Monday, November 7, 2016

Swan Ride - 2016

I messed up and know what can happen when I do.

Since "we" are down where we are, it's been our custom to not ride up to the St. Paul suburb for the free pancake breakfast and the group ride.  Instead, we've been meeting in our neighborhood for breakfast, put on a few miles before or after and then wait for the riders to stop at the location that once upon a time was host to literally thousands of Trumpeter Swans on their southerly migration.

Before I left, the turkeys must have been feeling unsafe out in the woods with all of the deer hunters about.

On the way down to Alma for breakfast.....

Minnesota side.....

 Had to stop and unplug my Warm Bib.....45 degrees didn't last for long.

  Wisconsin side.....where the swans once stopped for respite.

One of our favorite valleys.......


 Breakfast in Alma.....

It has now been years since the swans have stopped in the Buffalo River backwaters of the Mississippi.  This year Bill decided to break up the old way, not make the same stop at Rieck's Park and gather for lunch in Buffalo City.  If it hadn't been for Carol's map/route sheet, we 4 might still be there at the roadside park waiting for the throngs or riders to make their brief stop.

Not really sure how to adjust our plans, a bit of discussion had us splitting up in a couple of directions.  Dave w/Justin decided to head downriver to the Brownsville area where he HAS been seeing swans.  He found them yesterday.

Pat, Tim and I decided to take the long way up to Durand where they'd continue on, winding their way back up to the suburbs.  On the way from near Alma to Durand, we just happened to stumble upon the actual Swan Ride route and met literally dozens of bikes headed towards their luncheon rendezvous.

 We 3 stopped for a break along the Chippewa River in Durand before splitting up.

After a gas fill, I headed back to Alma to meet June and my brother.  After some fits and starts, we finally connected in Nelson for pie and ice cream.  One more absolutely gorgeous day.....I hope we all can remember this when the deep snow is blowing cold in what will surely be a few short weeks.

Another fantastic ride, a wonderful mix of 134 miles solo and with good friends. 

In the driveway and home......


  1. It was a beautiful day for a ride! I love these bonus days in November no less. Sounds like the swan ride was more of a swan scavenger hunt. It would be cool to find em and work in a stop along the route, but that's a lot of people to coordinate.
    There are a handful of riding days ahead of us before the snow files, happy hunting.

    1. Jason, these last years the Ride has become a lot more about an end of season last hurrah than it has been about migrating birds but that's really OK.

      I will get more miles in, easier and more comfortably than they might have been enjoyed. Hope you can leverage these days as well!

  2. Fun! Does anyone know why the swans have stopped returning to the same location? It seems a shame.

    1. Brandy, at the park where the swans previously stopped, there are large signs explaining what has changed, at least from the experts' point of view and I'd imagine that the Trumpeter's would agree.

      That lowland, backwater area has really filled in with silt, water depth has become very shallow and where there once was deep enough open water, there are now cattails and acres of shallows. I think I've got a photo or two of that sign, will see if I can't find it.

  3. Really cool photos! Love seeing shots like this, thanks for the share.