The Riders of the Realm assembled with their ship-shape Worthy Steeds at the Red Wing waterfront for another mission to sail around Lake Pepin. Baggage was deposited in the hold of the 3-speed lorry, old friendships were renewed, hands were shaken and soon the Vicar was delivering the highly-anticipated Blessing of the Bicycles from the Bulletin. The message of Godspeed from the Queen was delivered by Petty Officer John Palmer and First Mate Willy Gobert. This year included a signed letter of recommendation from the Canadian Parliament to Admirals STO and Noel Robinson. Gone are the days when we questioned the ability of this leaking old vessel to complete the appointed tour of duty; this English Navy is hale and hearty, thank you, and quite up to the task.
Soon we shoved off from port Red Wing and those friends and family left behind were waving their kerchiefs as we floated off into the unknown. Cool and cloudy with a light breeze at Force 3 on the Beaufort Scale proved near perfect sailing weather as we cruised past the Bow and Arrow marker. Soon, a rogue wave appeared on the horizon; the Bay City Hill. Some fortified themselves with ice cream and readied themselves for the charge. Full speed ahead was the call to the engine room as the bow rose up to meet the challenge. At the top, the Nutters felt the wave to be nothing more than a gentle swell and they paused to gather their courage for the descent. Down they went into the trough hurtling at high speed. Several more waves were encountered plus a welcomed rain shower that kept our record intact (there has never been a 3-Speed Tour without rain) and soon we were in Maiden Rock.
With the Smiling Pelican Bakery in dry dock, Maiden Rock proved to be an empty port-of-call and so we moved on. Wave after wave came our way but we rode them all and soon Stockholm harbour was in view and shore leave was granted for lunch. While we ate, and without warning, Force 3 became Force 4 and so the die was cast. By the time we hoisted anchor, Force 5 was upon us and we could do little but ride it out. The pier at Pepin soon was a welcome sight. For one unlucky Sailor who was enjoying the day on the pier, his 3-speed was caught by a Force 6 gust and off it went to Davy Jones Locker in 12 feet of water. A rescue mission was immediately mounted and soon both rider and steed were found dripping safely on shore. From Pepin, the Force 6 wind turned into a Force 7 gale. We fought our way toward [Lord] Nelson whereupon we were greeted with Force 8 and hapless Sailor Scott was cast adrift and blown off course to Alma; several miles down stream. A chance encounter with good friend Dave Siskind who happened to be on tour in the area, fixed Scott’s rudder and set him back on course. At that time we received word about another castaway, Peter 'Wrong Way' Jourdain, who became separated from the group early on and then rode to Wabasha mistakenly on the Minnesota side.
We finally made Wabasha and the Eagle’s Nest proved a welcome port for the evening. All the appreciative Nutters were well fed by Java Jim and Java Jan as we shared an entire roast hog fresh off the spit along with our favourite; English mushy peas washed down with English ale. Cap’n Porter, our Keeper of the Cask, declared the taps open and rations of grog was issued to the crew. After dinner we honored our oldest rider Bob Gibbs at 91 years of age, Ron Grogg, our Opportunist, announced a toast and the Vicar then led us in boisterous song with accompaniment by the Carrigan Girls.
Sunday morning dawned pleasant with Force 2 winds but humid and cloudy and after another amazing breakfast by the Eagle’s Nest we set sail on course for Lake City. The hills seemed like pleasant waves as the miles rolled by. Beautiful views of the lake were at every curve. Lake City could be seen in the distance like a beacon as the tailwind push us along. Finally, safe harbour was gained, supplies were procured and the Brew-Up was under way. Truly a new Gentleman’s and Gentlewoman’s sport, the competitive tea brewing proved popular to contestant and spectator alike. Some Nutters watched, some napped, but all were impressed when fine china was pulled from the saddlebags, tea was brewed and treats were served. The crew of Sandy Muzzy and Mark Wagar were declared the winners but Peter Jourdain and Juston/Judy Anderson were very, very close behind.
The next port-of-call was Old Frontenac and a quick visit to the 1850s cemetery was in order. The Old Stone Wall was next on the list with many photos taken and lots of chit-chat. By then, the heat was becoming oppressive but we had one more stop to make: the geodesic treehouse. An amazing structure placed well up in an ancient hackberry tree, it proved a worthy curiosity and completely unexpected in this idyllic setting.
We pressed on through New Frontenac and down Ski Road; a delightful alternate route that was lined with wildflowers and scenic vistas across the valley.
Eventually we made Red Wing and dropped anchor. Sadly, our tour of duty was over for another year. Dinner at the Staghead was a welcome relief from the heat and all the Nutters raised a glass to our successes, failures, discoveries and promises. Once again proving the humble 3-speed is the ship-of-choice for adventure both nautical and otherwise. www.3speedtour.com
Date(s): May 22 and 23, 2010. Album by STO. Photos by STO. 1 - 153 of 153 Total. 8990 Visits.
7 Peter "wrong way" JourdainEdit Taken shortly before he embarked on his infamous "wrong way round" ride! Note the injury to the left knee, from a tumble the previous evening - fortunately his bicycle was unharmed.Edit
9 Willy Gobert and John PalmerEdit They delivered the Message of Godspeed from the Queen plus an authentic letter of recommendation from the Canadian Parliament.Edit "What a spiffy pair of Canadians!" View Comments...
30 Tim and 1938 RaleighEdit This bike was donated to our campus bike shop by a '50 alum of our univ. He told me he bought it used in the mid-40's. He'd never changed out the rear tire/tube! Yes, I changed both tires/ tubes for this tour; the rear took my head-mechanic 1/2 day to change out!Edit
58 Bob lashes the evil squirrelEdit Ironically, all the Stockholm town bikes are painted the same blue.Edit "Beady-eyed beast stared at me all th..." "And the squirrel was annoying, too." View Comments...
104 Juston and Judy AndersonEdit An outstanding cyclists tea kit from ca. 1905 including tins for tea, sugar and butter. Matching stove, cups and saucers as well. It all interlocks together in a compact travel case.Edit
114 Sandy pouring a cuppaEdit All the treats were home made including cheesecake and South African 'rock buns" (I think) like a tiny scone. All served from the spotless Raleigh mixte with proper wicker baskets and fine china.Edit
115 Note the proper storage box and lace tableclothEdit The champagne was a nice touch, and live flowers would have been better but all-in-all, simply outstanding.Edit
116 Watercolor travelogue done DURING the tour!Edit Artwork was the key to placing high in this event.Edit "What talent. If this sort of art wor..." View Comments...