Sunday, August 30, 2015

Picking out Pina's iPhone 6 at the Verizon store in Medina, MN.

OK. Now we can text like crazy people.  Keep an eye on your smart phones, as La Nancita is poised to tap out some news, views and party shoes.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Excelsior Brewing Company's Reed Osell talks taste, ingredients, continued growth and preference for the iconic new brand.

The fragrant smell of Excelsior Beer being brewed -- it was the malt's turn -- was unmistakable. I was walking around Excelsior, MN, and couldn't help but be drawn to the nexus of something extraordinary.  Met the Taproom Operations Manger, Reed Osell, and he gave me a rapid-fire education of micro-brewing, and how his brand is really doing well.

"It's the ingredients," explains Reed, "we have something unique in the process (our secret timing and recipe, of course), and customers really enjoy drinking our beer."

If I'm not mistaken Excelsior will "boil" 500 tall barrels of the elixir this calendar year.  Demand seems to almost outpace supply, and I'd bet the brewery would be expanding before you know it.

Reed was in a hurry to get back to work, but he did give me a few Excelsior Brewing Company promotional stickers.  I keep a little journal and have already pasted in my sticker.  I'll send one off to my grandson tomorrow so he can keep his book current.

Grandson is too young to pick up a growler -- even on Sunday -- so he'll have to be content for now with the sticker -- and an exciting story of "making it" told by a proud and passionate young exec.

These kegs are a thing of beauty

Always on Sunday now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Summer's Here and Time is Right for Spashing in the Pool. Big boy has NOT lost his cannon ball touch.

Big boy about to make a huge splash.  Our swimmer has not lost his cannon-ball touch.

Nailing dive after dive, can opener after can opener, cannon ball after cannon ball -- phew tires a guy out, makes him repair to the nearby grill, whip up some brats and burgers.  Yummm.

Monday, August 24, 2015

You've Heard of Ghost Bikes - they Honor our Fallen Velo Sister and Brothers. Maybe this BMX is a Clown bike, and the Circus is Coming to Navarre?

So, on my way back to Long Lake from Excelsior today.  Saw the BMX dangling from on the town sign, knew it wasn't a Ghost Bike.

WTF?  What do you suppose we have here?  

I'll go to the town site, see what else I can learn.  Meanwhile, check fotos from Excelsior that follow.  See if they don't bring a touristy smile to your face.

Yard Sale Shopper on Whidbey Buys Irresistable Treasure, pays with $5.00 bill, plus one Freshly Caught 20lb. Wild Salmon.

So, I learn from my Sis that a shopper scored an item from the yard sale for a 5-spot, plus a wild salmon the guy has just caught.   "How much is salmon per lb.," I asked. "Might be $8.99 on sales," replies Sis.

So, a 20-pounder used in barter, yielding fillets at $8.99, Washington-state style, comes out to more than $150.00.  Wow.  Good deal for the fisherman -- salmon running non-stop off coast of the island -- not to mention good deal for the yard sale folks.

THEN (and check out sign below from my local supermarket) Wild King Salmon here in the Heartland sell for $16.99 per fillet-pound.

Lesson and Market Moral?  Availability of something, like seasonal running of wild salmon, and its possible over-abundance, determines price --per item, per Pound, per sign, per whatever. You sure don't need government regulation here when it comes to pricing -- product safety, freshness, and quality, however; that's another matter.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Whidbey Island, WA back yard sale today - Marked-down items sure look different from the goodies available here in Long Lake, MN.

Check out the surf casting rods, big salmon net.  My sister and her hubby offered up their best loot this weekend and the yard sale was a huge success.  Back to that net for a moment:  it would be very cool to have one here in Minnie, 'cept I'm not much of a fisherman.  If I did buy the net, it could hang in the garage next to several bikes presently gathering dust.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back of Calhoun Cycle and Dunn Bros. is some Tantalizing Tromp L'Oeil. Check out doors and Windows. Coulda fooled me.

You've been in that Calhoun Cycle lot at 34th and Hennepin a million times.  You've demo-ed the Brompton, stopped for lattes at Dunn Bros.  Likely parted with more $$$ at retail than you'd planned. 

BUT, did you ever notice the tromp l'oeil work on the doors and brick walls of said building?

I know there's a studio apartment upstairs, over the coffee shop.  The outside stairs give it away.  But I couldn't get over the imagination of the building owner -- tricked out what would ordinarily be, well, quite an ordinary facade.  And tricked the eye while at it. Nice execution, Picasso.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pedaling the Stone Arch Bridge and Environs, Taking Color Pics w/iPhone 5, Converting to Black + White.

Left the velo at home today and drove to parking lot near the Stone Arch Bridge.  This is the same spot we've brought visitors, family and friends -- I remember the day Joe and Nancy joined NTS and me to walk "over and around the Mighty Mississippi."  Decided to try a few shots at infinity with the iPhoto 5, and they are presented for your enjoyment here.

The red and white interlocking barriers (now B + W),  don't look anywhere near as imposing in this here as they do in real life.  I took this shot some forty feet above the barriers, steadying the cam-phone on the railing along the Stone Arch Bridge.

The Mighty Miss is pretty subdued at this time of the year.  I like the stairs to the left, and tried to edit/adjust the shot for maximum contrast.

A new Mom cools her heels, catches her breath, and lets the magic of the Mississippi River re-energize and restore.

The iconic Gold Medal "skyscraper," Minneapolis style.  This historical gem is now Mill City Museum, and interactive, educational expereince unlike any I've seen.  You hould check this out for yourself.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

We Spent Serious $$ Today at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Art Crawl.

We had some good times today at the Arboretum Art Crawl.  And we also spent some dough -- not a break-the-bank amount, and not with all of these vendors on this post, but with a couple of them.  And if YOU are on the Hoyt's holiday gift list, you'll be liking what we'll be sending out as December rolls around.

For instance, Emily Gray Koehler, pictured above, is a skilled wood cut printmaker from White Bear Lake.  Recipient of a 2015 Artists Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Emily Koehler's woodcuts "explore our complex relationships with the natural world."

La Nancita made a couple of purchases from Emily's shop, and we'll be keeping an eye on this young artists as her career moves forward.  

Patty Conlin, pictured to the left here, is a fascinating goldsmith with a special talent for rings, necklaces and bracelets in particular. She knows precious stones not to mention her customers' preferences, tastes and styles.

While we did not write a check for a new gold ring, we left impressed, intrigued, and thinking, hey, maybe, just maybe one of these days ...

You like granola?  I mean the really special stuff -- homemade, delicate, distinctive? Where you can taste the ingredients, one at a time, and you just know you're eating healthy?

We bought some of the Honey + Nut variety from Patti, plus several bags of her Oven Roasted Rosemary Nuts.

OMG. You MUST taste these babies. "Patti's" -- Locally Made, Locally Loved -- does not disappoint.

The "Crawl" is on tomorrow, August 16th, at the Arboretum.  Go if you can.  Tell our new BFF's Patty, Patti and Emily that Nancy and Seth sent you. Have fun!

Buesing Stainless Steel Tankers Haul 50,000 lbs. of Dry Bulk Material.

One of the drivers at Buesing's in Long Lake was explaining to me what goes on with these gorgeous, shiny, enormous trailers in the lot behind Caribou Coffee, not far from where I live.

Turns out that what I assumed to be "tankers" actually haul dry bulk -- beans, wheat, etc. -- from field to grinding and milling plants in southern Minnesota.

I learned that as many as 50,000 lbs. of payload go into these babies. And once they are dumped at the plant, the clean out process -- blowing compressed air through the tankers -- can proceed. Couldn't help but wonder as well how much one of these trailers must cost.  Stainless steel construction, custom made wheel set-ups.

What do you think?  Maybe $500,000 each?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Big Day in Hopkins: Shady Oak Beach, then a Stop at Depot Coffee Shop, where Solar Energy Rules the Roost, Provides the Juice.

 The young guy on duty at the ticket office told me that as many as 700-800 swimmers and picnickers come into Shady Oak Beach at any one time.  Wow.  When I visited yesterday some 450 folks, mostly younger, were enjoying last days of a gorgeous Minnesota summer.

 Turns out I could have bought a season's pass if I'd known about it earlier.  One can still enter with a day-pass, though I forgot to ask how much it cost.  The Beach stays open until 8:00 PM.  Season ends on August 23rd.  I'd bet habitues are going to miss this place since next May, and the opening of the 2016 season, is a long way away.

 Unmistakable Hopkins tower, easy to see from the busy regional bike trail.
I'd seen the solar panels atop Depot Coffee Shop.  Only yesterday did I notice the real time meters, displayed on a computer monitor, proclaiming impressive performance of the panels -- and making customers feel very good about CO2 NOT going into the atmosphere.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Forget Electric Assisted Bikes, all the rage. Bat Out of Hell Motorized Schwinn, Miami Version, does 40 mph on an 80 cc internal combustion engine. Brother Joe damned near hopped aboard and put 'er through her paces. He came to his senses at last.

Joe is a little too young to have ridden a Whizzer back in the day.  But I sure did. And pleaded with Mom and Dad, over and over, to, please, get me a Whizzer Schwinn rig.  No such luck, and probably just as well.

As far as I was concerned the Whizzer Schwinn era in my memory was over.  But then Bro Joe sends me this pic -- and brags on the 40 mph top end performance on an 80 cc engine. I asked him if he had the cojones to hop aboard and take 'er for a spin.

No way, Jose, he replied.  So we'll just imagine what might have been. And leave the driving to someone  little more adventurous than we are.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Connecticut Mountain Bike Sports Classic 1953 CT Plate. Most likely originally found in box of Cheerios, back in the Day.

If you're a veloster of a certain age you'll remember the cool premium items inside boxes of cereal that Mom brought home for breakfast.   The point was to inspire young guys (and gals) to eat, eat, eat boxes of Wheat-a-Bix, Cheerios, Corn Flakes, Rice Crisps, whatever, so we could collect all fifty states-worth of plates.  Maybe we had 48 states back then. At any rate, the promotion worked for a long time.  Cracker Jax STILL includes prizes and surprises in every box.

A young Friend of mine hung this CT plate on the seat of his TREK.  Sure does bring back fond memories of a golden age of pedaling.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

City of Minneapolis Public Works builds-out "Parklets," and I visited one thYis afternoon out-front of "Canteen"

A parklet is a seasonal expansion of the existing sidewalk designed for the public to relax and enjoy the city.
Parklets are an innovative and cost effective way to add public gathering space to public streets. Parklets are streetscape enhancements, providing an economical solution for increased public open space. Parklets provide amenities like seating, plantings, bike parking and public art. While parklets are typically funded and maintained by neighboring businesses, residents and community organizations, they are publicly accessible and open to all. Parklets are located in the parking lane adjacent to the curb designed as an extension of the sidewalk. Advertising and other commercial activities are not permitted in the parklet.
You can see the shadow of a cozy, protective, summer umbrella straddling the sidewalk and 2 x 6 wood decking.  Chairs are pretty comfy, the facilities are spotless, and a customer of "Canteen" can stroll out the shop's front door, iced latte in hand, plop down in a parklet chair and read all news in the latest issue of the Strib.

When I checked on-line to learn more about parklets -- a familiar concept, but the specifics here in Minneapolis were unknown to me -- I learned that two parklet are up and running, with three more expected soon.

Now were inside Canteen 3522.  The owner is one of those creative types, hung an old mattress spring on the store wall because he liked the looks of it there.  That's what i was told, at any rate.

At work behind the counter, making a delicioso iced latte.  Yummmm.

Even the Guardian fetes UC Davis, bike capital of the world. Click link below, check out the story.

The following pic is from the early sixties in Davis.  Borrowed from Guardian story.  Photo may have been taken by Ansel Adams.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Rockin' the Cedar Lake Trail at Depot Coffee Shop in Hopkins.

The Cedar Lake Trail follows the former railroad lines of the Great Northern and the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway. This popular trail is a 12'-wide, multi-use, and features a center line. 

Cedar Lake Trail runs from downtown Minneapolis to Hopkins (or/and, back the other way), and makes connections with other popular bike and pedestrian trails in the city and western suburbs.

Damn, I wish I'd asked the name of this velo artist at the Depot.  He arrived on his recumbent, unloaded guitar, amp, speaker. After setting up my new friend began to tune his instrument, play a few chords, settle in for a set.  As I watched this regimen unfold I found a $5.00 bill in my pocket  and wanted to contribute to the joy I'd been witnessing.  Approaching the artist, and seeing he didn't have a tip jar set up, he doffed the chapeau and into the lid went the five-spot.

As we talked biked I learned that Tonka Cycle and Ski in Hopkins had retro-fit an electric motor assist a while ago.  You can see Tonka's handiwork in the back wheel - my amigo (who doesn't own a car) says the outcome is perfect for his needs.