What a difference a day makes. Leaving the Twin Cities brown and drab, hustling out to the car in 40ish degree temperatures, it was definitely Minnesota's version of early spring. It will be weeks before the trees have leaves and flowers open there, and much longer at home in Duluth. Heading south we covered not only miles but time, as the season advanced rapidly as we drove. The car's outdoor thermometer climbed to just above 80, and our senses were assaulted by heat as we stepped out of the car to refuel. Oh, it felt good.
Our destination was my cousin's home in St. Louis where we spent a delightful day and a half visiting with family. Lawns were green, daffodils blooming, magnolias bursting out with their brilliant colors and fruit trees were covered in blossoms. Their yard alone gave testimony to the season that was rapidly unfolding before us.
It was a delight to go for long walks without jacket and jeans, to feel the warm breezes and the sun on my skin. We found Mama Canada Goose tending her nest while Dad lazily ignored us floating on the pond. Better yet, Mama decide it was time to rotate her position, giving us a rare view of her brood of eggs.
I wasn't the only one enjoying the sun. In Buder Park, the turtles packed any surface that protruded from the water to catch some rays. And we even glimpsed some elk and bison hanging out in the trees. Rich was a happy camper after spotting and photographing a Red Headed Woodpecker – a new bird for him. That's a “Lifer” in bird watching lingo, I learned. I at least managed to get a glimpse of “Woody.”
It's hard to fathom that this is the termination point of our Spring North cycling tour. We have yet to reach the heart of Texas where we will begin. By the time we return to St. Louis with at least 1,500 cycling miles behind us, these first signs of spring will have progressed to the height of the season. It looks like our plans to follow the spring north are right on track.