Because I don’t have a motorcycle endorsement on my driver’s license, going along for the ride is mostly what I do. I sit on the back of our Victory and delight in the scenery around me. I smell the fresh air, lift my face to the sun and sing. Such was the case a week ago Saturday, when Ralph and I joined riders from Hosanna! Lutheran Church in Lakeville. The occasion was the annual Blessing of the Bikes. (We figure you can never have too much insurance when you’re riding a motorcycle.) This time, both of us were along for the ride, which began at the church in Lakeville. The Lakeville police escorted our group of 75 bikes out of town. It was kind of nice to have them go ahead and change all the traffic lights as we approached. It kept the group together. From Lakeville we rode to Hastings, where we stopped to take a look at Vermillion Falls. We’ve had ample rain in Minnesota this spring, so the falls were cascading in full force. From Hastings, we followed the Ravenna Trail to the outskirts of Red Wing. On the way, we passed the Prairie Island Indian Community, where the Mdewakantan Dakota have built their homes in circles. We passed Treasure Island Casino, then turned right onto U.S. 61 for a short ride to the Welch Road. I was so busy looking at horses grazing in pastures sprinkled with daisies, Holstein cattle that turned their heads to watch us ride by and woods filled with bright purple phlox that I forgot to keep track of the roads we were riding on (that’s true relaxation!). When we came into Cannon Falls, the group headed north out of town. Soon we came to a one-lane bridge that neither Ralph nor I knew existed. It was the highlight of the ride. This weekend, Ralph will join hundreds of riders for the Patriot Ride at Anoka County Airport. I won’t be along for this ride, however. I’m staying behind to sell copies of Ride Minnesota.
It was a long winter. Then monsoon season. Now we’re pretty close to summer and it’s time to ride! Today is a gorgeous day. I hope the weather holds for the Blessing of the Bikes at Hosanna! Lutheran Church this Saturday. If it’s half-way decent, I’m sure the motorcycle crowd will be there. Ralph and I are going to be there, taking orders for Ride Minnesota, listening to the Daisy Dillman Band and, I hope, going on the ride.
Two Sundays ago, we rode up to St. Cloud to join a ride that benefitted the St. Cloud Children’s Home. We paid $10 each to participate (the money from the wristbands went to the home), and had a wonderful chicken dinner at Shortstop. Then everyone jumped on their bikes and we rumbled decorously through St. Cloud. It was a gorgeous day–one of those perfect Minnesota days–with lots of blue sky and a few puffy clouds. Lilacs were in full bloom along the highways, and their scent wafted over the green earth.
Before hitting the backroads, the group rolled through the grounds of the children’s home to let the kids have a look at all the bikes. Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be many kids around to view this spectacle. The guy on the Harley next to us was forced to drop out when the drive belt on his motorcycle suddenly broke. Thank God, this happened at 15 mph instead of 60 on the highway. He was able to pull out of line without causing any trouble.
We rode the curves and hills with the group until we got to Orrock. Ralph wasn’t feeling well–it turned out to be pneumonia–and we were half-way home, so we decided to ride Hwy. 47 back to the Twin Cities rather than return to St. Cloud.
I haven’t heard how much money the ride generated. It gave me and Ralph a chance to see a part of the state that we haven’t spent much time in. We’ll have to go back and explore it more thoroughly.
Here’s to good weather on Saturday!