Oddly enough, the day began with a cessation of the incessant rain that had plagued the area. We were then able to renew old friendships, load the lorry, and enjoy the Blessing of the Bicycles from the Vicar. Godspeed from the Queen was delivered by John Palmer and Willy Gobert. The Nutters were inspired enough to mount up and begin the journey to the Holy Land of Wabasha. Construction of the Ark would have to wait.
The First Commandment of 3-Speed Touring is “Thou shall not pass a bakery” so Noel and I, along with Mike and Courtney Bullis paid a visit to Hanisch for a treat; 4 blocks into the Tour seemed about right for a rest stop. 1 block later we found the beginning of The Curse; Henry Cole was the first of the flats. 1 block further it was Peter “Wrongway” Jourdain. The flats and mechanical issues continued all day.
Noel and I pressed on. We chose an alternate route that took us closer to the Bow and Arrow marker and, in places, right to the base of the river bluffs. Next was Bay City; a place to gather your breath, ice cream and inspiration before The Ascension.
We could delay no longer and our climb to the Heavens began. The Bay City Hill was the first moment of Rapture; a beautiful canyon lined with wildflowers and moss that continued up without end. Along the climb we heard Nutters talking in tongues; others were praying for mercy but in the end, all made the journey to the summit.
We flew with angels wings down the back side and since the rain had begun in earnest, braking was out of the question. A small canopy at the next wayside provided shelter for some but others continued on hearing the siren song of the Smiling Pelican.
Communion at the Smiling Pelican was a vision! Cookies, quiche, breads, hot coffee, pies of all descriptions fortified the faithful. We lounged in the gardens as the clouds parted and strength was regained; surely, this must be Rapture!
Capes were stowed as the journey began to the Maiden Rock wayside; a lovely spot beneath the infamous bluff where one sacrificed herself for the love of another. Indeed, Rapture can be found here with the sun, wind, rock, the view and the legend.
Pressing on into Stockholm alone, I stopped for a photo since a beautiful flower garden and shed had caught my eye. I posed my bicycle then stepped back onto the road for the quick photo. Oddly enough, there were no cars, no motorcycles, no freight trains and no bicycles. I stood quietly for what seemed an eternity. I could hear the songbirds and the waves on the shore. In the gentle wind I could smell the lilac and apple. Here again was Rapture.
Pepin came soon enough, some Nutters stopped to join the Vicar’s Table at the Harbor View and some napped in the grass. The pace was relaxed; the weather was pleasant and no-one felt the need to hurry along. Before Nelson, I had the pleasure of riding with Bob Gibbs. I pray that all us Nutters will still be riding so strong at 92.
Riding into Wabasha, we attempted a parting of the Mississippi. It didn’t take long before we decided to take the bridge. Surely, here is Mecca; the Eagle’s Nest Coffee House. Jan and Jim created another English masterpiece; bangers and mash with excellent mushy peas, several desserts and English Ale. A greeting was delivered by mayor Rollin Hall. The sing along was moved to the outdoor patio much to the chagrin of the neighbors.
Sunday dawned clear and pleasant; breakfast was another treat from Jan and Jim with various egg bakes, porridge, fruit and sweet breads. Not much time to linger after breakfast; the Nutters were eager press on to Lake City. Goodbye hugs were distributed and we were off.
Several chose alternate routes upon the bluffs where the views were spectacular. A bit of rain to keep us honest came and went but all-in-all, high road or low road, the journey into Lake City was all vistas and tailwinds sprinkled with the odd flat tyre here and there.
The Brew-Up was well underway by the time I arrived. Marlis Schmidt and Juston Anderson had set the bar quite high with her silver tea set, English bone china and, believe it or not, victrola. This truly was heaven. Waiting in the wings was the combined 4-person team of Melanie and Chris Foss from Iowa along with Mike and Christine Welsh from Illinois. Sandra Muzzy and Mark Wagar were back with a formidable presentation as well. Ultimately, Melanie and Chris, Mike and Christine prevailed to take the Brew-Up crown just as the Heavens opened up and another downpour began.
The rain let up and soon the wayfarers moved on to Old Frontenac with a visit to the 1830s cemetery. Noel described it as a cathedral and certainly it was, for these lucky souls were buried in Eden. Before long we gathered at the old stone wall at the corner of Faribault Street and Manypenny Avenue. Photos were taken as we were humbled with the beauty of the architecture and landscape.
The final leg of the journey was upon us; some chose Hill Avenue but I prefer Ski Road as an alternate route. It borders a State Forest and rises gently to wonderful views. It was soon apparent that I was quite alone and a strong thunderstorm was upon me. It grew darker and the thunder and lightning was continuous. Fog was rising from the road and fields. I considered seeking shelter but I thought if my ticket has been stamped, what better way, what better setting and what better event to experience the final Rapture.
Obviously, I lived to tell the tale and I soon joined up with the group that descended from Hill Avenue. A final spin into Red Wing was upon us and soon a sinking feeling befell us; another Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour was over.
Rapture isn’t the Second Coming, end of days or an immediate ascension into the destination known as Heaven; it is simply a passionate journey right here on earth. Heaven is truly all around us for everyone to see. Beauty in excelsis is here with us and around us every single day of our personal journey; all we need is something to show us the way. The humble 3-speed is, indeed, The Way. www.3speedtour.com
Date(s): May 21 & 22, 2011. Album by STO. Photos by STO. 1 - 179 of 179 Total. 15579 Visits.
128 CIMG6276Edit Kathie's first but not last tour wearing her great grandfather, Peter Chalmers' silver second-place medal for a velocipede race from the Royal Gymnasium in Gorgie,Scotland, August 28, 1869.Edit "Hello Kathie, friend or relative. I ..." View Comments...