A Mississippi Preview

We’re under a week now, until the start of our  Upper Mississippi River Cycling Tour.  I was in the Twin Cities for the weekend to spend Mothers’ Day with my children and grandchildren, so I decided to head over to the Mississippi River as a warm-up for our trip.

5-12-2013 5-18-22 PMWe have a favorite cycling circuit we call our “Sunday Morning Route.”  Typically, we do it in the very early morning hours, before the rest of the world wakes up.  But with the chilly spring weather (plus a delicious Mothers’ Day breakfast with my son!) I waited until mid-morning to start.

IMG_0885I enjoy taking the Greenway into downtown Minneapolis, and cycling under the Twins’ stadium.  From there, it’s not far to the river – the Mighty Mississippi.  After following the river through the populated areas downtown, the path became quieter and the river spread out into a more pastoral scene.  I could then start to imagine our trip.

IMG_0888We’ll be following the Great River Road for major portions of our trip through Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, so it was pleasing to see the signs appear on my route.  We won’t usually have a bike path like Minneapolis does along the river, and we’ll be schlepping a whole lot more gear than I had.  But it will be the same river.

Looking for tips on weather and temperatures for our trip, my sources said that the air was cooler near the river.  I definitely found it to be true – just like “cooler by the lake,” the river threw off chilly breezes from the late spring runoff.  Note for packing – an extra layer may be needed.

IMG_0893Leaving the river, I returned on the Midway Greenway.  It’s the bridges that are the highlight for me on that portion of the route.  First, the cycling bridge with its single support and soaring cables.  It reminds me of the bridges in Rotterdam.  That is followed by the sequence of road bridges overhead as the bike path travels below street level through the city.  The parallel structures spanning the distance make a pleasing display.  And down below, it must be warmer as I found blossoming tulips to brighten the spring day.

Covering only 4 1/2 miles along the Mississippi River on this jaunt was definitely only a small preview.  That leaves a whole lot more to discover next week.



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