you do ride to Ely, be sure to check out the International Wolf Center on the north side of town. It’s a great way to get in touch with your “wild” side, and your visit helps fund the study and preservation of wolves.
Get out and RIDE Minnesota!
It’s a gorgeous summer day in Minnesota: 80 degrees, lots of sun, humidity well within the comfort range, and a nice breeze. Minnesotans recognize this kind of a day as a gift, one to be enjoyed and cherished, especially after a seemingly unending winter. It’s important to take advantage of this type of gift.
Motorcyclists understand that. As I pull up radishes that matured too quickly (no crunchy red roots to munch on!), I hear them traveling on 35W, about a mile from home. Cruisers, choppers, crotch rockets–they’re all out there, roaring down the freeway, soaking up the sun.
It’s a perfect day to take the motorcycle to work, as Ralph did. Or to explore a part of Minnesota you haven’t seen before. To visit Paul Bunyan in the Brainerd Lakes area, or pose for a photo next to Smokey the Bear in International Falls. It’s a great day to ride along a lake or river and let the breeze off the water cool you down.