The official event starts in South St. Paul with a free breakfast, but our little group decided to forego the meal in the city and instead have breakfast in Alma, the river town and nearby park that is the swan-watching destination of the ride.
Things were very busy at the restaurant this morning; the 20 minute wait to be seated was worth it as always. Tim came down from the Twin Cities early, joining Mary, Dave and I for omelettes and coffee.
Justin had to wait outside....
In years past, though not in the last few, the swans would set down in the tributary river/backwater lake of the Mississippi River to take a break from their migration flight to the Chesapeake Bay, their ultimate winter target.
We all hope to see the large masses of huge white birds as we used to.....typically these days there are a few geese and some ducks.
A few early arrivals...
Two Mike's I know, on bikes with old and new variations of bodywork.
Steve and J.P. were there, J.P. didn't have to ask me twice to try his new TU250 Suzuki. A new love affair has begun......I really, very much really enjoyed that bike and thank you sir! I think I can find some more room in the garage.
Another separation of the group at Nelson, some of us crossed the river to MN but I continued north up the Wisconsin side, visiting the Little House In The Big Woods wayside, a tribute to the Laura Ingalls Wilder book and location where the family lived while in Wisconsin. Some lovely gravel roads, another visit to Rustic Road #51 (of 113) and then a stop in Bay City for ice cream and a warm-up cup of coffee.
Part A of Rustic Road #51
Part B of Rustic Road #51
My stop at Flat Pennies for some very smooth ice cream and a cup of coffee. Bay City is almost directly across the Mississippi River from where we live and I could almost see our place from here but I'll ride another 28 miles to get home across the bridge at Red Wing.
Keeping an eye on things at the caboose. There's a photo inside the shop of Cooper, a very regal looking Black Lab with his official title of CEO.
The sky was bright today but I doubt that we ever made the predicted high temp......strong SE winds were blustery and busy all day pulling the stubborn leaves out of the trees. I had a really good day; my goal for the Swan Ride was more about socializing than it was about the ride and I happily succeeded. I got a chance to see lots of old friends that I don't often ride with or visit with.
These say it all.