Wednesday 20th July & Thursday 21st July – Rest & Relaxation
Wednesday 20th July (Rest Day One)
Back to Back rest days for the first time since West Yellowstone on 15th & 16th June. The plan is to combine sightseeing with some essential admin like getting the bike serviced, laundry, catching up with my blog, planning the route & booking accommodation for the coming week or so.
I found a local bike shop less than 1/2 a mile from the hotel that had good reviews, so we dropped off our bikes off at 10am with a list of what needed looking at – rear & front gear indexing, brake pads, checking tyre pressures & a squeaky headset for me. The same for Sean, plus truing his front wheel. They should be ready this afternoon.
While we waited for the bikes to be serviced, we had time for a bit of sightseeing – there’s a Tram stop less than 2 minutes from the hotel, so we took the Green Tram as far as Nicollet Mall ($4.50 for a 5 hour ticket) then took a walk -Minneapolis has a relaxed vibe, with Games On Nicollet that anyone is welcome to use. There’s a statue of Mary Tyler-Moore near the site where she threw her hat in the air at the end of the opening credits of her show. I also took a photo looking back towards Nicollet Mall, as the sun reflected off a nearby building.
Our plan was to head towards Loring Park, maybe find a coffee shop (we found Dunn Brothers for coffee & an apple fritter), then explore the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
I picked my favourite sculptures & have included the titles & their artists – there are now over 40 separate sculptures in the garden & the centrepiece is the Spoonbridge & Cherry which was funded with a $500,000 donation from Frederick R Weisman in 1988. The cherry was removed last year so it could be repainted & was re-united with the spoon earlier this year.
This is a great place to spend an hour or two relaxing, taking in the art & people watching. Without further ado – Salute To Painting (Roy Lichenstein), Gog & Magog (Martin Puryear), Untitled, Reclining Mother and Child (Henry Moore), Without Words (Judith Shea).
Double Curve (Ellsworth Kelly) & Amaryllis (Tony Smith), Double Curve (Ellsworth Kelly), Spoonbridge & Cherry (Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen), The Spinner (Alexander Calder).
Spoonbridge & Cherry (Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen), Woodrow (Deborah Butterfield), Hahn/Cock (Katharina Fritsch), Hare On Bell On Portland Stone Piers (Barry Flanagan).
For Whom…. (Kris Martin), Dawn Tree (Louise Nevelson) & Arikidea (Mark di Suvero), Arikidea (Mark di Suvero), Love (Robert Indiana).
Hahn/Cock (Katharina Fritsch.
Spoonbridge & Cherry (Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen).
Walking Man (George Segal), September Room (Mark Manders), Adam & Eve (Simone Fattal), Hephaestus (Matthew Manahan). The final photo is overlooking the park from the bridge.
I took the photos of the Basilica of St Mary as we crossed the bridge above the Freeway & 2 photos of the Skyline of Minneapolis as we strolled through Loring Park.
I also spotted a couple of small murals in the brick columns by the Stadium Village Station & on the Electric Generator that we passed on the way back to the hotel.
We picked the bikes up this afternoon – everything is sorted & ready to be ridden on Friday. It’s time to celebrate a successful day with a few beers (more than a few in the end!)- tonight we tried Sally’s Saloon, another really enjoyable night sampling the local IPA’s & Blue Moons!
Thursday 21st July – Minneapolis (Rest Day Two)
We headed back into Minneapolis on the Tram again to visit the Stone-Arch Bridge. On the way I stopped to get photos of The Commons Park & the US Bank Stadium where the Minnesota Vikings play their home American Football games.
The Stone-Arch Bridge is a former railroad bridge crossing near to St Anthony Falls. It’s the only stone-arched bridge on the entire Mississippi & is the second oldest bridge of any sort across the river. The bridge was completed in 1883 & is now exclusively for use by pedestrians & cyclists.
On the West Bank you can see the Old Mill Museum. The museum was built in 2003, in the footprint of the original Washburn ‘A’ Mill. The museum focuses on the founding & growth of Minneapolis, especially flour milling & the other industries that used hydropower from the St Anthony Falls in the 1870’s.
The St Anthony Falls is the only natural major waterfall on the entire Mississippi River – the river drops 49 feet (that’s 10% of the total height that the river loses in the 560 miles from Minneapolis to St Louis.
Between 1857 & 1868, the falls were retreating at a rate of 26 feet per year, due damage from logging activities & hydro schemes to power the flour & timber mills. The damage continued until the US Army Corps of Engineers carried our remediation work between 1874 & 1885. Those works continue to protect the falls to this day along with a concrete apron that protects the delicate limestone from erosion.
Looking downstream the main channel of the Mississippi is re-joined from the Lock & Dam on the West bank & the hydro-electric facility on the East bank.
The upper level of the lock & dam have been closed to navigation since 2015 in an attempt to prevent carp infesting the upper reaches of the Mississippi. The lock measures 56 feet wide by 400 feet long & the drop is 49 feet.
We only spent about an hour exploring the area, as sadly the Visitor Centre is currently closed as a precaution against Covid. In the event you ever visit Minneapolis I can thoroughly recommend a visit to the Stone-Arch Bridge & surrounding area.
Making full use of our $4.50, five hour Tram ticket, we returned to US Bank Station & caught a Blue Tram to Minnehaha Falls. It takes about a 15 to 20 minute journey on the tram, followed by a 5 minute walk to reach the Regional Park.
We were limited for time, so chose to just visit Minnehaha Falls, although the park has so much more to offer. The park is one of the oldest & most popular in Minneapolis & is most famous for its 53 foot waterfall & limestone cliffs, as well as its river overlooks.
The park had quite a few visitors, but it never felt overly busy – there were a few groups of cyclists exploring the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, kids playing in the rockpools & ponds, while adults roamed the gardens. The temperature was in the 90’s today so after we’d walked the Minnehaha Falls trail we stopped for a sprite & then headed back to the hotel.
I’ve had a great couple of days, exploring the City & some of its sights, enjoying some genuine Rest & Relaxation over a pint or two (or three), as well as getting the route planned for the next week or so & also getting the mundane tasks done like laundry.
Tomorrow we start our next block of riding, as we head off down the Mississippi on the Great River Road Scenic Byway. I hope you’ll join me on the next stage of our adventure from Coast to Coast across the USA!